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Hackers dump secret info for thousands of cops

String of embarrassing attacks continues

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Hackers said they posted the names, addresses, and other personal information of 7,000 law enforcement officers that were stolen from a training academy website they compromised.

Many of the entries also included the officers' social security numbers, email addresses, and the usernames and passwords for their accounts on the Missouri Sheriff's Association training website. One of the identified individuals confirmed with The Register that the data listed for him in the 938 KB file was accurate.

AntiSec – a campaign being run by various Anonymous members in collaboration with spin-off hacker group LulzSec – claimed responsibility and said the data dump was made in retaliation for the recent arrest of 14 people accused of participating in a web attack in December that strained server capacity for PayPal.

“Releasing the names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, telephone numbers, and credentials of hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement personnel is of tremendous concern to law enforcement and to the citizens these officers are sworn to protect,” Nick Selby wrote on the Police-Led Intelligence blog, which reported on the compromise earlier.

Many of the passwords employed by the officers were ordinary dictionary words, or were identical to their names or badge numbers, showing that law enforcement agents often make the same careless mistakes others do in setting up security pass codes. Assuming these people used the same password for other accounts, as is common, their email accounts would also be compromised.

The file strongly suggests that the training site failed to follow industry best practices by securing the password database with one-way hashes to prevent them from being read by attackers.

AntiSec campaigners also said it had released the names and personal information of anonymous law-enforcement informants, hundreds of internal police academy training files, and a jail inmate database, but these claims weren't confirmed by The Register. Also unconfirmed was the the campaign members' claim that AntiSec had compromised more than 70 websites belonging to law-enforcement groups in several states.

The data dump continues a string of retaliatory strikes by Anonymous at groups affiliated with US law-enforcement agencies. On Friday, they released a 390 MB file containing internal documents belonging to ManTech International, a Washington, DC-based IT security firm that has signed contracts with the FBI, Department of Defense, and other government agencies. In June, Anonymous offshoot LulzSec carried out a similar attack on various Arizona law-enforcement groups.

The website for the Missouri Sheriff's Association was not responding to requests at time of writing. Representatives of the group didn't respond to requests for comment. ®

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