Hacker Group Steals Data From Governments Including Zimbabwe

This weekend the group, also known as LulzSec, said it would dissolve and return back to the larger hacker collective Anonymous, where it would pursue activities under a new banner dubbed AntiSec, dedicated to fighting against “censorship and corrupt governments.”

Early Tuesday, the AntiSec Anonymous cell posted several sets of government files, and promised more later in the day. Files it posted online appeared to include passwords for several sites associated with the Brazilian government as well as contents of databases belonging to the governments of Australia, Anguilla and Zimbabwe. It also posted what it said were 2,800 names of members of the right-wing Columbian Black Eagles Special Police Unit.

LulzSec has taken a special interest in Brazil. A key member known as Sabu has trumpeted his opposition to censorship there, and the group has a Brazilian offshoot.

In posts about its leaks on its Twitter feed, the group said the Zimbabwean material comprised “about everything about Zimbabwe government on Internet there is to know” and took a swipe at President Robert Mugabe, who has clung to power in the African state since disputed presidential elections in 2008.

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The files appeared to be associated with the government’s Web portal. The group also claimed to have exposed a set of e-mail credentials.

Anonymous has a history of opposing the Mugabe regime and focusing on sites affiliated with it for denial-of-service attacks and defacements.

It was less clear why the group went after Australia and Anguilla, other than to fulfill its anarchic AntiSec goal to “steal and leak any classified government information.”

Meanwhile, the main Anonymous operations arm said in a blog post Tuesday that it planned to focus on Israeli government sites with denial-of-service attacks, which are attacks designed to flood sites with traffic until they are unavailable. No attacks have been detected so far, according to the security firm Arbor Networks.

And another part of Anonymous said it took down MasterCard’s site in a denial-of-service attack. MasterCard said in an e-mailed statement that its corporate Web site “experienced intermittent service disruption, due to a telecommunications/Internet service provider outage that impacted multiple users” and that it was “continuing to monitor the situation closely.” New York Times Blog