Friday, February 11, 2011

Cyber warfare breaks out after security firm's threat to expose pro-WikiLeaks hackers

Anonymous hackers carried out a series of online attacks - dubbed Operation: Payback - on companies that withdrew services to WikiLeaks... An activist hacker group has launched an online attack on the head of a U.S. security company who boasted that he could identify their leaders.

HBGary chief executive Aaron Barr had claimed at the weekend that his firm was able to name many members of Anonymous, the cyber group behind online attacks on companies that withdrew services to WikiLeaks last year.

Their response was swift - Mr Barr yesterday found his Twitter account, email and company website hacked.

Anonymous operators have claimed credit for breaking into the website of HBGary Federal, stealing tens of thousands of emails and temporarily routing traffic to a page where they had left a message.

The online note read: 'You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung.'

Stolen emails were made available online at a popular peer-to-peer file sharing website, Chester Wisniewski of Sophos computer security firm said in an online post regarding the hack.

Efforts to visit HBGary's website yesterday were met with an automated post saying the page was 'under construction'.

Meanwhile, the hackers started tweeting that they had full control of HBGary's websites, and had access to their email archives, financial and personal details, and had wiped a terabyte of data from their system.

The HBGary hack was more sophisticated than the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks last year on the Amazon, Visa and MasterCard websites in apparent retaliation for their decisions to stop working with WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks had triggered political ire in Washington for its publication of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables and military reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Wisniewski said: 'Unlike the DDoS attacks for which Anonymous has made headlines in recent months, this incident involved true hacking skills.'

In a typical DDoS attack, a large number of computers are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming its servers, slowing service or knocking it offline completely.

HBGary had been working to expose the culprits behind the DDoS attacks and was poised to sell identifying information about members of Anonymous to the FBI, according to Mr Wisniewski.

Last month, British police arrested five people and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation launched raids across the United States as part of a probe into cyber attacks by Anonymous. ...

via Cyber warfare breaks out after security firm's threat to expose pro-WikiLeaks hackers | Mail Online.

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