Anonymous To FEMA: Shall We Play A Game?Anonymous To FEMA: Shall We Play A Game?
Offended by FEMA's portrayal of fictional hacktivists as anti-American and easily defeated, Anonymous strikes back with data dump.
July 18, 2013
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"Hello FEMA, Anonymous here, shall we play a game?"
So read a Wed. communication from the hacktivist group Anonymous, which appears to be catching up on unfinished business in the form of a data dump -- aka dox -- of a database obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The dox, posted to Pastebin late Wednesday, has since been deleted. But according to a mirrored copy of the post, it appeared to include numerous names, mailing addresses, email addresses, MD5-hashed passwords and database ID numbers associated with people who were designated by FEMA to respond to national emergencies. "Anonymous has purposefully redacted logins, passwords, SSNs and other details that might genuinely endanger the United States from this document, our intent is not to harm, merely to issue a firm warning," read the Anonymous post.
[ FBI and Homeland Security tried to slow attacks by sharing IP addresses of suspected Chinese hackers with U.S. service providers. Read more: Feds Shared Chinese Hacker Data With Service Providers. ]
The delayed impetus for the dox was a "Cyber Capabilities Tabletop Exercise" conducted in May 2012 by FEMA, involving what organizers said were "three dozen Federal Government departments and agencies, 10 states and territories, scores of private sector companies and trade associations, and four international partners." The exercise simulated a series of online attacks by a fictional group known as "The Void," which targeted critical infrastructure and private businesses' systems. "This cyber scenario based exercise ... is designed to increase understanding of cyber threat alerts, warning, and information sharing across sectors, and to test and evaluate government-private sector coordinating structures, processes, and capabilities regarding cyber event response and recovery," read FEMA's description of the war-gaming exercise.
Anonymous said it objected to the fictional hacktvist group in the FEMA exercise being portrayed as anti-American, and for having attempted to transfer funds from a breached business into an overseas account. "We are not against any one country or corporation. However if you are an enemy of anonymity, if you oppose free speech, you are our foe, it is as simple as that," the group said. Seemingly not one to miss a trick, the Anonymous message even included a quote from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: "If you look long enough into the void the void begins to look back through you."
The group also appears to have been offended by the ease with which the hypothetical hacktivist group was dispatched by federal defenders, with the help of a "turncoat informant." "Good thing Anonymous is a little more persistent than a shoddy knockoff group dreamed up by corporate shills for the sole purpose of being thwarted by an apparently unassailable US government and one of their many highly paid corporate bootlickers," they said.
The hacktivists behind the dox also noted that the FEMA exercise was organized by security consulting firm Obsidian Analysis. "It should shock nobody that former FEMA chief of staff Jason McNamara has since joined Obsidian's executive management team as vice president," said Anonymous.
Beyond the dox being meant as a warning against future "oblique and cowardly implied threats" against Anonymous, the group also lodged a demand: "Please return to us Barrett Brown, we are asking nicely. Pretty please, with sugar on top." Brown, a former Anonymous spokesman, was charged in Dec. 2012 in a 12-count indictment that included accusations of access device fraud, ID theft and possessing stolen credit card numbers.
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