Hackers target Oakland police after Occupy protest

Personal information about officers like contact info and schedules is posted to public Pastebin page after police actions to quell crowd appear to result in injury of war veteran. Hacker offers reward for information on the incident.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
3 min read
A visibly stunned protester with a head wound is shown in a video being carried to safety after an officer tossed a flash grenade people offering him aid during protests in Oakland this week.
A visibly stunned protester with a head wound is shown in a video being carried to safety after an officer tossed a flash grenade people offering him aid during protests in Oakland this week.

As Occupy Wall Street protesters continued to rally in Oakland, Calif., hackers today targeted the Web site for the city's police department and offered a $1,000 reward for information on police action that appears to have left a protester injured.

Contact information, schedules, badge numbers, and other information about Oakland Police Department officers was posted to a public Pastebin page. Meanwhile, the department's Web site also was down temporarily this morning, according to SC Magazine.

"The time has come to retaliate against Oakland police via all non-violent means, beginning with doxing (releasing of documents and data) of individual officers and particularly higher-ups involved in the department's conduct of late," a statement on the Pastebin page said.

Asked for comment, Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Johnna Watson told CNET that the department was looking into the matter.

A peaceful demonstration in downtown Oakland turned violent on Tuesday night when Oakland police fired rubber bullets and threw flash grenades into the crowd. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former Marine and antiwar activist, was knocked to the ground after an officer threw something that hit him in the head. As other protesters flocked to help him, an officer can be seen in this video tossing what appeared to be a flash grenade into the group, followed by a loud bang and smoke.

It remained unclear exactly what happened and who was involved. Watson said there were no updates.

"It is still under investigation and we have multiple agencies on board with the investigation, including internal affairs," she said. "We want this to be an open investigation."

Olsen's condition had been upgraded to fair from serious this morning, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Hospital representatives could not be reached for comment by CNET.

"A protester who did two tours in Iraq is in critical condition with fractured skull and brain injury after a cop shot him in the head with a "non-lethal" weapon," the Pastebin statement said. "A crowd of protesters were deliberately hit with a flashbang while rendering first aid to an injured protester."

"I'm offering a $1,000 reward, no questions asked, for the name of the officer who threw a flashbang at the injured Iraqi vet," the statement added. It included links to other Pastebin pages with Oakland police phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other information.

The videos and photos of protesters being arrested, hit with batons, rubber bullets and tear gas, have provoked public outrage and prompted protesters to call for a general strike on November 2 as part of the Occupy Oakland actions. The police response to the protests also has galvanized hackers whose support for the cause have prompted the label "hacktivists."

Hackers have targeted their actions against a handful of bankers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and a New York police officer who was videotaped spraying pepper spray into protesters' faces. And they are threatening to take down the Web site of Fox News over its coverage of the protests.

The Occupy Wall Street campaign, which began in New York on September 17 to protest social and economic inequality and corporate greed, has spread to numerous cities in the U.S. and other countries. It was modeled on the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East in its heavy use of social media and tactic of occupying public spaces.