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What's up with the Anonymous hackfest?

Ellen Messmer and Brandon Butler | Nov. 6, 2012
Hackers apparently linked to the hactivist group Anonymous today kept up a hacking spree to dump data they said they stole from Symantec, VMware, PayPal, Hyundai, and the U.S. Department of Energy and Transportation, among others.

Hackers apparently linked to the hactivist group Anonymous today kept up a hacking spree to dump data they said they stole from Symantec, VMware, PayPal, Hyundai, and the U.S. Department of Energy and Transportation, among others.

Symantec says it's still "investigating the recent claims made online regarding the security of our networks," and adds that it has found "no evidence that customer information was exposed or impacted," and "will continue to monitor the situation and aggressively investigate these and any related claims." But at least one other security vendor that's looked at the data dumped online says it does seem to be Symantec employee names and password hashes.

"This link shows, with a high degree of confidence, that the attackers were able to penetrate to an internal database of Symantec," said Tal Beery, security researcher at security firm Imperva. "Most likely, the Symantec support content management system database. They had published the contents of one database, which included e-mail addresses, hashed passwords and some phone numbers of Symantec employees."

The hackers included a message directed at Alexander Trinkis, integration manager at Symantec, that reads, "Saved by your WAF [Web application firewall]? You wish. All the other major AV [antivirus] corps are owned, too, you just pissed us off the most. Oh, and if you think we're listing everything here, take the blue pill. Oh, and nice JBoss on VeriSign, by the way. We've always been entertained by Symantec partnerships. (especially Huawei)."

The ongoing hacker spree, also said to include a data spill of some additional amount of source code related to VMware ESX that dates back to 2004, is apparently being carried out in celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, a holiday in the United Kingdom that for years has been invoked as a symbol by Anonymous. Yesterday, in the apparent ramp-up to all, the hackers claimed hits to deface websites, including those related to NBC, a Lady Gaga fan site and several Australian websites.

The hactivists also claimed to have hit PayPal, the e-commerce payments provider which is a subsidiary of eBay, but PayPal maintains it sees no evidence of that.

"Security of our customers' data is the top priority at PayPal. We're aggressively investigating this but to date we have been unable to find any evidence that validates this claim," a PayPal spokesperson said.

In a blog post on Sunday, VMware said it became aware of ESX source code that had been published online, which it says dated back to 2004 and is related to source code that had been leaked in April.

The leak was officially announced on Twitter by user STUN, who links Anonymous to the breach when announcing the leak.

 

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