The website of Texas-based security and intelligence think tank, Stratfor, is back online with a newly designed site today after being hacked by the Anonymous Internet collective on December 25.
Stratfor suspended access to the company’s site, servers, and emails after acknowledging the attack. In the meantime, they brought in a team of consultants to rebuild their systems from the ground up and are now outsourcing all credit card management to better ensure protection of that data.
In a special edition of the Geopolitical Weekly, Stratfor CEO, George Friedman addresses the attack, apologizing for Stratfor’s failure to encrypt credit card data and generally slack security practices. However, he goes on to blame the attack on misconceptions about who Stratfor is and what they do. Specifically, he accuses the media of creating a false narrative around the breach by confusing corporate subscribers (people and organizations that merely purchase a publication no different from what anyone can purchase), with clients (someone with whom a company does customized work).
“From there, the storyline grew to argue that these ‘clients,’ corporate and government, provided Stratfor with classified intelligence that we reviewed,” Friedman said. “We were no longer an organization that analyzed the world for the interested public, but rather a group of incompetents and, conversely, the hub of a global conspiracy. The media focused on the first while the hacking community focused on the second.”
Friedman claims that the attack, unlike other attacks by Anonymous and groups like them, was a deliberate attempt to silence Stratfor by destroying their records.
“I think this is a pity,” he says. “That’s why I wonder who the hackers actually are and what cause they serve. I am curious as to whether they realize the whirlwind they are sowing, and whether they, in fact, are trying to generate the repression they say they oppose.”
Friedman said Stratfor was making the site is free to all visitors for a limited time. That may have been too generous an offer, however, At the time of publication, Stratfor’s website could not be reached. A message on the placeholder page claims that the outage is due to increased traffic.