Ed Pilkington and Richard Norton-Taylor
Guardian

January 8, 2012

Thousands of British email addresses and encrypted passwords, including those of defence, intelligence and police officials as well as politicians and Nato advisers, have been revealed on the internet following a security breach by hackers.

Among the huge database of private information exposed by self-styled “hacktivists” are the details of 221 British military officials and 242 Nato staff. Civil servants working at the heart of the UK government – including several in the Cabinet Office as well as advisers to the Joint Intelligence Organisation that acts as the prime minister’s eyes and ears on sensitive information – have also been exposed.

The exposure of the database came after hackers – who are believed to be part of the Anonymous group – gained unauthorised access over Christmas to the account information of Stratfor, a consultancy based in Texas that specialises in foreign affairs and security issues. The database had recorded in spreadsheets the user IDs – usually email addresses – and encrypted passwords of about 850,000 individuals who had subscribed to Stratfor’s website.

Some 75,000 paying subscribers also had their credit card numbers and addresses exposed, including 462 British accounts.

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