July 31, 2011

Anonymous Targets FBI Cyber Security Support Contractor

Hundreds of megabytes of documents have been swiped from a US government contractor by hackers affiliated with the group Anonymous, various media outlets reported on Friday.

According to Diane Bartz of Reuters, members of the organization said via Twitter that they had broken into the network of Mantech International Corporation, and posted correspondence between the group and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as evidence of the activity.

Bartz notes that Mantech offers cyber security as one of its services, and includes the Departments of Defense, State, Justice, and Homeland Security among their list of clientele. She also notes that two of the documents released by Anonymous involve NATO contracting offices, and one discusses deploying staff members to an unnamed "NATO Theater of Operations" to provide tech services.

Other documents included resumes, spreadsheets, and photographs that "appear to have come from the government contractor," said Robert McMillan of IDG News.

In total, Dan Goodin of the Register reports, the hackers involved posted 390 MB worth of documents, which also included US Army and personnel files. A note accompanying the files stated that the attack "was intended to defy the FBI, which last week charged 14 people of participating in an Anonymous-led web attack in December that created service disruptions for some PayPal customers," he added.

In August 2010, ManTech signed a five-year, nearly $100 million contract to provide help the FBI in finding and responding to cyber threats, as well as provide other cyber security support services.

"Dear Government and Law Enforcement, we are repeating this message as we have the suspicion you still do not take us seriously," that message read, according to the Register's report. "We are not scared anymore and your threats to arrest us are meaningless. We will continue to demonstrate how you fail at about every aspect of cybersecurity while burning hundreds of millions of dollars that you do not even have."

"It also remains to be seen how much longer the public will accept how completely incompetent law enforcement agencies are spending their citizens' money to fund even more incompetent federal contractors," Anonymous also said in a statement posted along with the documents, according to McMillan. "It's really good to know that you guys are taking care of protecting the Unites States from so-called cyber threats."

IDG News also noted that the FBI declined to comment on the hacking.

In a statement posted to their website Friday, ManTech said, "All organizations attract cyber threats in our highly networked world. Our practice is generally not to comment on reports involving security related matters. However, given current publicity, we wish to assure our customers, employees, shareholders and business partners that ManTech takes seriously recent reports of a cyber threat, and we responsibly and actively address all sources of information about threats to our information and assets and those of our customers."


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