A UK police website has been hacked, exposing usernames, unencrypted passwords and other sensitive login details for more than 90 serving officers.
The miscreant who raided the Hertfordshire force's database also lifted and leaked workplace phone numbers, email addresses, warrant numbers and PINs of the county's Safer Neighbourhood Team.
The hacker claims to be a sympathiser of Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, and the digital break-in is seen as a protest against efforts by UK police to arrest the Wikileaker-in-chief.
The home county's top cops have suspended part of the knackered website as a precaution while tech sleuths investigate the breach, as this statement explains:
Hertfordshire Constabulary is currently investigating following the publication on the internet of information stored on a database linked to the public Safer Neighbourhoods pages of the external constabulary website.
As a precaution these pages have been temporarily disabled whilst the circumstances as to how this information was obtained is investigated.
There is absolutely no suggestion that any personal data relating to officers or members of the public has been, or could have been compromised. Nevertheless matters of IT security are extremely important to the constabulary and an investigation is already under way.
The black hat hacker who claimed responsibility for the breach leaked what looks like records from the Hertfordshire Police website database along with a quote from Assange and an "OpFreeAssange" banner. The miscreant involved dissociated himself from Anonymous by saying he was not a member of the hacktivist collective.
He stated: "I am not a member of Anonymous. Do whatever the fuck you want with this information, I don't give a fuck! This is nothing big not some l33t h4x shit... but this tells how insecure the web is."
Anonymous has run a number of operations in support of Wikileaks and Assange over recent months, including attacking banks and PayPal for blocking the whistle-blowing website's online fundraising efforts.
Cops are poised outside the Ecuadorian embassy in west London ready to cuff Assange should he attempt to make a break for it. The UK authorities have agreed to extradite Assange to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations made by two women. The Wikileaks founder preempted his arrest by legging it to the embassy and successfully applying for asylum. ®