BlueLeaks: Hackers publish sensitive files from 200 police departments

BlueLeaks: Hackers publish sensitive files from 200 police departments

  • A hacktivist group published hundreds of gigabytes of potentially sensitive files from police departments across the US on Friday in the form of a searchable database that can be sorted by officers’ badge numbers.
  • The leaked data stemmed from a security breach at a Houston-based web services company that maintains several law enforcement data centers, according to a memo obtained by security reporter Brian Krebs.
  • The leaks don’t provide much information about police misconduct, but do include emails that appear to show how police departments and the FBI have monitored protests across the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A group of hackers has published hundreds of thousands of files leaked from police and FBI offices across the US, including internal memos, emails, and officers’ personal information.

The data dump, dubbed “BlueLeaks,” was published by hacktivist group DDoSecrets Friday. Many of the documents purport to show how law enforcement agencies have been sharing information about COVID-19, George Floyd protesters, and even tweets that are critical of police.

—Distributed Denial of Secrets (@DDoSecrets) June 19, 2020

The files appear to stem from a real data breach at Netsential, a Houston-based web service provider that contracts with state law enforcement agencies across the US. A memo obtained by security reporter Brian Krebs says hackers compromised Netsential’s servers and stole files being hosted by fusion centers, or state agencies that facilitate information sharing between police departments.

Netsential did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The leaked files show that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been keeping close tabs on social media accounts that they believe are organizing protests following the death of George Floyd. One unclassified FBI memo to police departments warns that “law enforcement supporters’ safety” could be in danger, citing two tweets about destroying “blue lives matter” paraphernalia.

—elijah daniel (@elijahdaniel) June 20, 2020

Other internal memos included in the leak show police departments exchanging information about specific clothing, signs, and cars being used by protesters deemed potential threats. Police have already made arrests after tracking people down using photos taken at protests.

—ANONYMOUS (@supportanonLA) June 20, 2020

However, the documents don’t appear to include much information about specific officers’ misconduct or complaints about police departments, which are unlikely to be shared between departments via a fusion center. 

Similar to Wikileaks, DDoSecrets says it acts as a forum to publish leaked information while keeping the identities of hackers a secret, and is “uninvolved in the exfiltration of data.”

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