February 11, 2012
CIA Website Among Anonymous Hacking Targets Friday
Hackers affiliated with Anonymous are claiming responsibility for cyberattacks that forced the CIA public website offline Friday, as well as exposing personal information obtained from Alabama court records, various media outlets reported early Saturday morning.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the attack left cia.gov inaccessible for nine hours.Erin Smith of the Boston Herald initially reported that it was "unclear" whether or not Anonymous was responsible.
"A Twitter post on a feed used by hackers' collective Anonymous said 'CIA Tango down', a phrase used by the US Special Forces after killing an enemy," BBC News reported Friday night. "Anonymous said in another tweet that just because it reported a hack, that did not mean it carried out the attack."
However, in a message posted to the social network at 4:39PM Eastern on February 10, the group wrote, "#Anonymous takes down main CIA website https://www.cia.gov/; site is still down."
AFP reporters contacted a CIA spokeswoman about the attack, and were told, "We are aware of the problems accessing our web site, and are working to resolve them." The French news agency reported that the website was back online shortly thereafter, and as of Saturday morning, it remained accessible.
"There is no suggestion that the security of the CIA's actual computer systems have been compromised," the BBC said.
The AP also reported that several Alabama law enforcement and government websites were hit by cyberattacks, with the hackers attempting to swipe Social Security numbers, license plate numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and criminal records. Anonymous claimed Alabama was targeted over what the group referred to as "racist legislation" governing illegal immigrants in the state, the wire service said.
Michael Winter of USA Today said officials in Mobile, Alabama told him that the hackers were able to access personal information of more than 46,000 people who were part of a court amnesty program of overdue traffic tickets or related finable offenses.
A heavily redacted portion of the data was released, Winter reported, with Anonymous saying in a statement that they "mean no harm" by making it public, that they "do not intend" to save or use the data, and that they only wanted to "show show the Citizens of the state of Alabama the amount of incompetence that is taking place within the state government in Alabama."
AFP also reported that the group claimed to have hacked the website of Camimex, the Mexican chamber of mines, on Friday. Winter, citing CNN reports, wrote that Anonymous linked to "documents, e-mails and other files" that they obtained from the Camimex website and published online. Like the CIA website, the Camimex website was back online as of Saturday morning.
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