University of Cambridge computers hacked by pro-Assange supporters
A university spokesperson confirmed yesterday's attack after 17 academis had their login details published online.
An investigation is underway after a group of hackers supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange managed to hack into the University of Cambridge computer system. The group then published 17 login details of academics from the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities online, although so far no student login details are thought to have been compromised.
Others university departments believed to be targeted were the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies, the Sector of Biological and Soft Systems and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.
A group known as NullCrew, which is associated with the larger and more well-known computer hacking network Anonymous, yesterday claimed responsibility for the hackings. Anonymous is an international group of pro-Assange hackers whose previous targets have included websites run by the UK and US governments, as well as those of international companies such as Visa.
NullCrew took responsibility for the breach in a statement to the Guardian via Twitter: "We'd like to say that we aren't finished with the operation, and we aren't the only Hacktivist group to be fighting. Julian Assange has been fought against for speaking his voice. NullCrew along with all of Anonymous are fighting this, and will not stop. If truly, the proper thing doesn't happen with Assange, the United Kingdom will forever be a target to Anonymous and NullCrew, and all the other groups associated with Anonymous."
Speaking on the breach today a spokesman for the university confirmed that: "A group calling itself NullCrew claims to have obtained login details for some web-based resources hosted on university systems. As a preventative measure these have been taken offline while IT staff investigate the claims.”
However the University stressed that the threat to student and other university members’ login details was currently small pointing out that: "The hacking group itself has not claimed to have compromised the email login details of members of the university, and there is no evidence to substantiate such a suggestion."
The Cambridge Union played host to Assange in March of 2011 in his first speech for four months, after he was placed under house arrest, leading to speculation that this connection may have been a reason for the group’s targeting of the University. However, there has currently been no explanation of their motives and it is likely that Cambridge was targeted simply as a perceived symbol of the anti-Assange UK establishment.
Last updated: Saturday 15th September 2012, 23:52 BST