The division of Italian national police responsible for protecting the country's IT infrastructure has been sidelined with irony poisoning following a data breach that allowed members of the hactivist group Anonymous post 8 GB of confidential data about the unit.
In the release announcing it had posted the documents, Anonymous described the source of the information as "a source" rather than by saying Anonymous members had cracked the servers themselves.
In its announcement of the attack, Anonymous described the Italian CNAIPIC (National Computer Crime Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection) as a "corrupted organization" that seized computers and property from computer users without regard to guilt, and used it "over many years to conduct illegal operations with foreign intelligence agencies."
The announcement described 8GB of CNAIPIC files as a "Pandora box" of incriminating information on the police unit in the hope of sparking a “regreaissance” of the power and capabilities of the cyber-security units of the European Union.
The "Load of stuff" in the file, according to Anonymous' description, includes evidence from investigations of hackers throughout Europe, descriptions of the organization of CNAIPIC itself and confidential information on Exxon Mobile, a range of other U.S. companies and government agencies, and data on government agencies from Egypt, Australia, Russia, the Ukraine, Nepal, Belarus, Gibraltar, and Vietnam.
The data spill is apparently retaliation for the arrest of 32 hackers July 5, only three of whom were charged with a crime.
Anonymous also raided GIS Austria, the government agency that collects taxes used to support TV networks.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, four suspected members of Anonymous were released by police after – according to police – making full statements confessing their hacking activities in detail and cooperating with ongoing investigations.
The arrests were part of a larger sweep that included FBI raids that netted 16 in the U.S. suspected of participating in the hack on PayPal earlier this year in retaliation for dropping its support of WikiLeaks.
The arrests and ongoing investigations by what seems like half the world's cybercops are clearly having an impact on both Anonymous and the grass-roots hacker revolution it seeks to set off, though it's hard to know what constitutes progress in as amorphous a cyberwar strategy as the one Anonymous is conducting.
Continuing to launch direct attacks on cybercops shows neither Anonymous nor its affiliated groups are backing down, especially given the chance to strike back directly at the power they're trying to fight. Most especially when they can do it and then talk trash online to prove they're not beaten, draw more recruits and, almost certainly, feed their own egos as well.
"Let us remind you, FBI: Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea," the group tweeted on AnonymousIRC this morning.