A treasure-trove of top secret correspondence between security firm Stratfor and millions of contacts is about to be published, a move that hackers say will serve as a smoking gun for several committed crimes.
Activists belonging to the loose-knit online collective Anonymous infiltrated the internal servers of Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor, earlier this month and published an array of information on the company’s clients, including credit card data, log-ins and passwords. Less than a week after the first bits and pieces were put online, those close to the hack say that millions of emails linking the firm to high-profile customers will soon be made publically available.
Since news of the hack made it to the Web on Christmas Eve, the number of emails obtained has rose from nearly 3 million to now around 5.5 million.
In preparation for the dump of data, Stratfor has said that they will continue to keep their website offline while they look into the hack. The company has repeatedly reached out to its customers, who subscribe to analysis reports on the Web, to apologize for the breach of information. Though they have downplayed the incident and apologized incessantly, a further delay in launching the site suggests that the hack could have been more severe than first though.
"As part of our ongoing investigation, we have also decided to delay the launching of our website until a thorough review and adjustment by outside experts can be completed," Stratfor says in an email.
While the investigation opens up, operatives with Anonymous have credited themselves for the attack, a campaign waged under its Antisec campaign that targets mainstream and allegedly corrupt corporations and exposes them for their lack of online protection. Anonymous op Barrett Brown wrote on the web earlier this week that, “among many other things, a widespread conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America and other parties to attack and discredit WikiLeaks and other activist groups” helped draw the hacktivists towards disrupting Stratfor. As a result of the hack, he said the data obtained “includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor's employees off the record over more than a decade.”
“The Stratfor operation may yield the most revelatory trove of information ever seized by Anonymous,” Brown added in a tweet on Christmas Eve.
Brown said to RT this week that subscribers to Stratfor’s emails should not be concerned over the hack, but rather “It is any of their past email correspondents who might have revealed information that could come back to haunt them who should be concerned for their reputations in such cases, as they might be shown to be culpable for anything that negatively affects the public.”
To the Daily Mail, Brown adds that the emails could “provide the smoking gun for a number of crimes of extraordinary importance.”
“People talking off the record to a think-tank are going to disclose a lot of information. Their identities are likely to be in the emails,” adds Brown.
Anonymous operatives close to the hack say that the emails are expected to be released this week and are in the process of scouring the millions of pieces of correspondence before they are published.