The rascals over at Anonymous are still pretty upset over the recent revelations about the NSA spying on seemingly everyone so they're acting out in the only way they know how: hacking. Specifically, releasing the supposed email accounts—and passwords—of seemingly everybody on Capitol Hill.
On Monday night, the affiliate account @AnonLastResort tweeted a link to a document 2,000 email addresses long. The vast majority of them come from the House of Representatives, though there are some gems in there from the U.S. Attorney General's office, the Senate and even New York's comptroller. Now, these addresses being leaked normally wouldn't be a big deal, except that Anonymous included the passwords as well. In the leak, the hackers say they've omitted some of the passwords and shuffled the others so that they don't show up right next to the email address they unlock. But it's not that hard to figure out what goes where if you really want to break into your congressman's email history. Of course, this is all assuming that Anonymous's information is actually real. They've been known to cry wolf in the past… (UPDATE: According to a system administrator in the Senate, these likely aren't the real passwords as they don't match Congress's rather strict parameters. They could, however, be associated with accounts that staffers use to email constituents.)
Along those lines, it's unclear how this hack matters. Stealing user data, including passwords, is old hat for Anonymous, though it's hard to point to one instance in which they really wreaked havoc by exposing a bunch of passwords. The time the hacktivist collective published the names and email addresses of over 6,000 law enforcement officers in Arizona, for instance, didn't lead to any earth-shaking revelations about injustice or dishonor or any of the other things Anonymous is constantly trying to expose. Ditto for Anonymous's leaking the email and passwords of over a hundred BART officers and 1,000 cops in the Northeast. That's just scratching the surface of Anonymous's history of doing stuff like this.
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As The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield points out, one worthwhile takeaway is how hilariously bad congressional employees are at picking passwords. The list includes such creative passwords as "Congress" and such partisan ones as "Republican" and "Democrat." Then there are the straight up stupid ones like "password" which, unfortunately for mankind, also happens to be the most popular password on the internet. Personally, I like the very hopeful "Senate2012!" password that likely belongs to someone in the lower house. It's good to see that government employees can still dream. [The Atlantic Wire]
Image via AP