WikiLeaks' Stratfor dump lifts lid on intelligence-industrial complex. What price bad intelligence?
Some 5m internal emails from Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based company that brands itself as a "global intelligence" provider, were recently obtained by Anonymous, the hacker collective, and are being released in batches by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website, starting Monday. The most striking revelation from the latest disclosure is not simply the military-industrial complex that conspires to spy on citizens, activists and trouble-causers, but the extremely low quality of the information available to the highest bidder. Clients of the company include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, as well as US government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Marines. Analysts working on the Middle East for the company appeared to be very poorly informed, with no more experience than a semester of studying abroad, according to journalists who have studied the documents.
George Friedman on Email Theft and the Wikileaks Release. Stratfor vs. Anonymous. Strange Bedfellows. DPS troopers at the Capitol filming Occupy Austin Photo by John Anderson On Jan. 11, George Friedman, founder and CEO of Stratfor, the Austin-based "geopolitical analysis" company, posted a report about the December "Anonymous" hack of the Stratfor website, its credit card records, and its email archives.
Several of the company's servers were also destroyed, Friedman reported, in sabotage "clearly designed to silence us by destroying our records and the website. " Friedman reports on what happened, the company's response, and its plans going forward. Of the stolen emails, he writes: "Obviously, we were not happy to see our emails taken.
On Jan. 22, a few Stratfor emails were posted and circulated on the Internet, and at least one – concerning Occupy Austin – calls into question Friedman's assurance that Stratfor possesses no "classified intelligence from corporations or governments. " The discussion itself is fairly unremarkable, even superficial. Stratfor CEO: Data wasn't encrypted, and hackers made multiple attacks. The CEO of Stratfor acknowledged Wednesday that the Austin company failed to encrypt the data that was taken by hackers last month and said the hackers actually made multiple attacks on Stratfor's servers.
Stratfor, which publishes geopolitical analysis, has said hackers took its website down on Christmas. The site has been restored with bolstered security, Stratfor CEO George Friedman said in a Wednesday interview with the American-Statesman. Friedman's comments were the company's first public admission that Stratfor's policies before the attack did not include encrypting customer data. "That was our failure," Friedman said. "As the CEO of Stratfor, I take responsibility. The hacker group Anonymous claimed credit for the attack and took credit card information belonging to thousands of customers.
Stratfor said its servers also had been damaged in the attack. By some estimates about 75,000 customers names, addresses and credit card numbers were exposed. StratFor defies Xmas hackers, goes back online. Almost a month after hackers broke into its site and leaked its data, think tank Strategic Forecasting Inc.
(Stratfor) went back online early morning Thursday (Manila time). But visitors to Stratfor's website as of 4 a.m. on Thursday were still greeted with an error message that Stratfor claimed was a "service interruption" due to "increased traffic. " "Due to the high volume of interest in our new website, we are currently encountering a service interruption. We are working with outside experts to increase our capacity to handle the increased traffic to the new website," it said as of 4 a.m.
Stratfor chief executive George Friedman, in a YouTube video lasting more than five minutes, admitted the hack was "our failure. " "This was a failure on our part. Last Christmas Day, hackers staged a cyber-attack on Stratfor, claiming to use the stolen data to make $500,000 in charitable donations to The American Red Cross and Save the Children, and other charities. Anonymous' Stratfor hack outs intelligence officials across the world. Stratfor apparently targeted again by hackers. NEW: The FBI will investigate latest instances of apparent hackingAn apparently fake e-mail is sent out, purportedly from StratforStratfor acknowledges the problem on its Facebook pageStratfor, a global intelligence company, was hacked in December (CNN) -- Hackers appear to have struck Stratfor again.
E-mail allegedly sent out by the global intelligence outfit early Friday told customers that the company "would like to hear from our loyal client base as to our handling of the recent intrusion by those deranged, sexually deviant criminal hacker terrorist masterminds. " The e-mail, which included sexual references, had multiple links. The Austin, Texas-based company responded with a statement from CEO George Friedman acknowledging "false and misleading communications that have circulated within recent days.
" "This email, and all similar ones, are false and attempt to prey on the privacy concerns of customers and friends," Friedman said.