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Anonymous Hacks US Think Tank Stratfor 356

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-behind-the-curtain dept.
Frankie70 writes "At 11:45 PST on Christmas Eve, hacking collective Anonymous disclosed that not only has it hacked the Stratfor website (since confirmed by Friedman himself), but has also obtained the full client list of over 4000 individuals and corporations, including their credit cards (which supposedly have been used to make $1 million in 'donations'), as well as over 200 GB of email correspondence."
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Anonymous Hacks US Think Tank Stratfor

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's a Stratfor?

    • by FairAndHateful (2522378) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:15PM (#38488646)

      What's a Stratfor?

      Making awesome rifts and solos, of course. LINK [wikipedia.org]

      • by FairAndHateful (2522378) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:16PM (#38488660)
        (facepalm) Riffs... They're called riffs... Damnit...
        • by 605dave (722736)
          Good catch. That's a pet peeve of mine. Along with using football fields as a unit of measurement.
    • by poity (465672) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @02:38PM (#38489444)

      The fact that so few people on /. know about Stratfor and the depth of insight they provide on international matters is disheartening to say the least, though I shouldn't be surprised given the deterioration of comment quality in the years. I encourage everyone on /. to join their free mailing list when they get back online (use a disposable account if you wish)

      Seriously they give far better analysis on issues than 99% of "news" websites.

      • Hang on ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dbIII (701233) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @07:36PM (#38490858)
        Isn't a "think tank" just a place to put political workers on retainer between elections with a front of being an academic institution staffed by those that no University would employ?

        Seriously they give far better analysis on issues than 99% of "news" websites.

        That's not very hard due to the lack of deadlines. The appropriate comparison would be books or papers by experts instead.
        The very idea that the same person can be a world class expert on tobacco, nuclear power, coal chemistry, global warming, social security and health insurance should ring alarm bells in the head of everyone with the minimum standard of education.

  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:17PM (#38488668) Journal

    What happens the day that someone releases the names? What happens when some poor secretary who's name is on the list gets her details released to netizens without a social conscience. I understand that Stratfor are probably 'evil' from some of their recent actions, but if this activism is attempted then I hope that just a list of names isn't considered sufficient proof by and of itself of wrongdoing.

    All I'm trying to say is that an itchy-trigger finger in obtaining information can lead to problems. I equate it to identifying downloaders by their IP, it's not sufficient proof and may be highly misleading.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      on that same note - normal "discovery" processes allow too much time and opportunity for people to cover their tracks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shark (78448)

      If Stratfor is evil enough to have an angry mob want to punish all the members on that list, I'd still blame Stratfor for endangering the employees that had nothing to do with their evil. It's pretty easy to shove the blame all one way or the other, but really, I think some falls onto each hand. Anonymous should be careful of what they release, the secretary should be careful of who she works for and Stratfor should... well, just not exist.

      • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:38PM (#38488796)

        You don't have to be evil to have an angry mob of trolls want to punish you.

      • Well good to know (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:39PM (#38488812)

        I'm glad that you've decided that "an angry mob" qualifies as sufficient proof for any kind of retaliation. If a group of people (or who knows, maybe just one person, not like you know how many were involved) decides someone or something is "evil" that is all the justification needed to do whatever.

        Seriously, what a shitty standard. You blame someone because a mob gets angry at them. Ok, so do you blame abortion doctors who get killed? After all, they have a mob of angry Christians after them, one of them angry enough to resort to killing. Guess they must be as evil as the Christians claim, since the "angry mob" standard is what you use.

        See how bad that is?

        • Re:Well good to know (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @01:11PM (#38488966) Journal

          I'm glad that you've decided that "an angry mob" qualifies as sufficient proof for any kind of retaliation. If a group of people (or who knows, maybe just one person, not like you know how many were involved) decides someone or something is "evil" that is all the justification needed to do whatever.

          White knighting the corporate world isn't going to get you very far these days.
          Many of their crimes are known and public opinion is against them.

          If our elected representatives continue to refuse to prosecute wrongdoing in the corporate world, you should expect more hacktivism.
          It's not fair, but neither is it fair what has been done to the American (and as a side effect, the rest of the world's) people.

          You blame someone because a mob gets angry at them. Ok, so do you blame abortion doctors who get killed?

          Hacking a server and killing a doctor are not the same thing.
          Nice try though.

          • Re:Well good to know (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @02:58PM (#38489580)

            It's not white knighting, it is pointing out a logical problem with the argument. The argument is that "If there's an angry mob that hates you, you must be evil." My argument is "Not necessarily, maybe the mob is just stupid." Hence the abortion doctor thing. Or are you going to try for the argument that "angry mob" judgement is ok, but only so long as it is done to a specific standard? In that case, what's the standard?

            I'm simply pointing you the stupidity as the assertion that having an angry mob mad at you means you did something "evil". I can point out a lot of people and organizations that have had angry mobs after them that I'd say did a lot of good.

            Also, perhaps you'd care to enlighten everyone as to what Stratfor has done that is so "evil". If your assessment is just that they are a corporation and corporations are evil then my only response can be that you need to grow the fuck up and learn a whole lot more about the world. If you have specifics as to what makes them "evil" and particularly evil enough to deserve being hacked and that any collateral damage is ok, well then why not share.

          • by flyingsquid (813711) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @04:00PM (#38489882)

            White knighting the corporate world isn't going to get you very far these days. Many of their crimes are known and public opinion is against them.

            You seem to feel that the Anonymous attacks against Stratfor are justified. So I have a question for you. Can you even tell us what exactly Stratfor is and just what it is that they do- without looking it up on Google or Wikipedia?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by TubeSteak (669689)

              You seem to feel that the Anonymous attacks against Stratfor are justified. So I have a question for you. Can you even tell us what exactly Stratfor is and just what it is that they do- without looking it up on Google or Wikipedia?

              Stratfor is part of the nebulous world of private intelligence and analysis.
              They exist to dig up and sell information to companies so that they can have first mover advantage over the rest of us.

              Being part of the military industrial complex is more than enough reason for them to be a target.
              I'm guessing the 200GBs that Anonymous has will end up being like the wikileaks cables -
              not particularly damaging to anyone, but incredibly illuminating to everyone.

              • by Mex (191941)

                You're pretty ignorant about this.

                Anyone can access Stratfor's content for about 100 dollars per year. And if you just subscribe to their newsletter (no money required) they send free "intelligence" reports every few days.

                It's not like only companies can receive their information, any global citizen can educate themselves if they choose to, have "First mover" advantage.

                Their analysis are usually very informative, no bias (unlike "free" news), and from my limited understanding, they tend to get a lot of thei

          • Justice is to be doled out by a disinterested third party. Proportionality and scope are key in the concept. Angry mobs tend to go overboard on both.

            Who gets to say who is right or wrong? In a republic, we all do when we vote for our representatives. We vote when we buy products a la Adam Smith's Invisible Hand economics. We vote when we consume internet media with ads or contribute money to causes.

            I don't think Anon is wrong in what it does. There is a place in the world for rebels. Just don't glori

        • by Shark (78448) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @01:32PM (#38489084)

          I don't really blame anyone. I just think the freedom to do what one wishes should be met with the responsibility of considering its implications, on all sides. My point here is that everybody has that responsibility when they exercise their liberty. Anonymous is free to do hacktivism but also have a responsibility to consider the consequences. Stratfor is free to do whatever it is they do but they have a responsibility to evaluate the consequences. And to a smaller extent, the secretary or janitor or whoever is free to accept the job offer but has the responsibility to consider just who they're working for. If I worked for a seal hunting company, I'd definitely consider the risk of getting randomly assaulted by people who get very angry at that sort of thing. If I worked as a soldier, I'd consider the risk of being insulted and blamed for fighting wars I really had no say in going to, etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bob9113 (14996)

          You blame someone because a mob gets angry at them.

          Not sure about OP, and I completely understand the validity of your post in the context of a response to his or her post.

          An angry mob (or a lone gunman) is, however, a good reason to take a closer look at the situation. Sometimes it is just an angry basement-dweller with a bad attitude, but when someone shouts fire, it is worthwhile to take a look and see if there is a fire (and to hold the shouter accountable as appropriate).

          Ok, so do you blame abortion do

      • by khallow (566160) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:57PM (#38488894)
        What happens if I drop mustard gas on them and the mob goes away? Did I just get less evil?
      • "If Stratfor is evil enough to have an angry mob want to punish all the members on that list"

        This is like the English morons who threatened a pediatrician because they didn't know the difference between "pediatrician" and "pedophile".
      • by PPH (736903)

        If Stratfor is evil enough to have an angry mob want to punish all the members on that list,

        "Angry mobs" are quite easily assembled and controlled for numerous purposes. One of Stratfor's missions is to dig down and find the organizers behind such movements. Hence the attack.

        Sure, corporations use Stratfor's intelligence to formulate strategy. But the smart ones will react to fix problems in their operations if they generate true grass roots negative opinion. That isn't necessarily evil. Its the astroturfers that might not like such a service when it exposes a few of the organizers of the mob as

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:33PM (#38488762) Journal
      Using only a list of names without any supplemental information about involvement would be pretty bad. Yeah, imagine for instance the TSA doing things like that.
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:35PM (#38488784)

        So why would it be better when some random script kiddies, who have even less oversight than the TSA, do it for their own ends? When one group does something stupid or bad it does not magically become ok if another group does it.

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I completely agree. I don't say it is right, I am saying that both sides are using similar methods and that if you are supporting one side, you can't claim it is because of the other side's methods.
        • "So why would it be better when some random script kiddies ..."

          I always love it when someone who probalby couldn't hack their way out of a wet paper bag refers to true hackers as script kiddies. I have to at least give them "props" for their technical acumen regardless of whether I believe their behavior is "right" or "wrong", which is of course a completely false dichotomy.

          • I agree. And i defer to the fact that most anon members are still free and active, despite very heavy counterforces, as evidence that they are actually powerful and underestimated. Youve really got to be pretty good if everyone is watching, corps banks and govt are doing their best to stop them, and little to nobody has yet to be stopped. If anything, ive seen more hacktivism after they were noticed.... so calling anon script kiddies is like saying the us government and most IT pros are complete idiots..

        • Cool straw man you made. obvious too.

    • A netizen with a moral conscience! Employ remoralization agents!
    • Actually, after having a look through the list, it appears that most of the clients may have subscribed to any level of geopolitical intelligence. Although some of the clients appearing most often seem to be financial institutions so possibly this is mainly analysis of investment data?
      • "Although some of the clients appearing most often seem to be financial institutions so possibly this is mainly analysis of investment data?"

        Probably political information so the financial institutions can estimate the stability of the country, likelihood of disruptions, etc. Maybe stuff like the level of involvement of the military in the economy.
    • by causality (777677) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:36PM (#38488786)

      What happens the day that someone releases the names? What happens when some poor secretary who's name is on the list gets her details released to netizens without a social conscience. I understand that Stratfor are probably 'evil' from some of their recent actions, but if this activism is attempted then I hope that just a list of names isn't considered sufficient proof by and of itself of wrongdoing.

      All I'm trying to say is that an itchy-trigger finger in obtaining information can lead to problems. I equate it to identifying downloaders by their IP, it's not sufficient proof and may be highly misleading.

      The flip side of that ... is that choosing not to work for Satan means having a lot less to fear from would-be exorcists.

      There are career paths I personally didn't take because I realized the particular industry was corrupt to its core and I wanted no part in that. An honest living that does not make the world a worse place is an integral part of a clear conscience. The kind of numb indifference it would take to not care about such things, to consider them a bother and not a responsibility, would be like a sort of living death.

      Since some of you have severe reading comprehension problems, and love to project your personal interpretation onto whatever you read, I'll spell this out for you: nowhere did I say it's perfectly OK that underlings may catch some of the fallout for decisions made by the higher-ups. What I am saying is that if they were more careful about choosing their employer they wouldn't have these concerns. When you choose to become part of something, you're part of it, for better or worse.

      The evil organizations of the world never seem to have a problem finding those who will join ranks with them. Ever notice that and wonder if that's the real problem?

      • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:44PM (#38488840) Journal
        You shouldn't get me wrong either, I don't believe that corporations should get away with 'evil'. However in life it's not always easy to recognise that you've ended up in the wrong place, and some individuals on this list probably have no idea that some people even consider this organisation evil. Any individuals named on this list shouldn't have their details released unless they are considered public personages (politicians etc), there shouldn't be a carte blanche to release all of the details without some scrutiny or at least some thought about the issues. After examination, maybe all of the names do get released and maybe they don't. Checks and balances which appear to be lacking in groups like anonymous.
      • by Solandri (704621)

        The flip side of that ... is that choosing not to work for Satan means having a lot less to fear from would-be exorcists. [...] What I am saying is that if they were more careful about choosing their employer they wouldn't have these concerns.

        The problem is that there is no absolute definition of Satan. Anonymous hackers come in as many varieties as the people/companies they hack. No matter what your beliefs, morals, or political affiliation, there is a hacker out there who disagrees with you. The only

      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:26PM (#38490282)

        The flip side of that ... is that choosing not to work for Satan means having a lot less to fear from would-be exorcists. Since some of you have severe reading comprehension problems, and love to project your personal interpretation onto whatever you read, I'll spell this out for you: nowhere did I say it's perfectly OK that underlings may catch some of the fallout for decisions made by the higher-ups. What I am saying is that if they were more careful about choosing their employer they wouldn't have these concerns. When you choose to become part of something, you're part of it, for better or worse. The evil organizations of the world never seem to have a problem finding those who will join ranks with them. Ever notice that and wonder if that's the real problem?

        I have a hard time seeing what makes Stratfor "evil". The name "Stratfor" definitely has a kind of evil overlord sound to it, but the reality is that they're a sort of boring organization. "Stratfor" means "Strategic Forecasting", which is a fancy way of saying "news analysis". They aren't doing cloak-and-dagger missions like the CIA, and they aren't doing electronic eavesdropping like the NSA, they are mostly just looking at the news reports and the economic data and trying to figure out what it all means. They try to make sure the government knows what's going on... which is important. A lot of the bad stuff in the world- 9/11 and the War on Terror, the invasion of Iraq- happens because the people in power don't really have an accurate picture what the fuck is going on, and make stupid decisions.

        Hell, look up the bio of Stratfor CEO George Friedman on Wikipedia. So who is this dude? He's not some ex-CIA spook with years of overseas experience. He's got a PhD in government and spent twenty years teaching political science. We're not talking about a stone-cold assassin who trekked through the Central American jungle to assassinate a revolutionary with Marxist tendencies. We are talking about a guy who spent two decades preparing lectures for stoned undergrads, writing books, grading papers, and dutifully showing up for really boring departmental meetings. He probably got tired of academia, had a midlife crisis, and thought intelligence analysis would be more fun. This is not a guy who would strangle you in your sleep with a length of piano wire, although he could probably bore you to death with a discussion of the strategic implications of rising crude oil prices.

        If you want to fight "evil", fine. Good luck with that. But maybe you should first get a clue and spend at least fifteen minutes on Wikipedia reading about what these supposedly "evil" organizations actually do before taking a deeply held political stand. Otherwise your'e just acting out of ignorance... and ignorant people probably do just as much damage in the world as evil people do.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      What happens the day that someone releases the names? What happens when some poor secretary who's name is on the list gets her details released to netizens without a social conscience.

      She'll be collateral damage...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Under a system of capitalism you have but one real vote, where you choose to spend your money. Investing in (or even with) evil is evil. One of the major benefits of capitalism is that it provides a mechanism to determine where the evil is coming from, and what it has done: follow the money. We must stop ignoring this benefit, and make it central to our capitalism, or see it fall to some other system.

    • If you dont like the reality of collateral damage, you should retreat to the woods and never look back. Medicare cuts cause deaths. policing the world does. war on drugs. etc etc all the way down to your local city apportions of spending... damage.

      nothing is perfect, and the moves necessary to bring about a better world will include the death of the innocent. and beyond utilitarianism, reality still has this feature.

    • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @04:09PM (#38489910) Homepage Journal
      "I understand that Stratfor are probably 'evil' from some of their recent actions" How do you figure? They're mostly an open-source (i.e. public source) intelligence analysis shop, who produce reports about geopolitical issues for customers. Stuff like "what are the odds of Jordan's government being toppled like other Middle Eastern states have been?" It's pretty much like hacking the Economist. Or Jane's. They're not a defense contractor, they're not like some kind of intelligence version of Blackwater. The "Anonymous" people in this case are just idiots.
  • Bizarre target.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sstamps (39313) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:32PM (#38488754) Homepage

    Most people will go "Stratwho?", shrug their shoulders and go back to eating their turkey sandwiches.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      It seems like a lot of slashdotters are saying that that stratfor is 'evil' or some such, but not a damn one of them can explain why.

      It would be funny of LolSec went after Anonymous because Anonymous is acting evil here.
  • For profit intel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @12:49PM (#38488856)

    200 GB of data moving off their network didn't attract attention? I guess Global Intelligence in this case is an oxymoron.
    So it's a for profit Intel company that feeds other corps so that they can better plan their financial moves around World issues, along with "other things".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratfor [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Friedman [wikipedia.org]

    Full Client list: http://pastebin.com/8MtFze0s [pastebin.com] over 20k hits

    Some clients:
    AEG Partners LLC
    FOX news
    AIG Financial Products
    American Airlines
    American Express
    Blackwater Security Consulting
    Wells Fargo Investments

    Yawn.

    • by sjames (1099)

      It's all part of the belief the corporate world has that they can be something by saying they are. No need to actually be green, socially responsible, friendly, high quality, fair and balanced, or whatever. Just crow about it endlessly in commercials and brochures.

      • Yep. And the scary thing is that at least in some cases, they apparently believe their own propaganda. When "Look how X we are" is just a cynical bid for profits, it's scummy but understandable. When the corporate culture is so warped and so insulated from reality that they actually think they're X when in fact they're almost the definition of !X, it's kind of terrifying.

        But that's okay. The invisible hand of the free market will come along to weed out such inefficiencies and reward the rational actors.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Since the invisible hand of the market was long ago bound, gagged, and tossed in the cellar, the invisible hand of social correction is starting to give it a go. Sgt. Pepper and the blue knights of the 1% are doing their best to crush it's fingers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Namely, stop fucking with people who aren't afraid to track you down and kill you over 'lulz'. :)

  • Pedantic, I know -- but in the U.S., think tanks are generally not-for-profits set up to do research and advocacy. Stratfor is a for-profit business.
  • What the hell did Stratfor do do deserve this? And why steal the CC's of a people who are interested in good quality analysis of current vents and the news behind the news? What "evil" did they do?

  • by Hartree (191324) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @04:36PM (#38490048)

    And, on the same site the hack info was posted, we have a denial that it was anonymous. Of course, since it's anonymous, there is no way to verify it. And, of course, if you have no membership, how can you say that someone isn't a part of anonymous?

    http://pastebin.com/8yrwyNkt [pastebin.com]

    So, someone says yeah we did it. Someone else says no we didn't it was other people.

    Pass the popcorn.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe

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