The FBI has launched an investigation into a recent Anonymous hack of a Federal Reserve database in retaliation for the US harassment of Aaron Swartz, who recently committed suicide. The hackers reportedly obtained 4,000 personal records in the attack.
Jo David Cummins, president and CEO of Illinois' Community First Bank, said the hack of the US Federal Reserve database, which gave hackers access to his personal information and that of 4,000 other people, "hasn't been much of a hassle," as quoted by Reuters. "The information that was on the contact system was the same thing that was on my business card, so it wasn't like it was anything that could do any harm to me or the bank."
But the FBI and the Fed, which is a common target of criticism from many affiliated with the hacker collective, aren't so sure. "We are in the process of a comprehensive assessment to determine what information might have been obtained in this incident.We remain confident that this incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve," said Fed spokesman Jim Strader.
Anonymous gained access to the Fed's Emergency Communication System (ECS) in mid-January, circumnavigating password prompts and encryption roadblocks. The Fed had recommended the implementation of a monitoring system to keep tabs on the security of third-party systems, like the ECS, last year.
The attack came as part of Anonymous' OpLastResort, the collective's response to the death of Aaron Swartz, who took his own life in January after a long battle with depression. He was preparing to face criminal charges based on a laundry-list of so-called criminal activity the United States government alleged he engaged in. If convicted, Swartz stood to spend 35 years in prison.
Swartz was under investigation for his connection to a dump of data taken from JSTOR, a peer-reviewed article archive. His supporters argue that though much of JSTOR's content costs money to access, academic research should be free to everyone.