Hacker collective Anonymous claims to have the personal details of over 25,000 members of the Mexican Army following a series of attacks on Mexico’s security bodies last week, pointing to the vulnerability of government institutions to high-level security breaches.
The hacker collective claimed on Twitter to have retrieved the identity number, email, phone number and job specialization of 25,758 army members after hacking Mexico's Secretary of Defense (SEDENA) website. The announcement comes on the heels of cyber attacks launched by Anonymous last week on various national security and defense websites, in which the organization claimed to have caused a shutdown of the SEDENA website and stolen information contained on the server.
"Ohai Sedena, you should feel excited to know about the thousands of military registries that we took from your websites #AntiSec," said a message on Anonymous' Mexican Twitter account, @AnonymousMexi, on January 20.
The organization also claimed to have in its possession a database with the personal information of 77,849 retired members of the military.
InSight Crime Analysis
The information theft has not been confirmed by SEDENA or the Mexican government, but if accurate would serve to underscore the vulnerability of government institutions to Internet attacks and penetration.
Groups operating under the name "Anonymous," a "hacktivist" collective that functions with no official leadership, have targeted SEDENA before, temporarily blocking its website in September 2011. There have been Anonymous attacks elsewhere in Latin America in recent years, including the hacking of Colombia’s Senate website in May 2011.
While Anonymous has a political bent, other groups may also exploit these holes for different, more sinister purposes. Criminal groups in Mexico regularly target security officials and personnel in response to operations against them, making a database of names and assignments extremely valuable for these criminal organizations.
These criminal groups could also sabotage legal cases against them and may already be doing so. The Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office recently discovered a spy virus on computers that contain information of an ongoing investigation involving the ex-director of the National Narcotics Division (DNE), El Colombiano reported.