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5/3/2012
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Anonymous, LulzSec Case In U.S. Expanded By Feds

Expanded indictment against Anonymous, LulzSec leaders now includes Jeremy Hammond, accused of masterminding hacktivist attacks against Arizona police and Stratfor websites.

Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
A federal grand jury has handed down a superseding indictment in the case against alleged LulzSec and Anonymous leaders that adds a sixth person to the list of people charged.

The revised indictment now lists Jeremy Hammond (a.k.a. Anarchaos, burn, POW, ghost, and anarchaker, amongst other aliases) as a defendant, and accuses him of participating in LulzSec and Anonymous hacks involving the websites of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), as well as Stratfor (a.k.a. Strategic Forecasting). An arraignment date for Hammond has yet to be scheduled.

The preceding indictment had charged four men--Ryan Ackroyd (a.k.a. kayla, lol, lolspoon), Jake Davis (a.k.a. topiary, atopiary), Darren Martyn (a.k.a. pwnsauce, raepsauce, networkkitten), and Donncha O'Cearrbhail (a.k.a. Palladium)--with hacking the websites of Fox Broadcasting Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). That indictment was unsealed in March 2012 in federal court. At the same time, Chicago-based Hammond was arrested on charges of participating in AntiSec, Anonymous, and LulzSec attacks, but he hadn't been named in the indictment.

[ The best defense is a good offense. See Anonymous Vs. DNS System: Lessons For Enterprise IT. ]

Admitted LulzSec leader Hector Xavier Monsegur (a.k.a. Sabu), meanwhile, was charged in a separate, 12-count indictment, unsealed at the same time. According to court transcripts, Monsegur had been working as a government informer since he was arrested by the FBI on June 7, 2011, and helped authorities bust his former LulzSec and Anonymous colleagues.

According to the superseding indictment, Hammond led the June 2011 Arizona DPS attack, and around June 20, 2011, provided related data that he'd stolen to Sabu, "including over 100 documents labeled 'Law Enforcement Sensitive' and hundreds of internal Arizona DPS documents relating to, among other things, officer safety issues, law enforcement techniques, and operational plans."

The indictment now accuses Hammond of masterminding the Stratfor attacks as well, which it said occurred between December 2011 and March 2012. According to the indictment, Hammond and other defendants stole approximately 60,000 credit card numbers--including "cards' security codes and expiration dates"--as well as records for about 860,000 Stratfor clients, including their usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords.

According to court documents, furthermore, Hammond and other defendants "used some of the stolen credit card data to make at least $700,000 worth of unauthorized charges." Stratfor, which bills itself as a global intelligence firm, would have been violating PCI compliance guidelines by storing complete credit card information.

According to the court documents, the Stratfor data was uploaded by Hammond and other defendants "onto a server located in the Southern District of New York," which also happens to be the federal court district in which the indictment was handed down. Authorities said that Sabu--again, who was already working as a government informer-- provided access to the server to the defendants.

In related hacktivist news, Britain's Serious Organized Crimes Agency (SOCA) website was hit late Wednesday with a distributed denial-of-service attack. The agency Thursday confirmed to TechWeekEurope that it had taken the website offline Wednesday night.

"The reason we [took] it down is to prevent and limit any impact on the clients hosted by our service provider," according to a SOCA spokesperson. "Clearly the things we'd like to stress are that the SOCA website contains only publicly available information, it does not provide access to operational material."

SOCA has previously been targeted by Anonymous and LulzSec, in retaliation for the agency investigating and arresting some members of the hacktivist collectives. Notably, SOCA busted alleged LulzSec spokesman Jake Davis on five counts, including launching distributed denial-of-service attacks against the SOCA website. Earlier this year, meanwhile, according to one of the indictments unsealed in federal court in March, Irish citizen O'Cearrbhail was responsible for intercepting an FBI conference call involving members of SOCA.

Put an end to insider theft and accidental data disclosure with network and host controls--and don't forget to keep employees on their toes. Also in the new, all-digital Stop Data Leaks issue of Dark Reading: Why security must be everyone's concern, and lessons learned from the Global Payments breach. (Free registration required.)

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