On Friday of last week, the Juneteenth holiday, a leak-focused activist group known as Distributed Denial of Secrets published a 269-gigabyte collection of police data that includes emails, audio, video, and intelligence documents, with more than a million files in total. DDOSecrets founder Emma Best tells WIRED that the hacked files came from Anonymous—or at least a source self-representing as part of that group, given that under Anonymous’ loose, leaderless structure anyone can declare themselves a member. Over the weekend, supporters of DDOSecrets, Anonymous, and protesters worldwide began digging through the files to pull out frank internal memos about police efforts to track the activities of protesters. The documents also reveal how law enforcement has described groups like the antifascist movement Antifa.
“It’s the largest published hack of American law enforcement agencies,” Emma Best, cofounder of DDOSecrets, wrote in a series of text messages. “It provides the closest inside look at the state, local, and federal agencies tasked with protecting the public, including [the] government response to COVID and the BLM protests.”
The massive internal data trove that DDOSecrets published was originally taken from a web development firm called Netsential, according to a law enforcement memo obtained by Kreb On Security. That memo, issued by the National Fusion Center Association, says that much of the data belonged to law enforcement “fusion centers” across the US that act as information-sharing hubs for federal, state, and local agencies. Netsential did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Best declined to comment on whether the information was taken from Netsential, but noted that “some Twitter users accurately pointed out that a lot of the data corresponded to Netsential systems.” As for their source, Best would say only that the person self-represented as “capital A Anonymous,” but added cryptically that “people may wind up seeing a familiar name down the line.”