Anonymous released personal information and documents stolen from agricultural chemical and biotechnology company Monsanto as the Senate discusses a committee to address cyber-security issues.
The hacking group Anonymous
has struck again, this time releasing documents it said it stole from the
network of giant biotechnology and agricultural seed company Monsanto in
retribution for alleged corporate misconduct.
The hacking collective
posted information it stole last month on 2,500 Monsanto employees and
associates, the group announced July 13. Anonymous also launched a distributed
denial-of-service attack on Monsanto's international Websites, forcing the company
to shut down the sites for approximately three days.
The group claimed it spent
two months attacking the Monsanto network to access hundreds of pages of
documents that it contends reveal "Monsanto's corrupt, unethical, and downright
evil business practices."
In the process, the group
accessed three mail servers and released sensitive personal information,
including full names, addresses, phone numbers "and exactly where they
work," Anonymous wrote on text-sharing site Pastebin. The list also
included contact details for media outlets as well as other agricultural
The group also promised to
post a wiki providing all the information, including articles and emails,
"in a more centralized and stable environment," similar to what
it did with HB Gary Federal emails on the AnonLeaks site earlier this year.
"Monsanto experienced a
disruption to our Websites which appeared to be organized by a
cyber-group," said Tom Escher, the company's director of corporate
affairs, in an email to msnbc.com.
These types of activist
attacks are not limited to the private sector as government agency Websites
like the Central Intelligence Agency, private-public partnership sites
affiliated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and consulting firm Booz
Allen Hamilton have been hit recently,
Sen. John McCain (R-Airs.) wrote July 14 in a letter to the Senate
leadership. He called these kinds of attacks threats to national security.
McCain wrote, "to renew
[his] request that the Senate create a temporary Select Committee on Cyber-Security
and Electronic Intelligence Leaks." The committee could also develop a comprehensive cyber-security legislation
based on disparate proposals currently in the Senate, he said.
"I truly believe the
only way to ensure the protection of sensitive and valuable information from
tampering or dissemination by unauthorized persons is a Select Committee,"
In a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid and minority leader Mitch
McConnell, McCain requested a committee be appointed to specifically look into
the various cyber-attacks and data breaches on federal agencies and
The temporary Senate
committee was necessary to "adequately address" the growing threat
from hacking collectives, such as Anonymous and other malicious perpetrators,
as well as the risk of losing more classified documents to whistleblowers, such
as Wikileaks, McCain wrote.
It won't be an easy task to
untangle the snarl of cyber-security-related legislation and proposals
currently swirling around Washington, D.C. At least three committees have
drafted proposed bills, and at least seven committees claim some jurisdiction over
cyber-security, McCain said.
The White House has also put
forward a legislative proposal outlining the
Obama administration's cyber-security goals in May. The Department of
Energy released its own set of requirements and responsibilities for a
cyber-security program the same month.
Department of Commerce is still taking comments on its June proposal to
establish voluntary codes of behavior for the private sector to improve
cyber-security. To top it off, the Department of Defense on July 14 released its strategy on how it will operate
"With so many agencies
and the White House moving forward with cyber-security proposals, we must
provide congressional leadership on this pressing issue of national
security," McCain wrote in the letter.