Anonymous claims – and denies – responsibility for Stratfor breach

The problem with being Anonymous and decentralized is that one hand doesn’t necessarily know what the other hand is doing—or saying. Austin-based security think tank Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) has admitted that attackers managed to breach its Web site and collect information on some of the company’s corporate subscribers. As a result, Stratfor has temporarily shut down its Web site and email services.

Attackers claiming to represent the online activist group Anonymous say they obtained passwords, credit card details, and home addresses for about 4,000 individuals on Stratfor’s private client list—and planned to use the credit card information to make fraudulent donations to charities. However, in a separate statement, other purported representatives of Anonymous denied responsibility for the attacks, claiming Stratfor analysts are known for being unbiased and that Anonymous “does not attack media sources.”

Individuals claiming to represent Anonymous previously threatened to attack Fox News over its coverage of Occupy Wall Street protests.

Anonymous has also been tied to attacks on Sony’s PlayStation services, the Church of Scientology, as well as companies, banks, and organizations that withdrew payment processing and other support for WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Stratfor’s client list includes the U.S. Air Force, the Miami Police Department, and Apple. The company offers subscribers high-quality economic, political, and even military analysis to clients, delivered daily via email, video, and the Web.

The statement denying responsibility for the attack lays it at the feat of “Sabu,” a cyberattacker associated with the LulzSec security breaches earlier this year. Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and other countries have made several arrests connected with both LulzSec and Anonymous.

Stratfor indicated in a statement distributed via email that it is working with law enforcement to identify individuals involved in the attack.

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