Anonymous, a group of self-described activist hackers, began a campaign targeting US government agency computers nearly a year ago. According to the FBI, in that time Anonymous' hackers managed to gain access to more than 100,000 government and contract workers' personal information from at least one agency.
According to Yahoo! News, the hacker group took advantage of a major security flaw in Adobe Systems Inc software to break into US agency computers. After doing so, the hackers created secret paths to get access to the computers at a later time. Sometimes referred to as "back doors," these access points may have been used as recently as a month ago, an FBI memo reveals.
The FBI memo was sent out on Thursday. It explains that the Anonymous hacking campaign appears to have begun last December, eventually becoming "a widespread problem that should be addressed." An investigation is underway to fully measure the impact of the cyber attacks. As reported in the memo, the security breaches seem to have been aimed at the US Army, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Energy. It is unknown whether other US agencies were targeted by Anonymous as well.
A 28-year-old British man named Lauri Love was arrested back in October for his connection to Anonymous and their attacks on US government agencies. According to The Atlantic Wire, Love is accused of participating in attacking several agencies including NASA and the Missile Command Agency. Though Love's activities have come to an end, the recent FBI memo claims Anonymous' cyber assaults have not.
Love and his team are connected to the theft of "at least 104,000" US Department of Energy workers, contractors, and their family members alone. They also appear to have made off with the details of nearly 20,000 bank accounts. The charges leveled against Love argue that he and Anonymous were intending to distribute this information online.