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LulzSec hacks US Senate

Bethesda also bashed in latest attack

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Hacker tricksters LulzSec is baiting US lawmakers with its latest attack on the US Senate.

The hacking group posted what security experts Sophos characterised as "basic information on the filesystems, user logins and the Apache web server config files" of the Senate website on Wednesday morning.

The group also posted a directory listing in a post that ends with a brazen taunt to US authorities, referencing proposals by the Obama administration to make hacking critical infrastructure systems an act of war.

This is a small, just-for-kicks release of some internal data from Senate.gov - is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem?

Under existing US computer crime law (specifically the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) the hack might be punishable upon indictment and conviction by up to five years' imprisonment.

Lulz Security (LulzSec) has emerged from obscurity over recent weeks with attacks against PBS (over its documentary on Wikileaks), Sony and FBI-affiliated security organisations, among others. The group had a busy day on Monday: as well as stirring a potential hornet's nest in the Senate it also leaked potential sensitive data about video gaming outfit Bethesda Softworks, the firm behind Quake and Doom.

The cracktivists posted what appears to be source code and database passwords of Bethesda Softworks, a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, onto pastern. LulzSec claims to have obtained the information and more after finding holes in Bethesda's systems while running a denial of service attack two months ago.

LulzSec, which claims to be fans of Bethesda, claimed to have data on more than 200,000 registered users of the game Brink. These claims remain unverified.

"We're going to release lots of Bethesda/ZeniMax data today - however we might not release their 200,000+ users as we love Call of Cthulhu," the group said via Twitter. "Bethesda, we broke into your site over two months ago. We've had all of your Brink users for weeks. Please fix your junk, thanks! ^_^"

LulzSec said it had resisted the temptation to release data on Brink users so as not to distract Bethesda from work on its forthcoming fantasy epic Skyrim.

The motives of the attack remain unclear, though pure mischief and perhaps hacking bragging rights seem to be part of the mix. ®

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