On December 24th hacker collective Anonymous stole credit card info and other sensitive data from U.S. security firm Stratfor. Anonymous claims it obtained personal information about the company's high-profile clients as well as thousands of credit card numbers, which were then used to make donations to charities like Save the Children and the Red Cross.
It is noted that Some Anonymous members have reportedly disavowed hacking Stratfor. Stratfor’s home page carried a banner Monday that said its “website is currently undergoing maintenance.”
Stratfor Global Intelligence is an Austin, Texas based security “think tank” that releases a daily newsletter concerning security and intelligence matters all over the world, including intelligence reports about the drug war in Mexico. Stratfor claims to provide “non-ideological, independent analysis of international affairs and security threats.”
Anonymous, reported to be a loose-knit group of hackers, became famous for attacking the companies and institutions that oppose anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
Anonymous hackers broke into web servers of Stratfor and copied 200 gigabytes worth of data. The hackers have already posted details about Stratfor customers who purchased Stratfor’s online newsletter. Hackers provided a link on Twitter to what they said was Stratfor's private client list, which included the US Defense Department, Army, Air Force, law enforcement agencies, top security contractors and technology firms like Apple and Microsoft.
Documents from the hack posted to date by both Anonymous and AntiSec, include:
• 50,277 unique credit card numbers, of which 9,651 are not expired.
• 86,594 e-mail addresses, of which 47,680 are unique.
• 27,537 phone numbers, of which 25,680 are unique.
• 44,188 encrypted passwords, of which roughly 50 percent could be easily cracked.
On their database, that at this point appears to be compromised, there is sensitive personal information of subscribers in the server. The information includes credit cards numbers, e-mail accounts and addresses. Stratfor looks especially bad in this instance because the credit card data was not encrypted, which means it was much easier than usual for Anonymous to steal and crack open. It’s quite the amateur mistake for a so-called “intelligence” firm.
The hackers could easily have more information than what they have posted. Several reports indicate Anonymous will next release more than 3.3 million client e-mails.
The unoffical voice of Anonymous Barrett Brown stated that "Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers but rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm's servers. This wealth of data includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor's employees off the record over more than a decade. Many of those contacts work for major corporations within the intelligence and military contracting sectors, government agencies, and other institutions."
Could this include emails and content from Mexican sources who potentially provided intelligence information to Startfor? Will their identity and sensitive information already compromised and soon to be published? This possibility must be making a lot of people very nervous indeed and if by any chance it involves sources on the Mexican side, it could also prove to be extremely dangerous.
It wasn't long ago when Anonymous released an Internet video threatening vengeance on arguably one of the world's most savage and violent criminal outfits: Mexico's Zetas drug cartel.