29 December, 2011

STRATFOR hacked by Anonymous--and so was I

I have a grudging admiration for anonymous, the "non-group" of people using their hacking skills not to make a profit, but to bring political and social change.  I've commented on them in the past.  They were a case study of "gray area" and "non-hierarchical" actors in my class last semester on Terrorism.  And while I think it's safe to call what they do cyber-crime, I don't see any real terrorist intent.  More like a robin hood complex.

So imagine my surprise to learn I had been targeted by them (or by somebody using their name--that's the problem with non-groups with anonymous membership.  Hell, *I* might be a member...).  A few years ago I was a paid subscriber to STRATFOR, a private intelligence service.  I'm still on their mailing list, reading the free newsletters and receiving offers to rejoin.  STRATFOR's subscriber list is now on line, complete with names, email addresses, and the password used by that subscriber.  And, apparently, the credit card numbers are available, too.  Including mine.

(And no, I won't link to any of it it.  You can find it for yourself, no doubt.)

In addition to providing a "who's-who" of government, corporate, and academic intel types (an interesting list, by the way--I should remember to save a copy for myself), anonymous threatens to use the numbers and passwords to make contributions to charities of their choice in the names of STRATFOR subscribers (robin hoods, remember?) and break into the files of those subscribers elsewhere.

I don't think I'm in any particular trouble.  Not only am I not worth targeting, the information they have on me is old.  I dropped that credit card years ago, and changed the number on my debit card a few weeks ago.  I've regularly updated my passwords everywhere several time since I was a paid member, and the STRATFOR password opens nothing.  All they really have is an email address, and that's public knowledge already.  But it's an interesting experience.  And I'm glad I decided, all those years ago, that a personal subscription to STRATFOR wasn't worth the cost.

Oh, and if you are from anonymous and reading this--no hard feelings.

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