Trademark mask: Anonymous published a top secret email ‘sent by an FBI agent’, which gave details and a password for accessing a sensitive call (file picture)
| by Mark Duell
( February 03, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) A confidential call between the FBI and Scotland Yard was recorded by hacking group Anonymous – the very people they were trying to catch, it was revealed today.
The group released a 15-minute tape of what appears to be a conference call last month about tracking and prosecuting the group’s members.
Anonymous also published a top secret email apparently sent by an FBI agent, which gave details and a password for accessing the call.
The cyber raid is the most audacious and sinister yet to be carried out by the shadowy hacking group and shows how powerful Anonymous has become.
‘The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now,’ the group gloated on Twitter.
‘This is just the beginning’: Hacking group Anonymous takes over Greek Ministry of Justice website and warns other Governments are in its sights
The recording, which has since been verified by the FBI, appears to have been edited to bleep out the names of some suspects being discussed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said the information ‘was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained.’
‘A criminal investigation is under way to identify and hold accountable those responsible,’ the law-enforcement bureau added.
‘If they haven’t secured their email it could potentially prejudice the investigation’ – Karen Todner, lawyer for Ryan Cleary, linked with Anonymous
Amid the material published by Anonymous was a message purportedly sent by an FBI agent to international law enforcement agencies.
It invites his foreign counterparts to join the call to ‘discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous and other associated splinter groups’.
The email to officials in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and France had a phone number and password for accessing the call.
But only American and British officials can be heard on the recording. Neither the FBI agent nor others coded in on the call have commented.
‘The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now’- Anonymous, on Twitter
Those on the call talk about what legal strategy to pursue in the cases of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis – two British suspects linked to Anonymous.
They also discuss evidence against other suspects. Karen Todner, a lawyer for Cleary, said the recording could be ‘incredibly sensitive’.
She warned the breach could derail police work. ‘If they haven’t secured their email it could potentially prejudice the investigation,’ she said.
ATTACK ON GREECE SITE
Anonymous today launched a cyber-attack on the Greek Ministry of Justice website, and warned of plans to target a further 300 ministry and media sites.
The hack was apparently a protest against the Greek government’s signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is designed to reduce internet piracy.
The group has unleashed havoc on several European governments during the past month.
Anonymous is an amorphous collection of online enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included the Church of Scientology.
They have also run attacks against the music industry, and financial companies such as Visa and MasterCard.
Following a spate of arrests globally, the group and its various offshoots have focused their attention on law enforcement, especially the FBI.
Data security expert Graham Cluley said hackers were able to eavesdrop on the call because they had compromised an investigator’s emails.
‘The very people that (police) are trying to apprehend, could have been tuning in to their internal conversations,’ he wrote in a blog post.
EXCERPTS OF WHAT WAS SAID ON THE TAPPED CONVERSATION
A preliminary conversation is heard between British and U.S. law enforcement agencies before they discuss the operations against Anonymous:
‘Please enter your passcode followed by the # key or *0 to speak with an operator. Your passcode has been confirmed. Please wait while you are joined to the conference’
‘Hey Stuart? Hey, it’s Bruce’
‘Hello Bruce, how’re you doing?’
‘Alright. I’m not sure if we’re the only two on right now or not’
‘Bruce, don’t say anything too bad – I’m here with Matt’
‘Do you wanna talk about cheese?’
‘Cheese? What about that McDonald’s at the Pentagon eh? I’ve told so many people. No-one believes me’
Then the British law enforcement agent ‘Stuart’ speaks about their investigations:
‘We’ve still got Ryan Cleary and James Davis due at court on the 27th. Following some discussion with the New York office, we’re looking to try and build some time in to allow some operational matters to fulfill on your side of the water’
‘We’ve set back the further arrests of Kayla and Tee-flow (until) we know what’s happening. We’ve got our prosecution council making an application in chambers, i.e. without the defence knowing, to seek a way to try and factor some time in that won’t looking suspicious’
‘We’ve cocked things up in the past, we know that, so it gives us more time to examine the track logs in any event’
‘The lad who (was) of interest to one of the guys at New York. He got arrested just before Christmas (and) he did some stuff on the supposed ‘project mayhem’ – or whatever the hell that was – ‘operation f**k you’, where he hacked a website. I think it was the Manchester Credit Union, that’s based in Jamaica. He defaced that site. He’s a 15-year-old kid who’s basically just doing this all for attention and a bit of an idiot’
‘We’ve been speaking with Irish around Palladium and Porn Source – and looking to share some intelligence with them and some information on that’