Anonymous hackers have broken into and stolen data from servers belonging to the U.S. Census Bureau, dumping the contents of the database online. The Census Bureau collects information on the American population every 10 years, however leaked data does not contain any personal citizen census records.
The database published online by hackers includes usernames, .gov email addresses and office phone numbers of the organization’s some 4,200 employees. Released data also includes the departments staffers work in, internal IP addresses and the names of site administrators.
A large portion of the data leaked online was made publicly available through the site prior to the U.S. Census Bureau hack. However, the database did contain usernames and MD5 hashed passwords.
Anonymous hackers said the motive behind the attack was to protest against controversial trade agreements made in regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the U.S. and other nations are currently negotiating. The trade agreement could essentially ruin the Internet for how we know it.
A Twitter account affiliated with Anonymous made their motive known through a large leak of data:
#Anonymous Hacks Subsite http://t.co/Tjkr1BajCE and Leaks US Officials Infos TTIP TPP http://t.co/B6cvEbDzSw pic.twitter.com/by8aX35rdn
— Anonymous Operations (@AnonOpsSE) July 22, 2015
The recent security breach at the U.S. Census Bureau is embarrassing more than anything, and certainly not on the same magnitude as the devastating OPM breach which left 21.5 million affected. Hackers continue to make a mockery of the federal governments security, breaking into databases, stealing highly sensitive information and leaking it online for everyone to see.
Michael Cook, a Census Bureau spokesperson told the Register Thursday, that the organization’s internal systems were not affected by the intrusion and that the compromised servers have been properly dealt with.
“The US Census Bureau is investigating an IT security incident relating to unauthorized access to non-confidential information on an external system that is not part of the Census Bureau internal network. Access to the external system has been restricted while our IT forensics team investigates.
“Security and data stewardship are integral to the Census Bureau mission. We will remain vigilant in continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect all information.”
According to those who have combed through the leaked Census data, Anonymous was able to breach machines running the Windows operating system and software written in ASP.NET that were found connected to an Oracle database.