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28 January 2013, 10:49

Anonymous defaces US Sentencing Commission site

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Anonymous icon Over the weekend, members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous defaced, the web site of the United States Sentencing Commission, in an apparent protest over the death of Aaron Swartz. The attack, carried out under the name #OpLastResort, was on an independent arm of the US government's judicial branch. This is charged with managing the sentencing guidelines for federal courts, replacing an older system of indeterminate sentences; Anonymous called it a symbolic target. Although the site is said to have been restored, at the time of writing it was still apparently unavailable, with connections timing out.

A video placed on the site, which is available on YouTube, also claimed that the group had been running a digital infiltration system of its own which had been wound down in the last two weeks, and that Anonymous would begin launching "warheads" of information that it had acquired. These "warheads" are encrypted files for which Anonymous says it will release the keys if its demands for legal reforms are not met. One file, a 1.3GB "Warhead – U S – D O J – L E A – 2013 . A E S 256" (or "A E E 256"), has been found on various torrent sites and is made up of a number of other "warhead" files, each named after a current Supreme Court judge. Anonymous does not say what material is contained in the files, if anything, or what time limits it is setting. Transcripts of the video's message have also appeared on Pastebin.

Bloomberg reports that the FBI's Criminal Cyber Response and Service Branch's executive assistant director, Richard McFeely, has said of the attack: "we were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation. We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person's or government agency's network."


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