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NATO allegedly hacked by Anonymous, illustrating susceptibility of high profile organizations

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, July 21, 2011

The vulnerability of cyber security networks at major companies and power providers has become a hot button topic among politicians through the first half of this year with the proliferation of hacking groups like Anonymous and LulzSec. According to a published report, the former recently announced it had infiltrated one of the world's foremost military organizations.

Fox News reports that Anonymous hackers claimed to have breached the cyber security protections at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), shocking public officials. NATO, which is for the most part dominated by the U.S. military, is investigating the claims, according to the news provider.

On Thursday morning, Anonymous posted on its Twitter feed that it NATO's cyber security protocols had been breached. In a message the group wrote:

"Yes #NATO was breached. And we have lots of restricted material. With some simple injection. In the next days, wait for interesting data."

Anonymous has made similar claims about other high-profile organizations in the past. Still, this breach is worrying public officials as NATO's computer network holds sensitive data related to strategic military operations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya.

NATO officials have thus far acknowledged that its cyber security professionals are investigating the alleged infiltration, but they have refused to comment as to what kinds of sensitive information - if any - was actually stolen.

"NATO is aware that hacker group released what it claims to be NATO classified documents on the internet," a NATO spokesman affirmed. "NATO security experts are investigating these claims. We strongly condemn any leak of classified documents which could potentially endanger the security of NATO allies, armed forces and citizens."

Anonymous hackers claimed they had successfully stolen about 1 gigabyte of data from NATO, which is a substantial amount of information. The group published a link to a PDF file that reportedly contains the hacked information.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the claims and officials from the agency said they have arrested a number of individuals over the past few weeks who are believed to be involved with the group.

According to the Washington Post, the FBI arrested 14 suspected members this week suspected in a cyber security hacking attack on PayPal that was executed earlier in the year.

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