Arguably, 2016 is the year the online hacktivists, Anonymous have stepped up their fight against injustice and corruption perpetrated by governments, social institutions and corporations around the world.
After attacking the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the New York Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, France, Switzerland, the United States Federal Reserve, and the Operation Africa campaign among others, Anonymous has now taken on the Spanish police.
In the latest of Anonymous’ attack, the social justice group has attacked the servers of the police in Spain for implementing repressive law against citizens in the country. The hack has resulted in a huge leak of sensitive police information online.
In 2015, Spain started to implement the so-called Citizens’ Security Law. Despite the name, the law is not actually about the security of citizens. This is because the law restricts content that can be posted by people on the social media. For example, people cannot post pictures of public protests on social media.
Above all, the law also prevents the unauthorized use of images of police officers that might jeopardize their or their family’s safety, or that of protected facilities or police operations.
The Spanish public realized the true purpose of the law when in August 2015, a woman from the southern town of Petrer in Alicante Province, was fined 800 Euros for posting on Facebook the photos of a police patrol car at an unauthorized place. Truly, the police had parked the car at a disabled spot, which is illegal in Spain for any driver to do so.
When the fining of the woman was made public, it sparked an outrage across the country. However, the police department defended the fine, saying that the car was parked there because the officers had to rush to respond to an emergency situation nearby. The police have since been using the law to harass citizens.
It is against this repressive law that the Anonymous group known as Hack Back (HB) in an operation code named FkPoliceAnonOps, hacked into the servers of the Sindicat De Mossos d’Esquadra (SME) or the Catalan Police Union, leaking highly confidential details of police officials as a protest against the use of the Citizen’s Security Law.
The Hack Read reports that over 5,000 police officers were affected in the hack. HB leaked the names, surnames, personal emails, national ID numbers, and MD5 hash of passwords of the officers to the public online.
The hackers were said to have gained access to the telecom unit for investigative crimes of the police department, obtaining the sensitive data and dumping it online for the public.
The hackers, thereafter, took to Twitter to explain what they have done. On the social media platform, they wrote: “We are publishing a list of members of your ‘force’ in order to make you understand how thin is the curtain (or the balaclava) behind which you are hiding. Make no mistake, with every action, comes a counter reaction and we all have to pay for our acts!. Approximately 5400 police members’ identities will be revealed and dumped into the FREE public domain, together with your ID numbers, emails and password hash. The target was mupol.es, a mutual fund for Spanish policemen.”
— F**kPoliceAnonOps (@FkPoliceAnonOps) May 31, 2016
The police confirmed the hack, adding that FkPoliceAnonOps was responsible for the attack on their server and the data leak. They, however, failed to comment on whether they will still continue to implement the Citizen’s Security Law against citizens or not.
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