Anonymous Hackers Steal Sensitive Government Information

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 16 2013 12:48 PM

Anonymous Hackers Steal Sensitive Government Information in Months-Long Campaign

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Demonstrators, including supporters of the group Anonymous, march in a protest against corrupt governments and corporations in front of the White House in Washington, DC, November 5, 2013, as part of a Million Mask March of similar rallies around the world on Guy Fawkes Day

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Activist hackers with ties to the group Anonymous accessed government computers at several agencies for nearly a year in a campaign that officials at the FBI believe is still continuing, according to a memo seen by Reuters. The hackers managed to breach the systems at the Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and perhaps other government agencies, through a flaw in Adobe’s ColdFusion software. The Department of Energy believes hackers have stolen personal information on at least 104,000 employees, contractors, family members and others, along with information on 2,000 bank accounts.

The memo described the attacks as “widespread problem that should be addressed” and officials have tied the hacking to the case of British resident Lauri Love, who was indicted last month for hacking government computers. Yet the full scope is far from clear. "It is unknown exactly how many systems have been compromised, but it is a widespread problem that should be addressed," the FBI wrote in the memo distributed to government agencies Thursday.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.