US Sentencing Commission site down, Anonymous claims responsibility
Early Saturday morning, members of Anonymous claimed to have brought down ussc.gov, the website for the United Stated Sentencing Commission, an independent arm of the federal judicial branch responsible for setting sentencing guidelines. ZDNet reports that the site was replaced with a message from Anonymous citing the death of Aaron Swartz as the motivation for the attack. The website has since been taken offline. Anonymous also claimed to have pilfered information about the Supreme Court Justices, although the nature of that information—and the accuracy of that claim—remains unknown.
According to Bloomberg, Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, responded with a statement Saturday morning: "We were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation. We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person's or government agency's network."
While the Commission's site is offline, the message that Anonymous posted has been reproduced elsewhere. The message claims that the site was a target because of its symbolic meaning as well as the kinds of people that visit the site. “This website was also chosen due to the nature of its visitors. It is far from the only government asset we control, and we have exercised such control for quite some time,” the note said. It went on:
There has been a lot of fuss recently in the technological media regarding such operations as Red October, the widespread use of vulnerable browsers and the availability of zero-day exploits for these browsers and their plugins. None of this comes of course as any surprise to us, but it is perhaps good that those within the information security industry are making the extent of these threats more widely understood.