Anonymous still accessing, downloading NATO data

In an interview published today, a person claiming to belong to the "hactivist" group Anonymous tells CBS News that the organization plans to release all the data it has on NATO.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is still under attack, a person claiming to be a member of Anonymous told CBS News in an interview published today.

According to the alleged member, who uses the name "Commander X," the "hacktivist" group still has access to NATO servers and is currently "downloading databases." What's more, the person said that the group plans to release all the documents it has collected, even though a Twitter account related to the organization says such a release would be "irresponsible."

"Anonymous ALWAYS releases EVERYTHING we take...eventually," Commander X wrote in an e-mail to CBS News, which is owned by CBS, the same company that owns CNET. "But with these big classified dumps we like to take our time analyzing exactly what it is we have. That way we can do the disclosures in such a way as to maximize the political impact of the release."

Anonymous has been quite outspoken about its issues with NATO. Last month, the group issued a response to NATO condemning its past actions, warning that the hacktivist organization can never be stopped.

"Finally, do not make the mistake of challenging Anonymous," Anonymous wrote in its message. "Do not make the mistake of believing you can behead a headless snake. If you slice off one head of Hydra, ten more heads will grow in its place. If you cut down one Anon, ten more will join us purely out of anger at your trampling of dissent."

Yesterday, @AnonymousIRC, a Twitter account related to the organization, reported that Anonymous had breached NATO's cyberdefenses and stole data.

"We are sitting on about one Gigabyte of data from NATO now, most of which we cannot publish as it would be irresponsible. But Oh NATO...." @AnonymousIRC said.

In addition to announcing the breach, Anonymous also offered up "proof" that it has, in fact, accessed NATO servers, by releasing two "restricted" NATO files. Though a full release of documents could be embarrassing for NATO, it's worth noting that "restricted" is the organization's lowest security-level classification.

But that doesn't mean more important documents won't be discovered soon by Anonymous. According to Commander X, Anonymous is working around the clock to continue to exploit NATO's defenses.

"It is important to understand that Op NATO and many of our other Operations are manned by a global force and ongoing 24/7," Commander X told CBS News. "If the Op is active, it never ceases because there is always someone in the world awake and at least monitoring the chan and news feeds. All the media and the world see is when we release something, but the effort to do these Ops is relentless and continuous."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation this week arrested 16 people on charges related to hacking. In response, members of both Anonymous and LulzSec said that the arrests won't do anything to stop the groups from continuing on with their agenda.

"We are not scared any more. Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea," the group wrote on Pastebin. "Any attempt to do so will make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir. It is our mission to help these people and there is nothing--absolutely nothing--you can possibly to do make us stop."

NATO did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.