LulzSec, the hacker collective who recently claimed responsibility for attacks against Sony and PBS, hacked networks belonging to the Atlanta chapter of InfraGard and defaced the organization's website, as well as exposing the group's email database.
LulzSec's defacement included taunting messages and the posting of a video clip, and gave indications that the attack was in retaliation for the Obama administration's recent assertion that cyber-based attacks can be construed as an act of war in certain circumstances.
InfraGard is a public/private cooperative that operates under the guidance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
"InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories."
LulzSec was able to compromise the usernames and passwords of the Atlanta InfraGard members, and used the information to access other non-related systems where careless account holders re-used their login credentials - a security 101 no-no.
In particular, LulzSec has chosen to make an example of Karim Hijazi who manages a whitehat hacking organization called Univeillance. LulzSec targeted Hijazi and his group for allegedly providing intelligence to the Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI) regarding vulnerabilities in the Libyan cyber infrastructure, according to a report by The Tech Herald.
Univeillance issued the following statement claiming LulzSec made attempts to extort money from the company:
"Over the last two weeks, my company, Unveillance, has been the target of a sophisticated group of hackers now identified as "LulzSec". During this two week period, I was personally contacted by several members of this group who made threats against me and my company to try to obtain money as well as to force me into revealing sensitive data about my botnet intelligence that would have put many other businesses, government agencies and individuals at risk of massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks."
"In spite of these threats, I refused to pay off LulzSec or to supply them with access to this sensitive botnet information. Had we agreed to provide this data to them, LulzSec would have been able to grow the size and scope of their DDoS attack and fraud capabilities."
LulzSec issued a statement of their own saying the group is seeking to expose lax security practices and has no interest in extorting funds:
Greetings morons. We're writing in response to your recent press statement, which, while blatantly trying to hide your incompetence, attempts to paint an ill-conceived picture on The Lulz Boat.
"To clarify, we were never going to extort anything from you. We were simply going to pressure you into a position where you could be willing to give us money for our silence, and then expose you publicly."
"Ironically, despite the fact that you A) claimed that you wouldn't do something like that, and B) foolishly got outsmarted yet again, we'd like to point out something that you did do: attempt to cooperate with mystery hackers in order to radically, and illegally, boost your company from the ground. Karim, founder of Unveillance, attempted from the start to work with us for his own gain, and he even offered us payment for certain 'tasks'."
"These tasks, hardly subtle at this point, were those of a malicious nature; destroying Karim's competitors through insider info and holes Karim would supply us. Karim also wanted us to help track "enemy" botnets and "enemy" botnet trackers. All in return for our silence and mutual gain."
Whether or not LulzSec was actually attempting to extort funds, or was using the issue as a cover for their intended operations is subject to opinion, and the chat logs can be seen HERE.
Last week the LulzSec collective claimed to have hacked Sony Pictures, Sony Entertainment, Sony BMG and compromised sensitive data for over one million customers, as well as gaining access to admin passwords, music "codes" and "coupons".
LulzSec also gained unauthorized access to the online networks belonging to Public Broadcasting System in protest of a Frontline documentary examining the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks and accused federal document leaker Bradley Manning.