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 Thursday, 5th January 2012, 11:52:49

Passwords 'were too weak to prevent Anonymous hacking at Stratfor'

Passwords 'were too weak to prevent Anonymous hacking at Stratfor'

Internet security passwords at a global intelligence company that was hacked by the gang Anonymous were weak and easy to work out, according to new findings.

Researchers at Utah Valley University have been analysing the data that was stolen in one of the most significant hackings of the past year, which occurred shortly before Christmas. They discovered that many of the security measures such as usernames and passwords were not secure enough to ward off the most determined hackers.

E-criminal group Anonymous breached the security systems of the analytics firm based in Austin, Texas and posted evidence of its attack on social networking site Twitter.

The gang, which is part of Operation AntiSec, a collaboration with another hack group called LulzSec, targeted the firm as the next in line to get its firewall systems broken into and posted data from its accounts for all to see.

Straftor, also known as Strategic Forecasting, provides analysis of data security issues to the worldwide market and holds sensitive data regarding the online security industry.

Subscribers to the Stratfor service were also put at risk as details of their accounts and card numbers were published by the hacking group.

In a statement, a spokesperson from the company said: "The [client list] disclosure was merely a list of some of the members that have purchased our publications and does not comprise a list of individuals or entities that have a relationship with Stratfor beyond their purchase of our subscription-based publications."

They added that hackers claiming to be Anonymous distorted the truth in order to further their hidden agenda.

Kevin Young, area IT director and an adjunct professor who teaches information security at Utah Valley University, said that Stratfor "should have known better" and should have ensured that its security measures were able to protect against such happenings.

As a result of the hacking, Mr Young set up 120 computers at the university to thoroughly look at the problems within the system and explore how security measures could be improved.

An unnamed hacking gang recently made its way into the US Chamber of Commerce systems, gaining access to sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.

While some commentators suggested that the attack could be linked to the Chinese government, others described the act as one of the boldest hackings of US official databases.

Posted by Kevin Jenson

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Categories:  |  Security  |  


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