February 4, 2012 in Nation/World

Hacker group listens in on FBI conference call

Richard A. Serrano Tribune Washington bureau
 

WASHINGTON – The computer hacking group Anonymous took gleeful pride Friday in announcing that it had sneaked onto a conference call between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and foreign law enforcement agencies concerning how to deal with the cyber-pirate organization.

To boost its claim, the group posted a 16-minute recording of the conference call in which intelligence was shared about two British teenagers allegedly tied to Anonymous. But at FBI headquarters, officials brushed off the incident, saying that while a “criminal investigation is under way” into how the conference call was compromised, the episode was not a major incident in the annals of cyber-stealth. They insisted that nothing was jeopardized.

“In the big scheme of things, how do these people fit into cyber-crime?” said one FBI official. “It’s pretty low level. These guys are not that sophisticated.”

In the past, Anonymous has claimed some big-name scores. It revealed email addresses and other personable tidbits about former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and numerous other U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and military officials.

In January, Anonymous said it briefly shut down parts of the Justice Department website and attacked sites of some entertainment companies because criminal charges had been brought against the founders of Megaupload for transferring music and movies onto the Internet.

But to get inside the FBI tent by eavesdropping on the conference call hit closer to home.

“The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now,” Anonymous taunted on Twitter.

The FBI said “they got access into a system, not ours, because someone overseas in foreign law enforcement forwarded a working email into a private account. That’s how the compromise was made.”


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