- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2022

A hacking group is targeting pro-life supporters and states with anti-abortion laws in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark ruling that recognized the constitutional right to abortion.

SiegedSec claimed it victimized Arkansas and Kentucky and took government employees’ personally identifiable information. 

“THE ATTACKS WILL CONTINUE! Our main targets are any pro-life entities, including government servers of the states with anti-abortion laws,” the hacking group wrote on Telegram. “KEEP PROTESTING, KEEP YOURSELF SAFE, F—- THE GOVERNMENT.” 

The group said it is leaking files totaling about 7 to 8 gigabytes from government servers belonging to Arkansas and Kentucky that contain employees’ information. 

SiegedSec published screenshots of files containing personnel info and property data and published a link to a zip file containing the alleged government data. 

“Like many, we are also pro-choice, one shouldn’t be denied access to abortion,” the group said on Telegram. “As added pressure to the U.S. government, we have leaked many internal documents and files retrieved from Kentucky’s and Arkansas’ government server.” 

SEE ALSO: South Dakota governor says doctors, not mothers, will be prosecuted under state abortion ban

Arkansas officials said they became aware of hackers claiming they breached Arkansas systems on Sunday night. An initial analysis found only public record data was seen or downloaded, said Shealyn Sowers, spokesperson for Gov. Asa Hutchinson. 

“The systems that were involved did not sit on the State of Arkansas network but rather in a public cloud provider,” Ms. Sowers said in a statement. “We continue to remain vigilant as we go about the process of keeping our systems secure.”

Jill Midkiff, a spokesperson for Kentucky’s Finance and Administration Cabinet, said the Commonwealth Office of Technology is investigating SiegedSec’s claims.

“Information pertaining to Kentucky has been identified and while initial indications are that this is publicly available data that does not include personally identifying information, the state will continue its investigation,” Ms. Midkiff said in an email. “Federal law enforcement partners have been notified and COT’s information security officers remain on high alert.”

Little is known about the hacking group targeting pro-life supporters and governments with anti-abortion policies. 

SiegedSec emerged as a new hacking group in February, appearing online days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to data company DarkOwl. 

DarkOwl said earlier this month that the group “quickly progressed in lethality,” including through several thousand compromised LinkedIn profiles and the defacement of websites and domains.  

SiegedSec also has obtained leaked emails or databases from at least 30 companies since February, per DarkOwl, but the data company’s analysts have not determined that the hackers are motivated by money. 

“The group has leaked a significant volume of stolen data from compromised networks, but there is no indication the group uses ransomware nor has attempted to sell the stolen data,” DarkOwl analysts wrote on the company’s website. “According to the themes of their social media posts, and the ‘furry-centric’ brand they’ve embodied, the group appears to be motivated by the sheer fun of the experience, the potential clout gained by publicly mocking organizations with insufficient information security controls.”

DarkOwl said it has observed SiegedSec victims in the U.S., Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa and other countries. 

The hacking group has amplified its message online but run into obstacles. A Twitter account affiliated with the group is suspended from the social media platform. 

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on the group’s activities on its service. 

Pro-life groups are not the only ones engaged in the abortion debate facing cyberthreats. For example, the Los Angeles branch of Planned Parenthood suffered a data breach affecting approximately 400,000 patients last year, according to The Associated Press.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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