Thursday NATO said it was investigating claims that "hactivist" group Anonymous had breached its security and obtained "scads" of confidential material.
The group made its latest feat known via Twitter early Thursday morning, claiming to be sitting on 1 GB of sensitive data. It even offered a sample, a NATO Restricted PDF, but the file has sense been removed. Given the sensitivity of its new-found booty, the group actually refuses to publish all the data, saying that to do so would be "irresponsible."
"Hi NATO. Yes we haz [sic] more of your delicious data," the group tweeted. "You wonder where from? No hints, your turn. You call it war; we laugh at your battleships."
"NATO is aware that hacker group released what it claims to be NATO classified documents on the internet," a NATO spokseman said in a statement. "NATO security experts are investigating these claims. We strongly condemn any leak of classified documents which could potentially endanger the security of NATO allies, armed forces and citizens."
The NATO hack arrives just after the FBI conducted a sweep across the nation on Tuesday, arresting 16 alleged Anonymous members. 14 individuals were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio. Two other individuals were arrested on similar charges in two separate complaints filed in the Middle District of Florida and the District of New Jersey.
"We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable," Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant FBI director, said in an interview with NPR on Wednesday. "[Even if] hackers can be believed to have social causes, it's entirely unacceptable to break into websites and commit unlawful acts."
Both Anonymous and LulzSec followed up with a joint statement to the FBI and Chabinsky on Thursday, listing what the groups deem as unacceptable including government deception, corporations aiding the government and lobby conglomerates pushing for higher profits.
"These governments and corporations are our enemy. And we will continue to fight them, with all methods we have at our disposal, and that certainly includes breaking into their websites and exposing their lies," the statement reads. "We are not scared any more. Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea. Any attempt to do so will make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir. It is our mission to help these people and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - you can possibly to do make us stop."
"We become bandits on the Internet because you have forced our hand," the statement concludes. "The Anonymous bitchslap rings through your ears like hacktivism movements of the 90s. We're back - and we're not going anywhere. Expect us."
Sounds war is brewing in the virtual wild west.