"Who's on the call right now?"
An FBI agent in the United States asked the obvious question when joining a conference call between US law enforcement agents and their Scotland Yard counterparts in the UK.
Among those on the call who did not identify themselves, possibly, was a member (or members) of the very group that call was intended to discuss -- the hacking group 'Anonymous'.
As Raw Story reports:
In a stunning release, the mysterious hacker organization “Anonymous” has published audio of an international coordination conference call between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the British Scotland Yard, revealing officers’ secret communications on investigations into the group’s recent exploits.
The FBI and Scotland Yard have both said they’re investigating how hackers obtained the conference call’s audio. A document published online, presumably by a member of “Anonymous,” reveals that the hacker or hackers were privy to law enforcement email communications, giving them access to the login information for the call.
During the call, which took place on Jan. 17, law enforcement agents discuss their investigations into a number of high profile hacks, and British officials divulge that they had delayed arresting two juveniles to prevent interference with an FBI probe.
Agence France-Presse explains:
Anonymous is a shadowy loose-knit group of international hackers who have taken credit for scores of online attacks over the past few years.
Last month, Anonymous briefly knocked the FBI and Justice Department websites offline in retaliation for the US shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload.
In late 2010, Anonymous attacked the websites of Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others in retaliation for their decisions to stop working with Julian Assange's anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.
And The Sun in the UK reports:
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The FBI today confirmed hackers intercepted a confidential phone call, saying it is hunting those responsible.
In a statement, the US spy bureau said the information "was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained".
Names of some of the suspects mentioned in the recording, which was posted on YouTube, have been bleeped out.
Anonymous also published an email apparently sent by an FBI agent which gave details for accessing the call.
The group gloated in a message on Twitter: "The FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now."
During the call, the officers and agents are heard discussing the names of people they were tracking, plans for legal action and requests for more time.
The Scotland Yard officers also joked about a conference on cyber-crime in Sheffield, telling the FBI that they had not missed much by not having visited the city before, adding it was "not exactly a jewel in England's crown".
One of the FBI agents also thanked UK police for their support and for trying to give the FBI more time, saying: "I just want to express our gratitude for being flexible on this. I know New York (FBI office) appreciates it, and the FBI as a whole."
One of the UK officers replied: "We're here to help. We've cocked things up in the past, we know that... It's not that much of a hardship."
Among the material published by Anonymous was a message apparently sent by an FBI agent, inviting his foreign counterparts to join the call to "discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous...and other associated splinter groups".
Here's a version of the call, made available on youtube: