Feeds

Anonymous releases sample of Australian telco's data

Video offers motive for attack, data release, threatens further action

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A campaign using the name and much of the iconography of activist group Anonymous has released data it hopes will embarrass the Australian Government into backing away from even considering data retention laws.

Data has been posted to a number of file sharing sites and appears to have been released at around 2:00AM Sunday AEST.

The Register has visited three of the sites and the data concerned is far from explosive as it lists the addresses of government agencies and foreign embassies in Australia. Some lines of data reveal the first names of individuals. Some record hobbies. A field for mobile phone numbers and phone numbers that will reach individuals in the evening is also present in many records.

The group has described the attack and its motives in a blog post and video in which the group justifies the release by describing it as a “proof of concept attack” that used “the very same methods your government uses on the Australian population.” Those methods, Anonymous or those using that name assert, could mean any data held by the Australian Government could be exposed in similar ways, to the detriment of individuals' liberty and privacy.

The attack is said to have exploited a flaw in an un-patched and forgotten AAPT ColdFusion server hosted at a third party, Melbourne IT. How that represents a method Australia's government uses is not explained.

The speech accompanying the video diverges from the written text, and at around 2:25 in the video issues a threat of further action:

Do not underestimate what a nation settled by convicts can do. You must keep the people happy. Do that and there is no drama. Otherwise, you'd better expect us.

The soundtrack to the video is spoken in a mock Australian accent that even some anons, in a chat room the Anonymous' Op_Australia twitter feed has promoted as a reliable source of information on its antipodean activities, found risible.

The decision to claim the video is spoken by a member of the Australian public is also noteworthy, as some people in the chat room appear not to reside in Australia. One has told The Reg he or she resides in France. Others keep hours that indicate they either have very unusual sleeping patterns or reside in time zones beyond Australia.

Chat in the room also indicated the group had difficulty preparing the data for release, as the size of the stolen data - 40 gigabytes and several hundred database tables – presented technical challenges. Banter also seemed to indicate that different opinions about what to release were being debated among activists. Some argued that AAPT's confirmation of data loss achieved the group's aims and that the eventual release therefore did not need to make additional revelations.

The eventual decision preserved some column headers, but the majority of cells are replaced with the word “NULL”.

On Saturday the blog post above was also, for a time, removed from the AnonPR.net site. Chat in the group also suggested activists were attacking the web site of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.