Hacking group Anonymous has broken into Booz Allen Hamilton, a US-based consulting firm that does a significant amount of business with the Pentagon. This has led to roughly 90,000 email logins and passwords belonging to military personnel to be leaked out onto the internet.
This attack, known as ‘Military Meltdown Monday’, has led to the release of usernames and passwords belonging to personnel from many divisions of the US military, such as US CENTCOM, SOCOM, the Marine Corps and Homeland Security. In a statement, Anonymous stated that it “added anything that could be interesting”, as well as information that should “keep hackers busy”, according to the group:
And last but not least we found maps and keys for various other treasure chests buried on the islands of government agencies, federal contractors and shady whitehat companies. This material surely will keep our blackhat friends busy for a while
Anonymous is an activist group with anarchist roots that stands for freedom of information. The decentralized team has held several peaceful protests over the years, but it’s predominantly known for breaking into websites belonging to companies and institutions that it deems harmful or corrupt. Earlier this year, the group is said to be the one who brought Sony’s PlayStation Network service down to a halt for one month after conducting an attack that led to the release of thousands of credit card records, home addresses and passwords belonging to unsuspecting users. The attack was conducted to revenge a legal settlement Sony had reached with George Hotz, who had managed to “jailbreak” the PlayStation 3.
Booz Allen Hamilton has since acknowledged the incident in a short press release, stating that it was reviewing the situation, while downplaying its scope:
We are conducting a full review of the nature and extent of the attack. At this time, we do not believe that the attack extended beyond data pertaining to a learning management system for a government agency.
This year has been one of the most turbulent yet when it comes to cyber security. Two groups, Anonymous and Lulz Security (LulzSec), which have recently joined forces, have been responsible for millions of dollars worth of damages to many institutions worldwide, including Sony and the International Monetary Fund. This new reality will force companies of all sizes to develop more proactive security systems which had been downplayed in the past.