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'Anonymous' Follows Hacking Of FBI-Scotland Yard Phone Call With Attacks

The Greek Ministry of Justice website after it was hacked earlier today.
Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP/Getty Images
The Greek Ministry of Justice website after it was hacked earlier today.

A day that began with the Anonymous hackers posting a nearly 17-minute recording of a conference call between officials of the FBI and Scotland Yard has been followed with some tweeted taunting of law enforcement and the news media, and the hacking of websites for the Greek Ministry of Justice, Boston Police Department and lawyers who defended a U.S. Marine at the center of the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

Anonymous hackers say on Twitter that the release of the audio tape is part of an "#FFF" campaign today (the first F stands for a common obscenity; the second F stands for FBI; the third is for Friday).

On the recording, as The Associated Press writes, FBI and Scotland Yard officials discuss "a strategy aimed at bringing down the hacking collective known as Anonymous, which has launched a series of embarrassing attacks across the Internet." It appears Anonymous got hold of the call's dial-in information, including the pass code.

The Guardian says "the conference call reveals that two other individuals are to be arrested in the future. It makes clear that the investigation is complex, stretching across international boundaries and focusing on teenage hackers in many different cases."

Anonymous has posted this taunt about the audio file: "The #FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now. #OpInfiltration."

As The New York Times puts it, "the breach, clearly an embarrassment for investigators, is the latest chapter in a continuing war of words and contest of technology between hacking groups and their perceived opponents in law enforcement and the corporate world."

Anonymous has also tweaked the news media, telling Reuters "congratulations, your article on todays leaked call is the worst so far. Get your facts straight or don't report at all." That story makes the case that "details in leaked FBI call [such as the identities of some suspected hackers] could prove uncomfortable for Anonymous."

The hackings aimed at the Greek Justice Ministry and the newspage of the Boston Police Department's website appear to have knocked them offline as of this hour.

Also taken over:the website of the Puckett & Faraj law firm, which represented Marine Sgt. Frank Wuterich during his trial related to the 2005 killings in Haditha, Iraq. He pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, but will serve no jail time thanks to a plea deal.

Update at 4:31 p.m. ET. The FBI Responds:

The FBI tells The New York Times that Anonymous did not hack into the phone conference. Instead it intercepted an email with the date, time, phone number and pin number needed to be on the conference call. An official forwarded that email to a personal account where it was intercepted by Anonymous. The Times reports:

"'It's not really that sophisticated,' said the official, who would discuss the episode only on condition of anonymity. He said no Federal Bureau of Investigation system was compromised but noted that communications security was more challenging when agencies in multiple countries were involved.

"'We're always looking at ways to make our communications more secure, and obviously we'll be taking a look at what happened here,' he said."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.