The Fraternal Order of Police – America’s biggest police union- has been targeted by hackers. The FBI is investigating after 2.5 GB of data was taken from FOP servers, then dumped online and immediately shared on social media.
Included in the private files that were leaked were: names and addresses of officers, forum posts critical of President Obama, and controversial contracts that were made with city authorities.
Some of the threads that were leaked from the members-only online forum go all the way back to 2009. One member blasted FOP leadership for endorsing the nomination of the “radical socialist,” Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Other officers expressed anger over “illegals” who were in the U.S. without documentation. Some called Obama the “anti-police” president.
FOP represents about 330,000 law enforcement officers from across the country. As of Friday afternoon, its national site, fop.net remained offline.
Chuck Canterbury, FOP’s national president, said in an interview with The Guardian: “The hackers were able to feed our system a pseudo-encryption key that the system should not have accepted but did because of software errors.”
Canterbury said he was confident that “no sensitive personal information” or financial details of members had been obtained.
What was obtained however, were “hundreds of contracts between regional authorities and local fraternal order of police lodges across the country.” Some of those deals have been harshly criticized for protecting police officers from prosecution after cases involving “excessive use of force.”
FOP servers in Tennessee and Ohio were reportedly examined by investigators and the hack was traced to an IP address in the UK. A person using the screen name ‘Cthulhu’ said he or she had released the files after receiving them from an anonymous source. The source had apparently wanted to make the files public “in light of an ever increasing divide between the police groups and the citizens of the US.”
Here’s a full statement from the FOP:
Brothers and Sisters,
The FOP has been the victim of federal and state crimes. We have already contacted the Department of Justice Cyber Crimes Division and the FBI will be investigating the crime.
Here is what we know:
Around January 13/14, someone hacked into our data system. Whoever did this found a found a hole in our defenses that even the software developer did not know existed. The platform software was accessed through a method known as 0Day vulnerabilities. This is described as a flaw in the base software that was used to write our program. They stole all of the information that we store in our system.
We do not keep your social security number in our records but all of our member’s names and addresses were stolen. Some members had their date of birth connected to their member file and that was stolen to. We know all too well that this could place our members safety at risk.
The media and the hacker seems to think the theft of the collective bargaining agreements we had on file is a big deal, apparently not knowing that all of these documents are publicly available.
Here is what we are doing:
We have taken fop.net offline. We have contracted with experts to work with our IT team to make sure that this does not happen again. We are working to put in place a workaround for lodge presidents and secretaries to keep doing the business of the Order while we are completing our work on this end.
We are taking this crime very seriously and we appreciate the members concerns and understand your concerns and are working hard to secure our system.