Canadian law enforcement agencies are warning companies with ties to the Alberta oil sands industry to stand guard against a potential Internet attack by hacker collective Anonymous, based on government documents obtained and reported on by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Prompted by a July 12, 2011, Anonymous press release that referred to energy companies' “environmental atrocities" spurred by "boundless greed," the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) initiated an investigation and found a "growing radicalized environmentalist faction who is opposed to Canada’s energy sector.”
For 16 months, beginning in January 2011, law enforcement officials researched threats against energy companies involved in the development of Alberta's tar-sands.
According to 44 pages of Canadian documents, Anonymous has breached the networks of Toronto's police department, the Australian government and Bank of America, but the report did not detail or make a case for any imminent computer attacks.
Still, the RCMP advised IT departments involved in oil-sands projects to "verify that security testing has been performed on public- facing Web servers and mail servers.”
This latest security concern is the newest chapter in a story that began last year, when Anonymous pledged its solidarity with Montana activists who marched on the state capitol and governor's office to protest the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
After attacking biotech and agricultural company Monsanto in June 2011, 16 people, purported to be Anonymous operatives, were arrested.
While it's always a possibility, to date, the politically active band of hackers have not attacked the computer infrastructure of any companies with involvement in the Alberta oil-sands.
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