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article imageHackers post private data of America's largest police union

By Megan Hamilton     Jan 30, 2016 in Internet
Personal online files from the largest police union in the U.S. were leaked online Thursday after a hacker breached the website of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
The personal information includes officers' names and addresses, forum posts criticizing President Obama, and questionable contracts made between the FOP and city authorities, BoingBoing reports.
The FOP is the nation's largest police union, representing more than 325,000 law enforcement officers.
The union said 2.5GB of data was taken from its server and then dumped online and widely shared on the social media, The Guardian reports.
The hacker claims a total of 18 terabytes (TB) of information was stolen, but only a small portion has been released because much of the information is either "classified or sensitive," RT.com reports.
Chuck Canterbury, national president of the FOP, said the office of the assistant attorney general in charge of cyber crime has been contacted, and "officials from FBI field offices have already made contact with our staff."
The Guardian reported that the FBI didn't respond to a request for confirmation that it was investigating.
The breach apparently originated overseas, NBC News reports.
In a Facebook post, Canterbury said computer experts had identified how the hackers accessed the computers but that the information couldn't be distributed at this time "for obvious reasons." The level of sophistication involved in the breach was very high, he noted.
The person who reportedly posted the information is a citizen of the U.K. who goes by Cthulhu. An even larger trove of hacked data containing FOP material that is either classified or sensitive has not been made public yet, the poster said, adding that the data was acquired from a source who wants to remain anonymous.
"I was told it should be released on the grounds the information is within the scope of public interest, in light of an ever increasing divide between the police groups and the citizens of the U.S.," Cthulhu wrote.
While Canterbury said he was confident that no sensitive personal or financial details were obtained, the union is taking steps to notify members since some names and addresses were taken, The Guardian reports.
Excerpts from the union's members-only online forum were also leaked, and this includes some threads in which officers vented anger at Obama, supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor, and "illegals" in the U.S. without documentation.
Canterbury faults "anti-police rhetoric" for the hack, but then went on to say there's no way the hacker could have acquired 18 TB of police information because the FOP doesn't have that much data.
In his Facebook post, Canterbury implicated the hacker collective Anonymous for the breach, RT.com reports.
In a Twitter account, Anonymous denied involvement in the hack.
The person posting on the Cthulhu blog wrote that the data shouldn't be used to attack the police. Instead, it should be used to keep them accountable.
"The information should not be used to attack the police; it should be used to help them address their problems and correct them. A society cannot be at peace when the citizens and the enforcers of law are at war," the poster wrote.
The FOP website was still offline on Friday.
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