Hacker Releases Data On Thousands Of FBI, DHS Staff

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The incident follows hacks targeting CIA director John Brennan and other prominent US political figures

A hacker has released personal data on nearly 20,000 FBI agents, following the release of information on 9,000 staff of the US’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over the weekend.

The FBI data includes names, job descriptions, work email addresses and telephone numbers, with about 1,000 staff listed as dealing with intelligence analysis. On Sunday the same hacker published a link via Twitter to a similar data set on 9,000 DHS staff.


The data was checked by staff at IT news website Motherboard, to which the hacker initially disclosed the attack, and found to be valid, although some contact details appeared to be outdated, according to Motherboard’s report.

The DHS said it is investigating the incident, but downplayed its significance.

“There is no indication at this time that there is any breach of sensitive or personally identifiable information,” the DHS said in a statement provided to journalists.

The Department of Justice, of which the FBI is a part, provided a similar response.

The hacker reportedly gained initial access to government systems by obtaining the login details to the email account of an unidentified Department of Justice employee.

Social engineering

At another stage, the hacker gained access to the DOJ’s intranet by telephoning a member of the organisation’s technical support staff and being given a login credential, according to Motherboard.

“They asked if I had a token code, I said no, they said that’s fine — just use our one,” the hacker said.

The Twitter account used to publish the details has a pro-Palestinian political stance, making the incident similar to hacks last year that were also linked to pro-Palestinian hackers.

In October a hacking group called Crackas With Attitude (CWA) broke into the email accounts of CIA director John Brennan and other prominent political figures, as well as gaining access to government personnel files.

Not long afterward, hackers altered Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s telephone line so that inbound calls were forwarded to the Free Palestine Movement.

The US government’s Department of Personnel Management (OPM) was last year targeted by hackers who gained access to more than 21.5 million staff records and more than five million fingerprint records. That incident was blamed on the Chinese government, which denied involvement.

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