WASHINGTON Feb 5 The Federal Reserve said on
Tuesday that one of its internal websites had been briefly
breached by hackers, though no critical functions of the U.S.
central bank were affected by the intrusion.
The admission, which raises questions about cyber security
at the Fed, follows a claim that hackers linked to the activist
group Anonymous had struck the Fed on Sunday, accessing personal
information of more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives, which it
published on the Web.
"The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was
obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website
vendor product," a Fed spokeswoman said.
"Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer
an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of
the Federal Reserve system," the spokeswoman said, adding that
all individuals effected by the breach had been contacted.
Technology news site ZDNet separately reported that
Anonymous appeared to have published information allegedly
containing the login information, credentials, internet protocol
addresses and contact information of over 4,000 U.S. bankers on
The claim was made via Twitter over an account registered to
OpLastResort, which is linked to Anonymous, a loosely organized
group of hacker activists who have claimed responsibility for
scores of attacks on government and corporate sites over the
past several years.
OpLastResort is a campaign that some hackers linked to
Anonymous have started to protest government prosecution of
computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide on Jan. 11.
The Fed declined to identify which website had been hacked.
But information that it provided to bankers indicated that the
site, which was not public, was a contact database for banks to
use during a natural disaster.
The website's purpose is to allow bank executives to update
the Fed if their operations have been flooded or otherwise
damaged in a storm or other disaster. That helps the Fed to
assess the overall impact of the event on the banking system.
Hackers identifying themselves as Anonymous infiltrated the
U.S. Sentencing Commission website late last month to protest
the government's treatment of the Swartz case.
Swartz was charged with using the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology's computer networks to steal more than 4 million
articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution
service. He faced a maximum sentence of 31 years if convicted.