The shadow hacker organization responsible allegedly responsible for cyber attacks like the GoDaddy outage last September made an alarming, symbolic move on the U.S. government on Friday.
The site was successfully hacked late on Friday by Anonymous, who replaced the site's home page at www.ussc.gov with a defaced version of the page with a warning, and access to several encrypted files.
In response, the U.S. government apparently disabled the DNS entry directing traffic, though direct IP access to the site remained live until Sentencing Commission was able to retake control of the site today.
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According to the message from Anonymous, it launched the attack as an initial step in "Operation Last Resort", a blackmail bid to force judicial reform sparked by the recent suicide of the Anonymous-sympathetic Aaron Swartz, which has been blamed on government "persecution".
"Fissile material for multiple warheads"
Anonymous' missive characterized the information leaked by the hack as a dormant bomb that the organization hopes "never need be detonated".
The encrypted files, initially available via two mirrors, are 100Mb+ files named after the Supreme Court justices, which contain "secrets" that Anonymous intentionally didn't elaborate.
However, the files are encrypted and thus useless with decryption keys, which Anonymous is currently using as its bargaining chip in the attempt to coerce "the justice system, the government, and law enforcement" to reform speech laws with loose translations.
Negotiation, the group's message states, is not the endgame here. Rather, it demands that the "chorus [of legitimate voices for reform] is not ignored."
Most alarming is Anonymous' claim that it controls several other government assets, and is just waiting for the wrong move from the U.S. government to exercise that control.