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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hackers Compromised Intelligence Mail

A hacker group, allegedly connected to Anonymous, has recently cracked the American and British intelligence PCs and has published the email addresses of over 200 British military staff and almost 250 NATO officials.

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The Internet saw a leak of thousands of UK email addresses and encrypted passwords. Information of defence, MI6 intelligence, police, politicians, and NATO advisers has been published online for everyone to see. The list of exposed people includes advisers to the Joint Intelligence Organization, acting as the prime minister’s eyes and ears on sensitive data. Unfortunately, they never thought of hacking David Cameron’s iPad which is assumed to have all the updated data about what was going in the United Kingdom without much in the way of security protection.

However, they chose instead to take out Stratfor, a consultancy located in Texas, specializing in foreign affairs and security. Its database contained user IDs, email addresses and encrypted passwords of around 850,000 people who had subscribed to Stratfor’s site. Around 75,000 paying subscribers also saw their credit card numbers and addresses compromised, 462 of them being British accounts.

Meanwhile, security experts explained that in the information one could identify the details of hundreds of British government officials, some of them working in sensitive areas. Actually, the passwords appeared to be encrypted in code that could quickly be cracked by some off-the-shelf software.

All in all, the database contains around 19,000 email addresses of the .mil domain of the American military. This number included 173 people deployed in Afghanistan and around 170 in Iraq. For example, the leaked emails contained personal information from former vice-president Dan Quayle and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Besides, 7 officials in the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom have had their information exposed, as well as 45 Foreign Office officials, 14 Home Office officials, 67 Scotland Yard and other police officials. Even a couple of employees within the royal household were compromised, too! Meanwhile, none of the 23 individuals in the houses of parliament, including Jeremy Corbyn, Lady Nicholson and Lord Roper, had any idea that they had been hacked.

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