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27 December 2011, 16:17

Anonymous attacks security advisers

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Stratfor letter
Zoom Stratfor CEO George Friedman confirmed the hack in a letter to corporate customers
Activists from hacker movement Anonymous have attacked the servers of Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) and claim they have gained access to more than 200 gigabytes of mail data. Stratfor founder George Friedman has since confirmed that a confidential list of customers has been published on other web sites. An excerpt of the list contained some 4,000 entries, including such Stratfor customers as the US Army, the US Navy, Miami Police Department, Deutsche Bank, DHL, and German news weekly Der Spiegel. The Stratfor web site is currently down – the company has been providing updates through its Facebook page. As of writing, in the most recent update the company's Founder said that the list released is not, as claimed by Anonymous, the company's "private clients" but just a list of companies who have subscribed to or purchased Stratfor publications.

But the publication of customer names is not the end of it. The Anonymous hackers apparently also accessed the credit card information of Stratfor customers. Reports say this credit card information included the CCV (credit card verification) numbers for the cards, which should never be stored by a company. Through the @AnonymousIRC Twitter account, they are now sharing the news that they are using thousands of these credit cards to make payments to a wide range of charities including the Red Cross, CARE, Save The Children and the African Child Foundations, and have provided screenshots of online transactions as proof.

US media cites victims confirming that unauthorised payment transactions have taken place. It has been reported that Anonymous plans to distribute more than one million dollars in total to charities using the stolen credit cards. F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen points out that credit card companies will usually not only recover the money through a chargeback, but could, in some cases, also penalise the charities.


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