July 8, 2011 at 3:24 PM ET
Hacking collective Anonymous Friday shared databases and emails it said it obtained by hacking the website of a company that contracts with federal government agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Department of Defense, for information management services.
That information, from IRC Federal, includes an FBI proposal for a "Special Identities Modernization (SIM) Project" to "reduce terrorist and criminal activity by protecting all records associated with trusted individuals and revealing the identities of those individuals who may pose serious risk to the United States and its allies," Anonymous said.
"We also found fingerprinting contracts for the DOJ, biometrics development for the military, and strategy contracts for the "National Nuclear Security Administration Nuclear Weapons Complex," the group said in a statement on public clipboard site PasteBin.
This is the second very public attack on an FBI partner site within a month. The first, by hacking group LulzSec, which was allied with Anonymous, took down the website of InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to share security information.
Anonymous gained notoriety for its denial-of-service attacks on Visa and MasterCard late last year. Those attacks were retribution, Anonymous said, because the companies halted online donations during the WikiLeaks controversy, blocking contributions to Bradley Manning, the accused document leaker now in custody.
Meanwhile, European authorities made headway this week in the pursuit of Anonymous members there, with several raids in Italy where the group has attacked public and private websites, as it has done round the world and in the United States.
News agency Reuters said police searched the home of an Italian citizen suspected of carrying out cyber attacks in Italy. "We confiscated computer material we will now have to examine closely," Xaverio Snider, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Lugano, Switzerland, told Reuters, which reported:
Italy's anti-cyber crime police CNAIPIC have identified three people, including a minor. So far they have made 32 raids in Italy, as well as the Lugano raid conducted in coordination with Swiss authorities, Italian police said in a statement.
"The damage caused to institutions and companies hit by an attack is extensive; they are no longer able to provide services to users while the return to normal functioning of the web site often takes several hours, coming with a considerable cost," police said.
Anonymous took umbrage at reports about the raids.
"The media has spread the news that the entire Italian network of Anonymous has been dismantled and the 'leaders' of Italian Anonymous were arrested," the group said on its blog.
"Anonymous denies these media reports and reiterates that this is impossible: Anonymous has not been dismantled. Anonymous has no leaders and no structure. All Anonymous members operate at the same level. Those arrested are not 'dangerous hackers' as the media calls them, but people like you. They have been arrested while peacefully protesting for their rights and your rights. Our protest will continue louder than ever."