The rascals over at Anonymous are still pretty upset over the recent revelations about the NSA spying on seemingly everyone so they're acting out in the only way they know how: hacking. Specifically, releasing the supposed email accounts — and passwords — of seemingly everybody in central government in the US.
On Monday night, the affiliate account @AnonLastResort tweeted a link to a document 2,000 email addresses long. The vast majority of them come from the US House of Representatives, though there are some gems in there from the U.S. Attorney General's office, the Senate and even New York's comptroller. Now, these addresses being leaked normally wouldn't be a big deal, except that Anonymous included the passwords as well. In the leak, the hackers say they've omitted some of the passwords and shuffled the others so that they don't show up right next to the email address they unlock. But it's not that hard to figure out what goes where if you really want to break into a congressman's email history. Of course, this is all assuming that Anonymous's information is actually real. They've been known to cry wolf in the past…
Along those lines, it's unclear how this hack matters. Stealing user data, including passwords, is old hat for Anonymous, though it's hard to point to one instance in which they really wreaked havoc by exposing a bunch of passwords. The time the hacktivist collective published the names and email addresses of over 6,000 law enforcement officers in Arizona, for instance, didn't lead to any earth-shaking revelations about injustice or dishonour or any of the other things Anonymous is constantly trying to reveal cover ups about. Ditto for Anonymous's leaking the email and passwords of over a hundred BART officers and 1,000 cops in the Northeastern United States. That's just scratching the surface of Anonymous's history of doing stuff like this.
As The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield points out, one worthwhile takeaway is how hilariously bad government employees are at picking passwords. The list includes such creative passwords as "Congress" and such partisan ones as "Republican" and "Democrat." Then there are the straight up stupid ones like "password" which, unfortunately for mankind, also happens to be the most popular password on the internet. Personally, I like the very hopeful "Senate2012!" password that likely belongs to someone in the lower house. It's good to see that government employees can still dream. [The Atlantic Wire]
Image via AP