Hackers associated with Anonymous launched a year-long campaign to break into multiple government agency networks and steal the personal information of over 100,000 employees, contractors and family members, according to a recently distributed memo obtained by Reuters.
The FBI memo, Reuters reports, was meant to call for administrators to clean up the mess allegedly left behind by Lauri Love, a 28-year-old British man arrested at the end of October for stealing employee personal information from the government. Love was accused of working with a team of hackers to leave malware in networks for the U.S. Army, NASA and the Missile Command Agency, among others, that gave them "back door" access to networks and allowed them to come and go as they pleased. Love and his co-conspirators, who the FBI believe were loosely-involved with the Anonymous hacking collective Anonymous, would re-enter the networks and steal the personal information of employees, contractors and family members. Despite Love's indictment, the FBI believes his co-workers have continued their campaign, "a widespread problem that should be addressed," the memo says.
Love's indictment said the team was working with the intent to widely distribute the stolen information online. According to a separate email sent at the beginning of October before Love's arrest, the trove of information stolen's by Love's team from one lone government agency was enough to raise eyebrows:
According to an internal email from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz' chief of staff, Kevin Knobloch, the stolen data included personal information on at least 104,000 employees, contractors, family members and others associated with the Department of Energy, along with information on almost 2,0000 [sic] bank accounts.
The email went on to say officials were "very concerned" about possible thieving because of the loose banking information. Love faces two charges relating to hacking U.S. government computers in New Jersey. Lawyers are fighting to make sure Love won't get extradited to the U.S., and instead would only faces hacking charges in the U.K. The FBI is investigating three or four other hackers believed to be his main co-conspirators. One member of Anonymous, Jeremy Hammond, was sentenced to ten years in prison on Friday for hacking U.S. government computers.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.