Hackers claim attack on Justice Department website

WASHINGTON Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:20pm EST

The Justice Department building is seen in Washington on March 4, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

The Justice Department building is seen in Washington on March 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hackers sympathetic to the late computer prodigy Aaron Swartz claimed on Saturday to have infiltrated the website of the U.S. Justice Department's Sentencing Commission, and said they planned to release government data.

The Sentencing Commission site, www.ussc.gov , was shut down early Saturday.

Identifying themselves as Anonymous, a loosely organized group of unknown provenance associated with a range of recent online actions, the hackers voiced outrage over Swartz' suicide on January 11.

In a video posted online, the hackers criticized the government's prosecution of Swartz, who had been facing trial on charges that he used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer networks to steal more than 4 million articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution service.

Swartz had faced a maximum sentence of 31 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.

The FBI is investigating the attack, according to Richard McFeely, of the bureau's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.

"We were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation," McFeely said in an emailed statement. "We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person's or government agency's network."

(Reporting by Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (7)
Joe-The-Guy wrote:
Last I checked, it was 35 years (max of 50 years) in jail and a $1 million fine.

Also last I checked, he was legally granted access to those documents. They were charging him with the potential that he was going to release them, but he had not actually made any attempt to release them when he was being charged. Also MIT had no intentions of pressing charges, it was federal lawyers who were going to press charges.

Another important point, it would have cost him a minimum of $1 million to defend himself in court. The government bullied him into committing suicide, and that is the issue here.

Please check your facts before posting them.

Jan 26, 2013 12:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
datsneefa wrote:
Whatever it takes to get real justice and democracy.
Freedom isn’t free.
My guess though is that instead of actually making any changes to our corrupt government, they will use this to justify further persecutions of our citizens and strip even more of our Constitutional rights that so many have fought and died for.

Jan 26, 2013 1:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sjfella wrote:
“We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person’s or government agency’s network.”

Uh huh, and I have some terrific swampland for sale, cheap!

Jan 26, 2013 1:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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