Hacktivism Hits Arizona DPS
Hackers broke into a portion of Arizona’s Department of Public Safety’s network this past week, accessing emails and attachments from eight different officers. The group who has claimed responsibility says they hacked the files in protest of the state’s immigration law and that they will continue to release documents gained through their techniques in coming days. The Department is seeing this as a learning opportunity and a chance to strengthen their network.
Lulz Security, also called LulzSec, is a hacking group that’s claimed responsibility for the hack, as well as breaching Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, and two Brazilian government websites. Investigators say tracking down the group will be difficult as their hacking skills have made it virtually impossible to trace them.
The emails that were hacked into belonged to eight different officers who worked in rural areas. DPS says these eight had not moved to a more updated email system, one that requires more complex passwords and frequent password resets. Obviously, they will soon be updated.
LulzSec has released some of the documents they obtained including emails, personal details about some officers, and other attachment documents.
“Hactivism” is a term used to describe hacking for political interest, as it seems this latest DPS hack was. Some hack, or break into secure computer networks, for profit or fun, but hactivism is committed to bring attention to something the hackers don’t feel is just within society. Encouraging each other online and giving out information via social networks, these hackers hope to give government agencies a major headache and possibly some embarrassment.
The LulzSec group broke both federal and Arizona state laws with their most recent attack. In Arizona the offense amounts to a Class 2 felony and carries 12.5 years in prison. Federally, it could bring 1 to 10 years. And while this seems appropriate, some are saying the latest hack could lead to lawmakers introducing harsher penalties for such offenses.
As is common when there is any high profile criminal offense, lawmakers jump in to promise tougher sanctions and protection of the public. While giving DPS some added finances to secure its aging system might not be a bad move, the House Speaker has already hinted at increasing penalties for hacking under state law.
The documents released thus far from the LulsSec cyber-attack are said to not be too sensitive. Because the group is only believed to have accessed the emails of these eight officers, the DPS says it is confident the larger servers were not compromised.
Whether you are accused of hacking or even computer fraud, a criminal defense attorney is your advocate within the system. Contact our offices today if you are facing criminal charges like these.