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'Meltdown Monday' Anonymous hackers leak military mails

AntiSec hacktivists blasted for breaking own manifesto

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Anonymous uploaded 90,000 military email address and associated password hashes onto a file-sharing network on Monday as part of an operation it christening Military Meltdown Monday.

The sensitive data came from a hack against military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, which Anonymous hinted had yielded further sensitive information. The loosely knit hacktivist collective claims to have pulled the information from an unprotected server.

As a result, email addresses on the list are at a greater risk at being at the targeted end of malware attacks, at least. It's a fair bet that many of the passwords used will have been less than super-secure and therefore open to brute-force dictionary-based attacks against the exposed accounts. Other data obtained, but not released, might be used to mount other attacks, security watchers warn.

"Anonymous claims to have erased four gigabytes worth of source code and to have discovered information which could help them attack US government and other contractors' systems," Chester Wisniewski of net security firm Sophos notes in a blog post on the hack.

Booz Allen Hamilton declined to comment on the incident, AFP reports.

The reported hack against Booz Allen Hamilton and an earlier hit against government contractor IRC Federal are part of the umbrella AntiSec movement, which aims to expose the poor security of government agencies and big corporates. This point, such as it is, has been made long ago with attacks on Sony, HBGary and others, so at this point in the game the attacks needlessly expose military personnel, Arizona police officers or gamers to greater risk of internet attack.

Rik Ferguson, a security consultant at Trend Micro, said that the AntiSec banner is being used as a flag of convenience for all sorts of mischief by people who are seemingly unfamiliar with the origin of the term. He writes:

In the ultimate irony, the original AntiSec manifesto from back in 2001 was all about the irresponsibility of full disclosure. That same manifesto was re-posted when Imageshack was compromised eight years later. The manifesto criticised the 'security industry' for using full-disclosure to develop 'scare tactics' to convince people into by security. Are you listening, Operation AntiSec?

Find the flaws, publish your successes if you must, but have the decency to spare the innocent victims of your activities. Obscure personal data before you publish; otherwise you are considerably worse than those you are attempting to shame.

Which seems to sum it up. ®

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