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NATO investigating possible data breach

Incident with NATO's e-Bookstore occurs after the global organization clashed publicly with online group Anonymous over the rising threat of "hacktivism."

Police are investigating a possible data breach at a NATO-related Web site.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said the "probable data breach" involved NATO's e-Bookshop, a service for releasing documents to the public that's operated by an external company. The site does not contain classified documents, NATO said in a statement Thursday, adding that the site has now been blocked and subscribers have been notified.

It's unknown whether the attack is related to NATO's recent clash with the online group Anonymous after the global organization warned member nations about the rising threat of "hacktivism," or carrying out cyberattacks for political purposes.

The report, issued last month by Lord Joplin, general rapporteur of NATO, described several of the group's most recent actions, including the distributed denial-of-service attacks against MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Amazon, and others that had cut off services for WikiLeaks. NATO's report also provided a larger look into the growing danger of cyberattacks and how governments should respond to them.

Anonymous claimed the NATO report singled it out as a threat to "government and the people" and defended some of its recent actions in the name of freedom and dissent. It also asserted that NATO fears the group not because it's a "threat to society," but because it's a "threat to the established hierarchy."

Update at 3:40 p.m.: Forbes is reporting that the names, usernames, and passwords of 12,000 registered users of NATO's online book shop were among the the files LulzSec uploaded to The Pirate Bay yesterday as part of its farewell release.