Stratfor back after hack attack (or not)

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Update: As of 9:33 am PST, the Stratfor site seems to be experiencing intermittent difficulties and will not load. The company officially re-launched its site earlier this morning after it was taken offline in December.

Strafor has issued the following statement:

"Our website is experiencing a lot of traffic at the moment, please be patient. If you have trouble connecting check back soon."

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Stratfor, a US-based strategic think tank, is back online after falling victim to a mass hack and extract attack in December that effectively compromised thousands of credit cards.

"The attempt to silence us failed. Our website is back, though we are waiting for all archives to be restored, and our email is working again. Our failures have been reviewed and are being rectified," Stratfor director George Friedman confirmed in an official statement.

"We deliberately shut down while we brought in outside consultants to rebuild our system from the ground up. The work isn't finished yet, but we can start delivering our analyses. The handling of credit cards is being handed off to a third party with appropriate capability to protect privacy."

Unsurprisingly, Friedman said it remained unclear who the attackers were. To be sure, elements of Anonymous have repeatedly denied responsibility for the controversial operation - instead pointing a finger at Sabu and his AntiSec crew.



"It is interesting that the hacker community is split, with someone claiming to speak for the official Anonymous condemning the hack as an attack on the media, which they don't sanction, and another faction defending it as an attack on the rich and powerful," Friedman explained. 



"I don't know who they actually are, and second, I don't know what their motives were. So I don't know if there is remorse or if their real purpose was to humiliate and silence us, in which case I don't know why they wanted that. But we are what we said we were: an organization that generates its revenues through geopolitical analysis. At the core of our business, we objectively acquire, organize, analyze and distribute information."



As for the engimatic hackers, said Friedman, online anonymity is both a great virtue and terrible weakness. 



"[Yes], it is possible to commit crimes on the Internet anonymously. The technology that enables the Internet also undermines accountability. Given the profusion of technical knowledge, the integrity of the commons is in the hands of people whose identities we don't know, whose motives we don't understand, and whose ability to cause harm is substantial," he opined.

"The consequence of this will not be a glorious anarchy in the spirit of Guy Fawkes, but rather a massive repression. I think this is a pity. 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."