Anonymous OpLastResort hacks investment firm, cites Stratfor ties

Anonymous OpLastResort hacks investment firm, cites Stratfor ties

Summary: Anonymous Operation Last Resort has struck successfully again, leaking crucial files from an investment banking firm allegedly linked to intelligence firm Stratfor.

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The Anonymous Operation Last Resort campaign returned Monday to leak crucial files from an investment banking firm and a state.gov database "for Aaron Swartz."

The OpLastResort Twitter account announced its hack, defacement and data exposure of an investment firm G.K. Baum, seen in Wikileaks email files as an alleged client of global intelligence company Stratfor.

Monday, February 18, George K. Baum and Company saw their website defaced and a page was added linking to a data dump that showed all the firm's client user account credentials, passwords in plain text, phone numbers and access to transaction information.

Pasted copies with passwords intact remain in circulation as of this Tusaday, February 19th writing.

The suggested link to Stratfor resurfaces problematic connections between the intelligence firm (called by Barron's "The shadow CIA") and investment banking interests - connections most agree reek with a combined stink of unchecked intelligence gathering and insider trading.

anonymous gov hack

In early 2012, Anonymous turned a huge database of Stratfor emails over to Wikileaks. This included the revelation of Stratfor's plans to set up an investment fund with a former Goldman Sachs director to trade on intelligence information collected by Stratfor.

Among the Wikileaks/Stratfor emails was apparent client-contact between Stratfor and the target of Monday's #OpLastResort hack, George K. Baum and Company's Vice President Joshua Magden.

Also on Monday Anonymous (AnonOpsIRC) announced a second #OpLastResort hack and the release of some State.gov email database credentials.

The statement reads:

Our reasons for this attack are very simple. You've imprisoned or either censored our people. We will not tolerate things as such. You don't see us going around censoring everything that is inappropriate or we do not like. Basically, you tried to put an end to us and you got owned, there's nothing more you can say or do. You took away Topiary, Avunit, Neuron, Pwnsauce, lolspoon, Aaron Swartz shall we go on? Heck you think this makes us weak? We are only growing stronger because of the fact that you are forcing us to revolt. When the lions roar you will hear them. And when it's feeding time you'll be our dinner.

Aaron Swartz this is for you, this is for Operation Last Resort.

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. #OpLastResort

The Operation Last Resort Twitter account wrote that the G.K. Baum investment firm hack was part of "round five" in its attacks on the U.S. Federal Government.

This "round five" refers to three previous high-profile, damaging #OpLastResort hacks on .gov property and databases - as well as one recent failed threat to interrupt the web broadcast of President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address last week.

The Anonymous faction cautioned with the attack that it still has possession of "warheads" - key codes to unlock encrypted files named after the nine Supreme Court justices, allegedly containing highly sensitive government information.

The files, contents unknown, were widely distributed January 25th when Anonymous hacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission website.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission Web site remains disabled and "under construction" as of this writing.

Operation Last Resort attacks:

In a significant twist, Obama announced during last week's State of the Union address that he had signed an Executive Order on cybersecurity just before delivering the address. This was contrary to previous White House information saying that the Order would be signed the following morning.

The Order has become more relevant, hasty and problematic to apply and enforce upon examination.

 

Ostensibly, the Order delegates the Department of Homeland Security to create framework that facilitates information sharing between companies and government entities about people and organizations deemed "cyber threats." 

When answering questions about the Order day after its signing, the White House explained to The Verge that under the Order "cyber threats" will be defined as, "web site defacement, espionage, theft of intellectual property, denial of service attacks, and destructive malware."

In this light, not only would all of Operation Last Resort's actions be considered "cyber threats" - but the computer crime charges being levied against Aaron Swartz at the time of his suicide would have certainly put Swartz in this category as well, and elevated that status of his prosecutors to that of American heroes.

The Order poses further problems with its lack of objective or peer review on technical and civil liberties points. Not to mention that there is no single definition of malware that those who work in the field can agree upon (except that malware is a program).

The Anonymous #OpLastResort campaign demands "reform of computer crime laws" and investigation of "overzealous prosecutors" in response to the suicide of young hacker, anti-CISPA activist, and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz.

Anonymous' statement states the campaign is retaliation for Swartz's tragic suicide, which many - including Swartz family - believe was a result of overzealous prosecution by the Department of Justice and what the family deemed a "bullying" use of outdated computer crime laws.

In July 2011 Swartz was arrested for allegedly scraping 4 million MIT papers from the JSTOR online journal archive, for which he faced decades in prison.

Swartz's suicide came two days after JSTOR announced it was releasing "more than 4.5 million articles" to the public.

Meanwhile, outcry has grown for the White House to respond, as is its promise, to two successful petitions calling for the firing of Swartz's Federal prosecutors.

Topics: Security, Government US

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2 comments
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  • Cute

    I poked about some of those links. It's nice to see how much value for their dollar government agencies are getting for their cybersecurity efforts. Kudos to Anonymous for showing that up (again) and well as pointing out some questionable behavior (also again.)
    JustCallMeBC
  • Lulzsec?

    Hi Violet. Great article. Question, why no mention of Lulzsec? I mean wasn't the arrest of some of their folks a key reason for the recent hacks? Thanks - joseph villarosa
    Joseph Villarosa