Over the holiday weekend, it wasn’t only the elves that were busy or naughty little children that were disappointed. The hacker collective known as “Anonymous” was busy in his and/or her workshop too creating a data breach targeting Stratfor, an international security think tank.
Who is Stratfor?
Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas “provides political, economic and military analysis to help clients reduce risk” according to their own promotions.
Who is Anonymous?
Well, who knows really but Anonymous is a group of hackers who’ve hacked off several companies in the past year and then tweeted taunts from their own twitter account. Anonymous is known for their signature stamp of a circle that reads “Anonymous is legion. We do not forget. We do not forgive.” On the outside there is a circular chain and on the inside a headless business suit. Hmmm… It kind of looks like a regrettable tattoo.
What the hackers did:
1. Anonymous reportedly ransacked Stratfor’s computers, stealing thousands of credit card number and other personal information.
2. To date, Anonymous has published two lists of credit card details to the Internet with of total of about 17,000 credit card listings.
3. There have also been large donations made from the credit cards to charities such as the Red Cross.
“These donations will never reach the ones in need,” writes Mikko Hypponen at F-Secure. “In fact, these actions will just end up hurting the charities, not helping them. Credit card companies will do a chargeback to the charities, which will have to return the money. In some cases, charities could be hit with penalties. At the very least, they will lose time and money in handling chargebacks.”
What the hackers claimed to have done:
Anonymous also claims to have gleaned the company’s confidential client list containing sensitive information about high profile clients that just might include Apple, the U.S. Air Force and the Miami P.D.
What Stratfor says:
Stratfor denies this last assertion saying, “contrary to this assertion the disclosure was merely a list of some of the members that have purchased our publications and does not comprise a list of individuals or entities that have a relationship with Stratfor beyond their purchase of our subscription-based publications,” the firm says in an e-mail to its members dated December 25, Christmas Day 2012.
What Stratfor is doing:
Stratfor also says that they have hired an identity theft and monitoring service to assist members potentially affected by the data breach.
So check your statements and check them twice. Be sure there are no unexplained charges including huge donations to charity. While Christmas is known to be a time of anonymous giving and sharing, this Christmas Anonymous stole and shared.