Enlarge /. Minneapolis police shoot tear gas at those protesting the death of George Floyd on May 25.
Millions of law enforcement documents – some showing pictures of suspects, bank account numbers and other confidential information – have been published on a website that, according to a security news website, KrebsOnSecurity, is an alternative to WikiLeaks.
DDOSecrets, short for Distributed Denial of Secrets, is said to have released millions of documents stolen by more than 200 law enforcement groups across the country. Reporter Brian Krebs, citing the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA), confirmed the validity of the leaked data. DDOSecrets said the documents spanned at least a decade, although some of the data in documents suggested twice as long.
The latest document dates are earlier this month, which indicates that the hack that exposed the documents for the first time has occurred in the past three weeks. The documents, titled "BlueLeaks", were released on Friday, the date of June 19 this year, when the emancipation of enslaved African Americans was celebrated in the Confederacy. BlueLeaks was particularly significant after a Minneapolis policeman choked a handcuffed black man when the policeman placed his knee on the man's neck for 8 minutes and 45 seconds.
At the weekend, police abuse critics used social media to celebrate the leak and display documents that were said to come from it. Some of them include:
The link on which the data is located is only loaded sporadically and usually leaves before the index page is loaded. When displayed, the page organizes leaked documents both by the law enforcement agency they originate from and often by the names of people who are said to be associated with a document. The document cannot be loaded again if you click on a link more than once. BitTorrent links have also been provided, but they also fail.
This means that most of the world has seen only a small part of the leak in tiny sections without being able to analyze the leak in its entirety first hand.
The leaks are the result of a hack on the server of Netsential, a Houston-based web development company that targets law enforcement groups, according to Krebs. Much of the stolen data has been distributed through "merger centers" by law enforcement agencies in the United States, which serve as nodes for the exchange of information by federal, state, and local authorities. Cancer also quoted a former Department of Homeland Security Policy Secretary, saying that some of the exposed data could compromise the security of individual sources by being publicly identified.
In an article published by Wired, co-founder of DDOSecrets, Emma Best, said that a week before the leak was released, she removed about 50 gigabytes of material to reveal sensitive details about crime victims, children, and information about unrelated private companies, healthcare, and retired veterans' associations.
"It is the largest published hack by American law enforcement agencies," Best said of the publication in a series of text messages. "It provides in-depth insight into the state, local and federal agencies responsible for protecting the public, including the government's response to COVID and the BLM protests."