Last month the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested people alleged to be involved with hactivist collective Anonymous, and now the collective has responded the way it knows best: by hacking into some 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the United States, the AP reports, and then releasing the data. According to Gizmodo, hackers with ties to the AntiSec movement released 10 gigs of sensitive data, in what it describes as a "brazen show of solidarity with Anonymous' cause and retribution against an oppressive police system." The Los Angeles Times reports that AntiSec called this cyber attack 'ShootingSheriffsSaturday.'"

Anonymous said in a statement on the website PasteBin that it was leaking "a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to embarass [sic], discredit and incriminate police officers across the US." So far, reports are that the data included "emails stolen from officers, tips which appeared to come from members of the public, credit card numbers and other sensitive information." This includes:

  • Pictures of teenage girls in their swimsuits, which Gassville, Ark. police chief Tim Mayfield said were related to an ongoing investigation, that he declined to discuss further.
  • Five credit card numbers Anonymous said were used to make "involuntary donations."
  • Addresses, passwords, and social security numbers of more than 300 officers. Those contacted by the AP said they did not know whether their financial information had been compromised

Anonymous said that the most recent attack was revenge, in light of the recent arrest of LulzSec's Topiary and in solidarity with the Anonymous protest against Paypal. It added that the attack was also on behalf of "all other political prisoners who are facing the gun of the crooked court system." But how reckless is sending this message? That seems to be irrelevant for the hackers, who said in their statement: "We have no sympathy for any of the officers or informants who may be endangered by the release of their personal information. For too long they have been using and abusing our personal information, spying on us, arresting us, beating us, and thinking that they can get away with oppressing us in secrecy. Well it's retribution time..."

There are currently no reports of arrests or major disruptions based on the information released. But at Gizmodo, Kwame Opam comments that, "It's clear that these groups won't rest until every source of legal authority is brought down by the lulz."