A hacking group called “The Dark Overlord” has released a slew of files related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States that it claims will “burn down the deep state.” The files are expected to be released in five batches. Two sets of documents have already been made public by the group.
The 9/11 documents
The documents have been jacked from multiple insurance companies and legal firms, including the likes of Lloyd’s of London, Hiscox Syndicates, and Silverstein Properties. The files are said to have content that will link the U.S. government with the 9/11 attacks. However, despite releasing the first two batches, none of the documents reveal anything that might incriminate the American government of any wrongdoing.
In the first leak, the group released 18,000 files. Shortly thereafter, another 7,500 files were leaked in the second batch. Most documents contain information pertaining to insurance records. The hacking group asked the companies to pay ransom to keep the files from being released. But after a few firms contacted law enforcement, the group went ahead and leaked the initial batch, switching to crowdfunding via Bitcoin to raise money. They even invited interested parties from Russia and China to purchase the files.
Many security experts feel that The Dark Overlord over-hyped the importance of the documents. “The fact that the firms are named makes me want to believe they have refused to pay the ransoms, so this is a pressure tactic by The Dark Overlord to force the ransom issue… So many years later after the events of 9/11, the items in question may have their security clearance expire in the next six years anyway. A lot of it has been already disclosed by journalists and authors,” Ian Thornton-Trump, head of cybersecurity at Amtrust International, said to Forbes.
After the documents were posted on their Steemit page, Twitter removed The Dark Overlord from its platform. Currently, both batches of files have been stored on the blockchain. Though the files have been encrypted, the instructions for decryption have been mentioned in the leak itself. The group is planning to release over 8,000 files in its third batch, purportedly containing more sensitive information surrounding the 9/11 attack.
The Dark Overlord
The hacking group started as a typical “steal and sell” organization where they stole data from companies and sold it off to interested buyers. Later on, The Dark Overlord began extorting money from the companies themselves. If any firm resists, the hackers release a few bits of information to the media to put pressure on the business to pay up. The Dark Overlord is known to target law firms and medical institutions, since these organizations have a default duty to protect their customers’ data.
Businesses that are involved in media production, health care, and education have been repeatedly hacked by The Dark Overlord. The group became famous after it leaked a full season of the hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black. An attempted extortion of investment bank WestPark Capital ended up in failure, following which the stolen documents were released. Failure to extort money is also the main reason why the group has released the 9/11 documents to the public domain.
The recent hack is just another reminder of how unsafe the Internet is for storing sensitive documents. Without multiple layers of offline and online security, most businesses are at risk of having their data stolen by third parties.