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Operation Antisec: Stratfor E-mail Hack
On February 27th, 2012, Wikileaks began publishing more than 5 million e-mails that were allegedly obtained by Operation Antisec-affiliated hackers from the private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor) on December 24th, 2011. Following the release of documents, Anonymous-affiliated Twitter feeds @AnonOps, @AnonyOps and @YourAnonNews posted links to the Wikileaks page along with warnings about upcoming leaks. According to the Wired article citing an anonymous source, the hackers decided to turn the information over to Wikileaks because the site was deemed more capable of analyzing and publishing the data.
WikiLeaks Releases TrapWire Documents
On August 9th, 2012, international news publication Wikileaks released a new batch of documents about a governmental surveillance program known as TrapWire, a predictive software designed by the U.S. security firms Stratfor and Abraxas Corp to detect early signs of impending terrorist plots. Due to the covert nature of its operations prior to the release of the documents, the news was quickly met by baseless speculations and sensational headlines in the blogosphere as well as mainstream news outlets.
News Media Coverage
WikiLeaks’ release of new materials obtained from Stratfor was picked up by various technology news sites and internet culture blogs that same day, beginning with English-language Russian news sites The Voice of Russia and Russia Today. The initial report was subsequently posted to the political discussion site Democratic Underground later that evening. In the following days, the “Big Brother” scare in the news media continued to spread with its coverage on Boing Boing and IO9 on August 11th, Geekosystem and Salon on August 12th and followed by The New York Times, Daily Beast, PC Magazine, Gawker and Wired on August 13th and 14th.
Cover Image of Gawker’s Post “Everything You Need to Know About TrapWire”
WikiLeaks Under DDoS Attack
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks’ server outage became noticeably more frequent shortly after the release of the e-mails, rendering the site virtually inaccessible for more than a week for many readers. Soon, it became evident that WikiLeaks had been targeted with a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, when an unknown group calling itself AntiLeaks openly claimed responsibility for the website’s downtime since as early as August 3rd.
In addition, the mysterious group of hackers also managed to bring down several mirror sites set up by Anonymous supporters of WikiLeaks. As a result of sustained DDoS attacks on the site, WikiLeaks remained largely inaccessible for more than ten days until August 15th, when the content delivery network CloudFlare provided assistance to bring it back online.
NonViolentConflict – New WikiLeaks #Trapwire release mirrors and TOR LINK
Democratic Underground – Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system
New York Times – WikiLeaks Stirs Global Fears on Antiterrorist Software
United States Patent and Trademark Office – TrapWire Pre-Attack Terrorist Detection System For Protecting Critical Infrastructure