Anonymous shuts US Justice site, threatens to leak data
Posted on 28 Jan 2013 at 09:50
Hackers sympathetic to the late computer prodigy Aaron Swartz claimed to have infiltrated the website of the US Justice Department's Sentencing Commission, and said they planned to release government data.
The Sentencing Commission site, www.ussc.gov, was shut down early Saturday and remains offline.
Identifying themselves as Anonymous, the hackers voiced outrage over Swartz' suicide on 11 January.
In a video posted online, the hackers criticised the government's prosecution of Swartz, who had been facing trial on charges that he used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer networks to download more than four million articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution service.
Swartz had faced a maximum sentence of 31 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
"The federal sentencing guidelines... enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers [and] are a clear violation of the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments," the video statement said, according to the BBC. The hackers claimed to have taken data, and where threatening to release it.
The FBI is investigating the attack, according to Richard McFeely, of the bureau's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.
"We were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation," McFeely said in an emailed statement. "We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person's or government agency's network."
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