Anonymous, spurred by the suicide of coder and activist Aaron Swartz, reportedly hacked into the Department of Justice’s computer systems and stole what it is calling “multiple warheads.” That is, a number of files that the U.S. government wouldn’t want revealed.
Swartz committed suicide earlier in January while facing a up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine for siphoning off nearly five million JSTOR articles through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s network. He had a total of 13 felony charges against him. Anonymous is calling for a change in the justice system and says situations like Swartz’s promote “outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment.”
The group claims it has a number of files that it hopes not to have to use and hacked into the Department of Justice’s United States Sentencing Commission overnight to announce the grab. Anonymous says it will not ruin the speculation by saying what the documents hold, but it will release redacted sections to reporters who provide a secure means of communication, starting as early as today.
“Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public,” the group said in its statement.
Anonymous also pointed out recent reports of Red October, cyber-spying malware that targeted a number of governments around the world, particularly in Eastern Asia. It also mentioned the recent outcries around a major vulnerability in Java, saying:
“None of this comes of course as any surprise to us, but it is perhaps good that those within the information security industry are making the extent of these threats more widely understood. Still there is nothing quite as educational as a well-conducted demonstration.”
This is perhaps a hint that Anonymous used the Java exploit to enter the DoJ’s systems. It might also just mean the group is showing off its own hacking prowess — well, if it provides anything to substantiate the supposed lifted files.