The Internet hactivist group Anonymous is continuing their protest against the Department of Justice, this time targeting the United States Sentencing Commission, part of the government’s judicial branch.
Early Saturday morning, Anonymous (Anon) hacked into the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s (USCC) website as part of what Anon calls “Operation Last Resort”. Operation Last Resort was a companion operation to OpAngel. As reported by Digital Journal on Friday, OpAngel consisted of a series of demonstrations held in cities around the United States to protest the Department of Justices’ (DOJ) handling of the criminal case against computer activist Aaron Swartz.
In a statement issued by Anonymous, the group states:
“Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed. Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win — a twisted and distorted perversion of justice — a game where the only winning move was not to play.
Anonymous immediately convened an emergency council to discuss our response to this tragedy. After much heavy-hearted discussion, the decision was upheld to engage the United States Department of Justice and its associated executive branches in a game of a similar nature, a game in which the only winning move is not to play.”
After the website was initially hacked, visitors to the site saw nothing but the statement issued by Anon. However, according to Tech Crunch, Anon also made the USCC website editable. The group encouraged visitors to upload photos of any changes they made to various social media and hacking websites using the hashtag #USSC.
At some point during Saturday, the website had been edited and visitors saw this image:
Anonymous hacks into USCC website.
Anon claims to have also distributed encrypted government files obtained from the USCC database, stating they will provide decryption keys as soon as they become available.
Anonymous' statement also mentions "multiple warheads" on "compromised systems". At the bottom of the announcement, there are nine file links, each containing the last name of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, followed by the term “Warhead 1”. Mashable asks whether the file links have anything to do with the recent "Red October" series of security breaches. Anonymous provides no answer to the question however, instead only saying:
“The contents are various and we won't ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file.”
Anonymous hacks USCC website
As of 4:00 p.m. CST, the USCC website has been shut down.
There has been no official comment from the USCC or any other U.S. government agency regarding the incident.