Hacktivist group Anonymous took control of the U.S. Sentencing Commission website Friday, January 25 in a new campaign called “Operation Last Resort.”
The first attack on the website was early Friday morning. The second – successful – attack came around 9pm PST that evening.
By 3am PST ussc.gov was down (it has since been dropped from the DNS), yet as of this writing the IP address (18.104.22.168) still returns the defaced site’s contents.
It appears that via the U.S. government website, Anonymous had distributed encrypted government files and left a statement on the website that de-encryption keys would be publicly released (thus releasing the as-yet unkonwn information held on the stolen files) if the U.S. government did not comply with Anonymous’ ultimatum demands for legal reform.
Interestingly, they may have hacked private information about the Judges, including Justice Scalia!
It is possible, as suggested by the file names, that Anonymous may have taken files pertaining to each of the judges (all of whom were named on filenames at the bottom of the defaced page, such as “Scalia.warhead1”) and put them in a file (named “Warhead-US-DOJ-LEA-2013.aes256”) and then appended a command to the file that would nuke the file.
Scalia is your friend, Anonymous. Nino thinks the guidelines are advisory.
Another site reports that there is a file for each Justice:
The site contains links to 9 encrypted files, one for each of the current Supreme Court Justices.
The files are intended to be concatenated into a single file named: Warhead-US-DOJ-LEA-2013.aes256
(US-DOJ-LEA = United States – Department of Justice – Law Enforcement Agency)
aes256 is apparently the encryption scheme used to encrypt the files.
File names (and sizes): 1115 MB total
Scalia.Warhead1 (150 MB) Kennedy.Warhead1 (108 MB) Thomas.Warhead1 (150 MB) Ginsburg.Warhead1 (150 MB) Breyer.Warhead1 (150 MB) Roberts.Warhead1 (23 MB) Alito.Warhead1 (150 MB) Sotomayor.Warhead1 (101 MB) Kagan.Warhead1 (133 MB) Relevant quotes pertaining to the file contents:
The contents are various and we won’t ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file.
Should we be forced to reveal the trigger-key to this warhead, we understand that there will be collateral damage.
It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated.
Summary: the file contains “various secret contents”, the file has one encryption key to reveal all data, they intend to release previews of the data, they may not release the encryption key (although chances of this seem unlikely).
The encrypted data is almost certainly larger than the unencrypted data, my guess is the unencrypted data is closer to 600MB to 900MB (In the ballpark of the size of a standard 700MB data CD).
Initially I thought the 9 files may contain data about each of the SC Justices, or perhaps information intended for each of them. However, I think their names on files were simply chosen for effect.
H/T Dan Katz