FBI call hacked by suspected Anonymous activists

Summary:The FBI has confimed that hackers intercepted a conference call to discuss the Anonymous hacking group with Scotland Yard and other cybercrime officers, after obtaining an email setting up the call

The FBI has admitted that hackers intercepted a conference call it held with Scotland Yard to discuss an ongoing investigation into Anonymous and LulzSec attacks.

Hackers claiming to be from Anonymous said they were behind the interception on 17 January. A recording of the call posted on YouTube on Friday is bona fide, the FBI confirmed on Friday.

"The information was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained," said an FBI spokeswoman. "A criminal investigation is under way to identify and hold accountable those responsible."

Details about the conference call, including the names of participants, were posted in an email on Pastebin on Friday. The email has been acknowledged by the FBI as authentic. It lists addresses for officers from the Met's Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU), the FBI, the Irish Garda and Europol, as well as cybercrime police agencies from Holland, France, Germany and Sweden.

"We are aware of the video which relates to an FBI conference call involving a PCeU representative," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. "At this stage no operational risks to the [Metropolitan Police Service] have been identified; however we continue to carry out a full assessment."

During the call, a PCeU representative called 'Stewart' recounts how the international police investigation is progressing. He mentions suspected Anonymous hackers Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis, who are being held in the UK on charges of involvement in distributed denial-of-service attacks. In addition, he reveals that a cyber-team from the US Air Force examined Cleary's hard drive and discusses a hacker known as 'TehWongZ'.

Cleary's solicitor Karen Todner said there may be implications for his case, which will aired next at a plea hearing on 11 May, postponed from 27 January.

"I think it's astonishing that the FBI and the e-Crime unit don't have secure email," Todner told ZDNet UK. "In terms of the implications for the case, I don't know at this stage, but I will be looking at it carefully."

Sophos security expert Graham Cluley suggested the hack could have arisen from the email being forwarded to an officer's compromised personal account, rather than the police email system being breached.

"It's deeply embarrassing that the very hackers that are being investigated are listening into the call as they are being discussed," Cluley said. "They also published an email — clearly, someone's email has been compromised."

Topics: Security

About

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.