A hacktivist cell, allegedly connected to Anonymous, has managed to crack the US and UK intelligence computers and have published the email addresses of 221 British military staff and 242 NATO officials.
Thousands of British email addresses and encrypted passwords, including those of defence, MI6 intelligence and coppers as well as politicians and NATO advisers, have been published on the net.
Among those outed were advisers to the Joint Intelligence Organisation, which acts as the prime minister’s eyes and ears on sensitive information.
Oddly they did not think of hacking the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s iPad which we would have thought had all the up-to-date information about what’s happening in the UK without much in the way of security protection.
What they chose instead was to take out Stratfor, a consultancy based in Texas that specialises in foreign affairs and security. The database had recorded in spreadsheets the user IDs, email addresses and encrypted passwords of about 850,000 individuals who had subscribed to Stratfor’s website.
Some 75,000 paying subscribers also had their credit card numbers and addresses exposed, including 462 UK accounts.
Insecurity expert John Bumgarner told the Guardian that in the data, he identified the details of hundreds of UK government officials, some of whom work in sensitive areas.
The passwords are encrypted in code that can quickly be cracked using off-the-shelf software.
The database has some 19,000 email addresses ending in the .mil domain of the US military. This included 173 individuals deployed in Afghanistan and 170 in Iraq. There was personal data from former vice-president Dan Quayle and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Seven officials in the UK Cabinet Office have had their details exposed, 45 Foreign Office officials, 14 from the Home Office, 67 Scotland Yard and other police officials, and two employees within the royal household were also compromised.
None of the 23 people in the houses of parliament, including Jeremy Corbyn, Lady Nicholson and Lord Roper, were aware that they had been hacked.