Hackers release vast amounts of US police information
Published 08/08/2011 | 15:17
Hackers have broken into the computer systems of dozens of police departments across the US, releasing vast amounts of information including reports of crime submitted by the public.
Members of the anti-security groups Anonymous and LulSez posted a seven-gigabyte file, also containing credit card details, social security numbers and other private data, online on Saturday.
The hackers said they were acting in retaliation for the arrests of several members in Britain and the US last month, as part of an investigation being led by the FBI.
They singled out "Topiary", alleged to be Jake Davis, 18, from the Shetland Islands, for "solidarity". Mr Davis has been charged with five offences relating to alleged computer attacks and illegal online break-ins.
The groups appeared to have taken files from 77 law enforcement offices in states such as Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. About 100,000 emails from officers' police accounts were released.
One file, titled "Snitch crime tip report", appeared to contain dozens of tip-offs about local incidents from members of the public, some of whose names and addresses were included.
Many of the tipsters had specifically asked for their identities to be kept secret, out of fear of reprisals. One wrote that his uncle, a convicted sexual offender, had been hanging around children.
In a statement attached to the leaked data, the hackers said: "We have no sympathy for any of the officers or informants who may be endangered by the release of their personal information".
They said they were releasing "a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to embarrass, discredit and incriminate police officers across the US."
They added that they hoped the disclosures would "demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement'' and "disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorise communities. Dozens of police training documents, including some telling officers when and how they should use their firearms, were also discovered in the vast amount of leaked material.
Tim Mayfield, the police chief in Gassville, Arkansas, said that some of the material taken from the Gassville system and posted online had been sent to him as part of an ongoing investigation.
Many of the regional offices' websites were unavailable following the alleged hack.
Last month officers from the FBI, and British and Dutch police, made 21 arrests of alleged hackers. Many related to attacks on PayPal, the online payment service, which was targeted after refusing to process payments to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that leaked secret government documents.
As part of this weekend's hack, Anonymous publicised the details of five credit card numbers that the group said it had taken from police files.
It said the cards had been used to make "involuntary donations" to organisations including a support group for Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing intelligence files to WikiLeaks.