The government just can’t seem to sneak around hacker group Anonymous no matter what it does. Anonymous has managed to eavesdrop on a FBI conference call concerning strategies to arrest members of the famous hacking collective.
On January 17, an FBI agent from the Los Angeles FBI office and a Scotland Yard investigator engaged in a conference phone call regarding new ways to arrest members of Anonymous. Invitations to the conference call were sent out to law enforcement authorities all over the world in an email. As they chatted and joked while discussing specifics, the two investigators, named Stewart and Bruce, had no idea that the group they were talking about was listening in on that very conversation.
Last Friday, Anonymous posted a 17-minute clip of the conference call as well as the email sent by an FBI agent to other agents around the world, which contained a phone number and password for obtaining the conference call.
“The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now,” said AnonymousIRC, a Twitter account connected to Anonymous.
The call between the two investigators detailed plans for setting back arrests regarding suspects linked to Anonymous known online as Kayla and Tflow. The real names of these online suspects were mentioned in the conversation, but Anonymous bleeped them out. The investigators also talked about Jake Davis and Ryan Cleary, two other suspects linked to Anonymous.
“We’ve set back the further arrests of Kayla and Tflow, that being [redacted] and [redacted], until we know what’s happening,” said the U.K. investigator. “We’ve got our prosecution counsel making an application in chambers, without defense knowing, to seek a way to try and factor some time in that won’t look suspicious.”
The FBI agent then asked how much time is considered reasonable, and the U.K. investigator replied with eight weeks.
“I’ve gone and said eight weeks, if they come back and say they’ll only give us six weeks I think it still helps you guys out,” said the U.K. investigator. “We have got Ryan Cleary’s indecent images, which have been found partly by our guys and partly by the USAF team who looked at his hard drive. So what we’re going to propose is that they get dealt with first, historically they’re the older offenses, and then that would take six to eight weeks before we then rolled onto the second half of that. But it’s down to the trial judge.”
The investigators also discussed a 15-year-old suspect who is known as Tehwongz online, and was arrested for a DDoS attack on his high school as well as allegedly attacking a Manchester-based credit union’s website.
According to the FBI, no FBI systems were breached during the eavesdropping of this conference call, but an anonymous law enforcement official added that the message could have been intercepted from the private email account of one of the invited parties, since there were dozens.
“A law enforcement agency using unencrypted, unsecure communications is a major fumble,” said Marcus Carey, who now works for security-risk assessment firm Rapid7, but used to secure communications for the U.S. National Security Agency. “What if this event was talking about some terrorist plot to blow up something and ‘they’ were listening in? It could’ve been much worse if it was related to an al-Qaida plot or something…so this is a lesson learned.”
Anonymous has been responsible for several hacks over the past year alone, such as California’s San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, the U.S. Department of Justice’s homepage, and intelligence company Stratfor.
The following is the clip Anonymous posted:
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