Anonymous leaks FBI phone call discussing hacking investigations
The hacktivist group Anonymous released a nearly 17-minute recording on Friday of a phone call between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Scotland Yard pertaining to Anonymous and fellow hacker groups LulzSec and AntiSec.
The FBI confirmed to the Associated Press and Scotland Yard confirmed to the BBC that indeed, a group of hackers did intercept the phone call, which was intended to be private and is part of the two agencies’ ongoing criminal investigations into the hacker groups.
In the cal, which contains obscenities and has been posted to YouTube by Anonymous, an FBI agent going by the name Bruce starts off by saying “I’m not sure if we’re the only two on or not.” A Scotland Yard agent responds, “Bruce don’t say anything too bad, I’m here with Matt,” to which the group laughs.
The call, in which the legal names of suspected hackers are bleeped out, has also been made available as an mp3 download as well. Anonymous first claimed responsibility to recording the call on Twitter and the website Pastebin.
Anonymous also released the text of emails with details regarding the call, such as the date (Jan. 17), time, phone number and FBI organizer of the call.
On the call, Scotland Yard agents tell the FBI that they have a copy of a hard drive belonging a hacker going by the name Tehwongz, who is described on the call as “a 15-year-old kid who is basically just doing this for attention and is a bit of an idiot.”
The Scotland Yard agents said that they have a statement made online in which Tehwongz claims to have hacked the online videogaming service Steam last year, which resulted in the leak of credit card numbers belonging to thousands of Steam users. An FBI agent on the call says the U.S. too is looking into the Steam attack.
The FBI and Scotland Yard also talk about their efforts to prosecute two suspected members of Anonymous, Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis, as well as efforts to work with law enforcement in Germany in tracking down and prosecuting hackers.
Anonymous has been investigated by the FBI and Scotland yard for years, but law enforcement agencies have had a tough time ending the group’s hacking and online attacks due in part to the fact that the collective has no hierarchy and no clear leader. Instead, hackers take part in operations as they see fit, floating in and out of involvement with the group.
But the release of the FBI and Scotland Yard phone call could signal a dangerous change in activity for Anonymous, said Graham Cluley, a technology consultant and blogger with the private IT firm Sophos.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a leak like this is in some way amusing,” Cluley wrote in a blog post. “Can you put your hand on your heart and honestly say that your company takes greater care regarding the security of its conference calls? Can you be confident that someone unknown isn’t listening in to your private conversations?”