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Stratfor Hack Exposes 200 British Defence Staff

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Anonymous has exposed email addresses of defence officials, but sources deny there is any risk to national security

More than 200 British defence officials are among the people whose details have been exposed by the Anonymous hack on US security firm Stratfor during the holiday period.

Email addresses for 221 British military officials and 242 Nato staff were exposed in the “Robin Hood” hack on Stratfor, in which the Anonymous  hacktivist group claims to have accessed credit card details, from the compromised accounts and stolen $1m (£649,000)  which it donated to charity.

Emails and passwords

Officials exposed included senior civils servants in the Cabinet Office, and advisors to the Joint Intelligence Organisation, according to Washington-based research body, the US Cyber Consequences Unit, which pored through the spreadsheet of 850,000 subscribers’ details, which Anonymous posted to the web.

The accounts compromised included 75,000 credit card details of Stratfor’s paying customers, including around 460 based in the UK .

British officials have denied that there is any risk to national security. Most of the officials have had their email addresses compromised, as well as their passwords to the Stratfor site, but not access details to email communications within Whitehall.

However, the individuals may be at risk personally if they used the same password on other services. Also, the release of email addresses which are normally kept secret, may be a help to those with malicious intent.

“Any foreign intelligence service targeting Britain could find these emails useful in identifying individuals connected to sensitive government activities,”  said John Bumgarner of the Cyber Consequences Unit, in The Guardian.