Group says it hacked U.S. law enforcement websites
The Associated Press (link)
Date: Saturday Aug. 6, 2011 2:57 PM ET
LONDON — The group known as Anonymous said Saturday it has hacked into some 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the United States, a breach that one local police chief said had leaked information about an ongoing investigation.
The loose-knit international hacking collective posted a cache of data to the Web early Saturday, including emails stolen from officers, tips which appeared to come from members of the public, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.
Anonymous said it had stolen 10 gigabytes worth of data in all.
Tim Mayfield, a police chief in small-town Gassville, Arkansas, told The Associated Press that some of the material posted online -- pictures of teenage girls in their swimsuits -- related to an ongoing investigation, which he declined to discuss further.
Mayfield's comments were the first indication that the hack might be serious. Since news that some kind of an attack first filtered out earlier this week, various police officials dismissed it as nothing to worry about.
"We've not lost any information," was one typical response, given by McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy to WDEF-TV in Tennessee on Tuesday.
But many of Guy's emails were among those leaked to the Web on Saturday, and others seen by The Associated Press carried sensitive information, including tips about suspected crimes, profiles of gang members, and security training.
The emails were mainly from sheriffs' offices in places such as Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Mississippi. Most, if not all, of their websites were either unavailable or had been wiped clean of content.
Anonymous said in a statement that it was leaking "a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to (embarrass), discredit and incriminate police officers across the US." The group added that it hoped the disclosures would "demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement using their own words" and "disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorize communities."
The group also posted five credit card numbers it said it used to make "involuntary donations." At least four of the names and other personal details published to the Internet appeared genuine, although those contacted by The Associated Press said they did not know whether their financial information had been compromised.
Many calls to various sheriffs' offices across the country went unanswered or weren't returned Saturday, but several others confirmed that a cyberattack had taken place.
In Arkansas, St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May said his department and several others were targeted in retaliation for the arrest of hackers who had targeted Apple Computer Inc., among other companies.
"It's an international group who are hacking into law enforcement websites across the nation is my understanding," May told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. He said the FBI was investigating the attacks.
Although the hackers said the attack occurred days ago, many sheriffs first learned of its scope only when contacted by the AP.
"I had no idea that hackers had gotten into that email," said Mayfield, the police chief from Gassville.
Anonymous has increasingly been targeted by law enforcement in the United States and elsewhere following a string of high-profile data thefts and denial of service attacks -- operations which block websites by flooding them with traffic.
Last month the FBI and British and Dutch officials made 21 arrests, many of them related to the group's attacks on Internet payment provider PayPal Inc., which has been targeted over its refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks.
Earlier, 19-year-old Ryan Cleary was charged with attacks on the Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency and various U.K. music sites. More recently, Jake Davis, alleged to be a spokesman for Anonymous known as "Topiary," was arrested on Britain's remote Shetland Islands by Scotland Yard's specialist e-crime unit.
Anonymous said the most recent attack was revenge.
"We are doing this in solidarity with Topiary and the Anonymous PayPal ... defendants as well as all other political prisoners who are facing the gun of the crooked court system," it said.
Many of the websites affected Saturday were registered to Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing Inc., a Mountain Home, Arkansas-based media services firm which provides support to law enforcement sites across the country. Anonymous said in its statement that it had pulled off its attack by compromising the group's server.
Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing did not immediately return several calls and emails seeking comment.
Cyber Attack Floods Bulgarian Whistleblowing Site
February 6, 2013
The independent site for investigative journalism Bivol.bg which published formerly classified documents, revealing that Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, has been a person of interest for the anti-mafia police in the 90s, became subject of a "flooding" attack.
One of the owners and editors of the site, journalist Assen Yordanov, told the Bulgarian news agency BGNES that Bivol has been attacked for over an hour by a very powerful, unknown site - anonine.com. The latter has generated tens of thousands of viewer requests, which had blocked access and brought the site down. Yordanov assuaged the database has not been affected and the publications were intact. "There is no doubt this is connected with the upcoming release of new documents from the Buddha file. We have also received quite a few threats, including anonymous ones, and phone calls with silence on the other end of the line," he said.
On Sunday and Monday, Bivol published two documents revealing that in the 90s Borisov has caught the attention of the anti-mafia police over his alleged ties with the underworld. The documents date from February, 1997, and December, 1996. The 1997 file shows that on February 24, 1997, the Central Services for Combatting Organized Crime, CSBOP "Internal Terrorism" Department has launched a case for operative surveillance (DON) against Boyko Metodiev Borisov. The case was listed under the alias "Buddha." The other one is a proposal to recruit him as a secret agent of CSBOP.
On Monday, Borisov asked for the Buddha file to be declassified and denied having been an informant. The documents have leaked anonymously through Bivol's platform Balkanleaks, which is modeled after the famous WikiLeaks, and have been revealed for the very first time. Because of the anonymous platform, the journalists have no way of finding out where the documents came from and/or who has sent them.
Whistleblower at facility for mentally ill prisoners claims he was blacklisted
July 26th, 2013
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A psychiatrist who testified about dangerously low staffing at a facility that treats mentally ill inmates says he’s been blacklisted from working in California prisons. Dr. Joel Badeaux, a former staff psychiatrist at the Salinas Valley Psychiatrist Program, told U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton that he’d co-signed a letter to the head of the SVPP warning that caseloads of up to 60 patients were too heavy. “We didn’t feel we could safely take care of that many patients with the number of psychiatrists we had,” Badeaux explained.
Karlton ordered an investigation of SVPP following the testimony from Badeaux and others last month about problems at the unit, which is on the grounds of the state prison there. Badeaux said he was blacklisted because of his testimony. In a July 17 letter to the judge, Badeaux wrote that “negative information may have been improperly placed into my state employee file which could negatively affect my ability to gain employment anywhere for the rest of my career as a psychiatrist.”
Badeaux, 46, is currently seeing patients at a community clinic, but he says those jobs are limited. The state is the major employer for psychiatrists like Badeaux who have experience working with severely mentally ill patients. Badeaux worked as a psychiatrist for 18 months for the Department of State Hospitals, which provides acute care to California’s most severely mentally ill inmates. He quit working for the agency in March.
In June, the Chief of Mental Health at the Salinas Valley State Prison contacted Badeaux about a position as a staff psychiatrist there. Badeaux decided to apply through a private agency that is contracted to provide psychiatric services to state prisons. A few days later the prison mental health official sent Badeaux an email that said he was “approved to come aboard ASAP," adding “This is so exciting.”
But a few weeks after that, after Badeaux testified at the court hearing, the CEO of healthcare for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation e-mailed a message to the contract agency: “After a review of his file we have opted to decline to offer Dr. Badeaux a contract at this time.”
Badeaux says his state file was clean when he left. “If there’s nothing negative in my file, what is the justification exactly for not bringing me back, besides that certain administrators may not like me or what I had to say in court?” Badeaux says.
Dana Simas, a spokeswoman for CDCR, couldn’t say why Badeaux’s application was rejected. “CDCR doesn’t comment on specific personnel matters during the hiring process or the letting go process,” Simas said.
A team that reviews applications for contract jobs in the prisons made the decision not to hire Badeaux. Simas confirmed the position he applied for is still open. Badeaux believes state officials are making an example of him to stifle staff at SVPP while the federal court investigates conditions. “Word gets around," he said. “I still know a lot of people there. They all know what happened, so they’ll think twice about saying anything.”
A special master for mental health care in the prisons is expected to spend the next couple of weeks interviewing staff at the state hospital facility before issuing a report to Judge Karlton.
Julian Assange: 'I miss the outside world' After 400 days living in asylum, the WikiLeaks chief invites WHO to a tour of his London haven.
August 1, 2013
Julian Assange occupies one room, but sleeps in a renovated bathroom in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Inviting WHO into the Knightsbridge haven, a short stroll from Harrods department store, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks shared his daily routine, his fears and the difficulties of living in the embassy.
“I couldn’t sleep because of the Harrods loading bay and the cops always doing shift changes outside,” says Assange, 42. “And the quietest room is the women’s bathroom, the only room that’s easy to sleep in. So I thought I’d try and somehow get hold of it and renovate it. Eventually, somewhat reluctantly, the staff relented. They ripped out the toilet. They’ve been very generous.”
Since June 19 last year, Assange has been living in exile at the Ecuadorian Embassy, avoiding an extradition order to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over two alleged sexual assaults. But Assange, who vehemently denies the accusations, says, “I didn’t come here because of Sweden,” telling WHO he fears only the threat of eventual extradition to the US, where he faces potential espionage charges over his whistleblowing website’s leaking of classified material.
And so, relying on family, friends, colleagues and embassy staff for his daily and work needs, and using a sunlamp to keep his vitamin D levels up, Assange has carved out a working life in his embassy niche. “I miss all the outside world, obviously,” says Assange, who tells WHO he is constantly shifting rooms in the embassy, which occupies a single floor of the building: “We’ve had this room for about a week and we don’t draw attention to which rooms. That’s quite dangerous.”
He is guarded about where his meals come from, too. When an embassy staffer brings him a sushi lunch, Assange asks that the name of the restaurant not be published. “They might track the place down,” says Assange, who was born in Townsville, Queensland. “They might put something in there that won’t kill me, but make me very sick so I’ll have to go to hospital.”
He believes his family are potential targets, too. “American right-wingers put out a call that the way to get me was to ‘take out’ my eldest son,” says Assange. “My son has had to move, change all his identities. My mother has had to move, too. There are many death threats made to the lawyers.”
He finds comfort through his support base. Visitors to his embassy home have included Lady Gaga, actor John Cusack, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, members of Pussy Riot and Yoko Ono, who has visited “several times,” says Assange. “I’m a big admirer.”
Australian friends try to quell the homesickness with gifts—“flannel shirts, Tim Tams, Vegemite, gum leaves”—and at 4 PM each day, a small group including former refugees and soldiers hold a vigil for Assange outside the embassy. “They try and keep my spirits up,” he says. “And they do.”
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