Anonymous hacks F1 data, threatens ticket holders
Published Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:12AM EDT
MONTREAL - The hacker collective known as Anonymous released personal information of 131 Grand Prix ticket holders late Wednesday.
Anonymous has been linked to a wave of attacks that has overwhelmed websites operated by the Quebec government.
In recent days, it turned its attention to the June 8 Grand Prix weekend.
Melanie Villeneuve bought her race tickets in April from a third-party ticket-selling website.
At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday her phone rang and an unfamiliar voice asked whether she had bought Grand Prix tickets.
She asked who it was speaking and the man replied, "Nobody just have a good time with Mr. Charest.
She also received emails.
"One said, ‘if you're rich enough to buy a Grand Prix ticket you should pay higher taxes so we could get free schooling,'" she said. "Don't come to Montreal," read another. "Boycott F1," "Expect us," were some of the messages she received.
Another email sent to another Grand Prix ticket buyer read: "Try to get your money back for the tickets you bought March 24 or your personal information will be posted on a Facebook page."
The same movement had previously targeted the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain.
One tech expert said that all online shopping contains risks, but usually minor.
"When you think about the millions of credit cards out there, it's a pretty small risk," said technology analyst Elias Makos.
The Grand Prix organizers said that ticket sales are relatively slow and blame the tuition crisis for the situation.
The Anonymous group released the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the ticket holders. Their credit card numbers were not included in the information.
In a post accompanying the data, the group warned, "Today, Anonymous reminds us of the importance of sportsmanship, which you have debased with your corrupt and authoritarian society."
According to some of the individuals targeted by the hacker group, they were sent personal emails by Anonymous warning them to avoid attending the race. Citing earlier protest against an F1 race in Bahrain, the group threatened to upend the race, expected to be attended by as many as 300,000.
The hacker group has pledged to attack the province due to what it describe as the, "lack of respect for people's equality and liberty." Thousands have been arrested in nightly protests and under Bill 78, spontaneous protests are all but banned.
The group is asking F1 drivers to join it protest by refusing to cross the start line.
Earlier this week week, Anonymous released a private video showing Premier Jean Charest attending a lavish dinner attended by the province's political and business elite: Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney, George H. W. Bush and Paul Desmarais, the former CEO of Power Corporation.
Thirteen websites have been taken down by Anonymous, including the Quebec Liberal Party, the Surete du Quebec, the province's public security department, coroner's office and the police ethics commission.