Thursday, December 15, 2011

Computers Seized in Climategate Hacking!

Full Department of Justice Criminal Division document linked here. The Request for Preservation of Records is signed by Trial Attorney Kendra R. Ervin of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. 
"We are pleased to hear that the police are continuing to actively pursue the case following the release last month of a second tranche of hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit. We hope this will result in the arrest of those responsible for the theft of the emails and for distorting the debate on the globally important issue of climate change."---University of East Anglia

In November 2009, one or more hacker-criminals released emails and other information they had stolen from a computer belonging to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The criminals released some of the scientists' stolen emails again in November 2011. This second release may have provided the authorities with some clues about the identities of the hacker-criminals.

The hackers, who call themselves FOIA, first posted the CRU emails on a server with Russian ISP and then a posted a link to these stolen emails on the comments of blogs run by climate change denialists. After denialists copied the emails, the emails disappeared from the Russian server. These blogs are now being investigated by the British authorities with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Justice. Computer equipment in the home of a British blogger known as Tallbloke has been seized by the police.  

The Guardian (12-15-11) is reporting that computer equipment has been seized in connection with the November 2009 hacking of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Check the Guardian (12-15-11), Climate Progress (12-15-11), DeSmogblog (12-15-11), and ClimateCrocks (12-15-11).

No arrests have been made, but the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), the Norfolk Constabulary, the computer crime division, and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division seem to be closing in on the culprits who stole the CRU emails and posted them on the Internet. There is also this Twitter feed, which is carrying a lot of hysterical raving by denialists.

According to the DOJ:

The Criminal Division develops, enforces, and supervises the application of all federal criminal laws except those specifically assigned to other divisions. The Division, and the 94 U.S. Attorneys have the responsibility for overseeing criminal matters under the more than 900 statutes as well as certain civil litigation. Criminal Division attorneys prosecute many nationally significant cases. In addition to its direct litigation responsibilities, the Division formulates and implements criminal enforcement policy and provides advice and assistance. For example, the Division approves or monitors sensitive areas of law enforcement such as participation in the Witness Security Program and the use of electronic surveillance; advises the Attorney General, Congress, the Office of Management Budget and the White House on matters of criminal law; provides legal advice and assistance to federal prosecutors and investigative agencies; and provides leadership for coordinating international as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement matters.

The Guardian (12-15-11) reports:

Police officers investigating the theft of thousands of private emails between climate scientists from a University of East Anglia server in 2009 have seized computer equipment belonging to a web content editor based at the University of Leeds.

On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router. A police spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that Norfolk Constabulary had "executed a search warrant in West Yorkshire and seized computers".  She added: "No one was arrested. Investigations into the [UEA] data breach and publication [online of emails] continues. This is one line of enquiry in a Norfolk constabulary investigation which started in 2009.”...

Last month, Tattersall's blog, as well as at least four other blogs popular with climate sceptics, received a comment from a user called "FOIA" providing a link to a Russian server hosting a compressed folder containing more than 5,000 emails exchanged between climate scientists, along with a short message setting out the perpetrator's motives. The folder also contained an encrypted subfolder containing a further 220,000 emails. It was the second time such a release had occurred.

In November 2009, thousands of emails were released in a similar manner on the eve the Copenhagen climate summit. The episode prompted a series of inquiries into the working practices of climate scientists. Although these were critical of the scientists' handling of Freedom of Information Act requests and lack of openness, they did not find fault with the climate change science they had produced.

Both Tattersall and a US-based climate sceptic blogger known as Jeff Id said they had received a "formal notice" that their blogging platform WordPress had been asked by the US Department of Justice's criminal division, dated 9 December, to preserve "all stored communications, records, and other evidence in your possession" related to their own blogs as well as to Climate Audit, a climate sceptic blog run by a Canadian mining consultant called Steve McIntyre. All three blogs had received messages from "FOIA" last month pointing to the link hosting a second tranche of emails first taken from the UEA in 2009...

A spokesman for the University of East Anglia said today: "We are pleased to hear that the police are continuing to actively pursue the case following the release last month of a second tranche of hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit. We hope this will result in the arrest of those responsible for the theft of the emails and for distorting the debate on the globally important issue of climate change."


Anonymous Lockable Notice Board said...

So annoying! hackers get away with alot of things, I really do feel for the government as they cannot track these people as they remain anonaymous! i had 5.00 a month taken out of my account by a group of hackers that got my details from the play station network!

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