An affiliate of the infamous hacktivist group Anonymous claims to have hacked the New South Wales Electoral Commission, posting data from this year's state election. According to the Electoral Commission, however, the data had already been made available to media outlets on election night and came from a public FTP server.
Operating under the banner of "AntiSec" — the joint hacking operation formed between Anonymous and the now-defunct LulzSec — Anonymous member F1esc yesterday posted five files to The Pirate Bay entitled "Australian 2011 Election Data". The data contains detailed results of how candidates received votes at each polling station around NSW.
F1esc took to Twitter to boast about their achievements, saying that the information represented "less than 5 per cent of the election data for 2011".
In their tweets, F1esc pinged @AnonymousIRC, who replied in kind.
"Also, follow @f1esc for updates on the Australian Election Leaks and #AntiLeaks. Sail strong, friend," @AnonymousIRC tweeted back.
One file of note amongst the thousands published was an Excel spreadsheet containing email addresses and contact phone numbers of electoral candidates. No sitting ministers or party leaders had their personal contact details revealed, but members of the Labor, Green and Christian Democratic parties did have non-official email addresses listed.
According to the NSW Electoral Commission, however, this most recent "leak" is nothing special.
"Those files appear to be the data feed made available through our FTP for media [on election night]. At this point, there's no evidence of any breach of our information, because this information is publicly available and has been since the election," the NSW Electoral Commission told ZDNet Australia yesterday, adding that the Excel spreadsheet of contact details is required to be public in order for a candidate to be eligible to run.
The Electoral Commission said that the data was publicly available on its active FTP, which requires no username or password to access. The commission told ZDNet Australia today that the chief information officer had subsequently logged onto the FTP server last night, and removed the files for "housekeeping" reasons.
"This data isn't secret," the commission assured.
The publication of NSW electoral information represents the second time publicly available data has been made available under the guise of the AntiSec operation, with most of last week's data leak coming from the public website of Mosman City Council.
Mosman City Council told ZDNet Australia at the time that while it had been breached, no ratepayer information had been exposed in the attack.
Such leaks stand in stark contrast to previous breaches from LulzSec and Anonymous, which saw data from Sony, the US Senate, the CIA and Infragard pushed into the public domain.