A second attack was launched on the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) yesterday that led to the personal details of 102 police officers being leaked.
Following the first ‘opBART' attack last weekend, which revealed the data of thousands of passengers after the network closed down mobile phone services to prevent a protest, the latest attack targeted the BART Police Officers Association. This follows a call by Anonymous for the BART police force to disband over two police shootings of a homeless man in July and a fatal shooting in 2009.
Both incidents have been pinned on hacking group Anonymous, but it has only claimed responsibility for the first incident. There is some disagreement over whether the second was done by the group. The San Francisco Chronicle said that someone using the name ‘Lamalin_5mg', who identified herself as a French girl who taught herself computer programming, was responsible.
She said that although this was her first hacking attempt, she had managed to breach the system in less than four hours and described the action as a ‘piece of cake'.
Anonymous appeared to remove itself from the blame, saying on one of its Twitter feeds that ‘no one claimed responsibility for the hack' and that ‘some random Joe joined a channel and released the data to the press'.
It said: “The leak today of BART officer data could be the work sanctioned by those who truly support Anonymous, or agent provocateurs.
“People who are against Anonymous know they can do things under the name ‘Anonymous' and never be questioned. This is Anonymous, defined.”
Sherwood Wakeman, interim general manager of the BART Police Officers Association, said: “We condemn this latest attack on the working men and women of BART. We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of our employees and their families. We stand behind them and our customers who were the subject of an earlier attack. We are deeply troubled by these actions.”
An audio file, hosted on an Anonymous blog post, said ‘today we have seen a miracle come alive'. It said: “Once again, Anonymous will attempt to show those that engage in censorship what it feels like to be silenced.” This is then followed by several radio reports on the shootings.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “I guess one of the problems of being a decentralised hacktivist group, with no leadership structure and no way of identifying members, is that anyone can claim to have done something under the Anonymous banner and no one can credibly argue that it wasn't an Anonymous action.
“The BART Police Officers Association has been caught with its pants down. It seems likely that a vulnerability on their site will have let the hackers access the police officer's database.
“Clearly the information had not been properly secured. In the current climate of high profile hacks that's not excusable. Other forces would be wise to look at their own sites and make sure that they are not similarly vulnerable to attack.”