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Anonymous Hacks U.S. Police Websites, Leaks Sensitive Information

Anonymous has struck back after a long time. The are usually in the headlines every other day. This time they are for hacking U.S. police websites. They have hacked and stolen data over 10 gigabyte from the websites.

Tim Mayfield, a police chief in Gassville, Arkansas, told The Associated Press that some of the material posted online — including pictures of teenage girls in their swimsuits — was sent to him as part of an ongoing investigation. He declined to provide more details.

Mayfield’s comments were the first indication that the hack might be serious. Since news of some kind of cyberattack first filtered out less than a week ago, various police officials said they were unaware of the hacking or dismissed it as nothing to worry about.

Though many of the leaked emails appeared benign, some of the stolen material seen by the AP carried sensitive information, including tips about suspected crimes, profiles of gang members and security training.

The emails were mainly from sheriffs’ offices in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi. Many of the websites were operated by a Mountain Home, Arkansas, media services hosting company, and most, if not all, were either unavailable on Saturday or had been wiped clean of content. The company, Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing, declined to comment.

In a statement, Anonymous said had leaked “a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to (embarrass), discredit and incriminate police officers across the US.” The group said it hoped the disclosures would “demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement using their own words” and “disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorize communities.”

The group did not say specifically why these sheriffs’ departments were targeted, but Anonymous members have increasingly been pursued by law enforcement in the United States and elsewhere following a string of high-profile data thefts and denial of service attacks — operations that block websites by flooding them with traffic.

Last month, the FBI and British and Dutch officials made 21 arrests, many of them related to the group’s attacks on Internet payment provider PayPal Inc., which has been targeted over its refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks. The group also claims credit for disrupting the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

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