Reuters Dec 27, 2011 – 6:56 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 27, 2011 8:09 PM ET
In the past year, hacker group Anonymous has launched attacks on companies perceived to be enemies of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous group said they are getting ready to publish emails stolen from private intelligence analysis firm Strategic Forecasting Inc, whose clients include the U.S. military, Wall Street banks and other corporations.
Strategic Forecasting Inc, which is also known as Stratfor, disclosed over the weekend that its website had been hacked and that some information about its corporate subscribers had been made public.
The hacking group known as Antisec has claimed responsibility for the attack and promised to cause “mayhem” by releasing stolen documents.
Antisec has already published what it claims are the names of thousands of corporate and government customers, as well as email addresses, passwords and credit card numbers of individual subscribers to its services. Customers on the list published by Antisec include Bank of America, Exxon Mobil Corp, Goldman Sachs & Co, Interpol, Thomson Reuters, the U.S. military and the United Nations.
Stratfor said in a letter to subscribers over the weekend that it would offer identity theft protection and monitoring services to affected subscribers. Its website has been offline for several days.
Stratfor Chief Executive George Friedman said on the company’s Facebook page that the people whose names were published by AntiSec had simply subscribed to the firm’s publications and did not have a deeper relationship with the company.
Officials with Stratfor could not be reached on Tuesday to comment on AntiSec’s latest threat.
Anonymous said that the emails the hackers intended to publish would be more sensitive.
“Stratfor is not the ‘harmless company’ it tries to paint itself as. You’ll see in those emails,” Anonymous said via Twitter.
The group said it would release those emails once it had finished formatting them for distribution and prepared more than 9,000 “mirrored” copies. Creating that many copies of the file would allow the hackers to distribute it more quickly and also make it more difficult for authorities to shut down servers holding the data.
A spokesman for the FBI declined comment on the matter.
U.S. federal agents arrested 14 people in July, charging them with involvement in attacks on PayPal’s websites in a campaign organized by Anonymous.
Separately, a German expert on mobile phone security said that flaws in the widely used GSM wireless technology could allow hackers to gain remote control of phones and instruct them to send text messages or make calls.
© Thomson Reuters 2011