A hacker group on Saturday claimed it has "defaced and destroyed" websites at scores of US police agencies in retaliation for the arrest of suspected peers accused of hacking into the CIA, British crime agency SOCA, and Sony.
The group called AntiSec -- in reference to "anti-security" -- said in an online post that it is backing its claim by releasing information it looted more than 70 local police agencies during cyber attacks.
"We are releasing a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to embarrass, discredit and incriminate police officers across the US," the group said in a message.
"We are doing this in solidarity with Topiary and the Anonymous PayPal LOIC defendants as well as all other political prisoners who are facing the gun of the crooked court system."
Early this week, 18-year-old British man Jack Davis, believed to be a hacker who went by the online name "Topiary" was granted bail in a London court.
Davis is suspected of being a spokesman for hacking groups Lulz Security (LulzSec) and Anonymous.
He was charged with hacking into websites, including that of Britain's SOCA, which was out of service for several hours on June 20 after apparently being targeted.
LulzSec has claimed responsibility for a 50-day rampage earlier this year against international businesses and government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Senate, and electronics giant Sony.
Anonymous and LulzSec have denounced the arrests in the United States last month of 14 people suspected of taking part in an online attack on the PayPal website organized by Anonymous.
PayPal, Visa and MasterCard stopped accepting donations for WikiLeaks in December after the website began releasing thousands of sensitive State Department cables.
AntiSec said that it was leaking 10 gigabytes of data including private email exchanges, passwords, credit card numbers, addresses of officers and information about informants.
"You may bust a few of us, but we greatly outnumber you and you can never stop us from continuing to destroy your systems and leak your data," the hacker group's message said.
"We have no sympathy for any of the officers or informants who may be endangered by the release of their personal information," it continued.
An AFP sampling of police department websites puportedly hacked by AntiSec revealed they were not accessible online. Information posted by AntiSec appeared to include names, addresses, and credit card numbers.
AntiSec said it had used some swiped credit card information to make donations to groups defending civil liberties, Internet rights, and the US soldier accused of giving sensitive military data to WikiLeaks.
Cyberattacks on police departments in an array of US states began about a week ago, according to the group. Local news reports surfaced regarding hacks of police websites, but agencies downplayed damage.
AntiSec expressed offense at being referred to in a recent US Department of Homeland Security bulletin as "script kiddies" incapable of inflicting damage to critical national infrastructure.
Script kiddies is a term used when referring to young hackers that wield software skills mischievously for status or attention.
"You are losing the cyberwar, and the attacks against the governments, militaries, and corporations of the world will continue to escalate," AntiSec said.
(c) 2011 AFP