The hacker group known as LulzSec appears to be back after many months of laying low, claiming to have exposed the accounts of nearly 171,000 members of the military.
The group, which in 2011 went after government agencies and companies including the FBI, CIA, Sony and even PBS, claims to have exposed the email accounts of thousands of members on the website MilitarySingles.com.
"There are emails such as @us.army.mil ; @carney.navy.mil ; @greatlakes.cnet.navy.mil ; @microsoft.com ; etc..," the group said in a note posted on the website PasteBin.
The group said it dumped a database including a total of 170,937 email accounts from the website, which bills itself as "the dating site for single soldiers."
The Pentagon could not be reached for comment about the severity of the database dump.
The programmers of the website are investigating the attack claimed by LulzSec and are taking measures to increase the site's security. "We have enacted a series of security procedures in response," said Robert Goebel, CEO of ESingles Inc., which owns the site. "Regardless of whether it was a true claim or false claim, we’re treating it as though it’s true just to be safe." But Goebel said he does not think the dating site was actually hacked. He said the website was down for some time over the weekend, but that was due to a scheduled maintenance. He also said he's not sure how the hackers could have dumped so many accounts when the site only has about 140,000 members.
"It's probably (lulzSec) trying to make a name for themselves or something," Goebel said. "Just because we have the name 'military' in it, that might be why they decided to claim they went after us."
Goebel said members of the site shouldn't panic. Even if the hackers were successful, the site's password's are encrypted so all accounts are safe.
LulzSec's actions are its first in awhile. After a busy summer of 2011, the group has not posted on its Twitter account since late July, and since then, some members of the group have been arrested.
The latest posts came from a different account, with the handle @lulzboatR and name "LulzSec Reborn."
LulzSec began as a group of hackers that were originally part of the decentralized Internet group Anonymous. The original members of LulzSec went after companies and organizations claiming they did it to expose security holes and, of course, for the "lulz," or for kicks and giggles.
[Updated 11:49 a.m.: This story was updated with comment from Robert Goebel, CEO of ESingles Inc.]