The nation’s largest police union recently suffered a data breach enabling hackers to steal hundreds of private internal documents including bargaining contracts, the names and addresses of several police officers, and controversial threads from the Order’s member-only online forum.
The Fraternal Order of Police (the “Order”), which represents about 330,000 law enforcement officers across the United States, said the FBI was investigating after 2.5GB of data was taken from its servers, published online, and swiftly shared across social media.
The Order’s president, Chuck Canterbury, blamed “anti-police rhetoric” for the hack. “This is just a group that is negative towards law enforcement,” he stated.
In an online posting, an activist using the screen name “Cthulhu” denied being “anti-police” but admitted that he or she had released the files after receiving them from a source who wished to remain anonymous and wanted them made public. He explains that the documents were posted “[i]n light of an ever increasing divide between the police groups and the citizens of the US.”
“I believe the police should have corruption exposed as all other places should also have wrongdoing exposed when they are in a public office. However, the information should not be used to attack the police; it should be used to help them address their problems and correct them. A society cannot be at peace when the citizens and the enforcers of the law are at war. Instead, it is the duty of every citizen to support their democratic society, even if in the short term it may seem like you are attacking them.”
“My role in this is to ensure the information is accessible to all so that a proper analysis may be done by both established media outlets and individual investigators who wish to expose any wrongdoing,” he added.
The Order has called in security contractors to investigate the hack which has been traced to an IP address in the UK. “They were able to feed our system a pseudo-encryption key that the system should not have accepted but did because of software errors,” he said.