Anonymous hackers tried to blackmail tech company Symantec for $50,000 in January, and when Symantec failed to pay up, source codes for Symantec's software were released online, Reuters news agency reported. Symantec's pcAnywhere and Norton Anti-virus software source code was published in a 1.27 GB Pirate Bay dump Feb. 6 after e-mail negotiations with a hacker calling himself YamaTough broke down.
"In January an individual claiming to be part of the 'Anonymous' group attempted to extort a payment from Symantec in exchange for not publicly posting stolen Symantec source code they claimed to have in their possession," Symantec spokesman Cris Paden said in a statement.
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"Symantec conducted an internal investigation into this incident and also contacted law enforcement given the attempted extortion and apparent theft of intellectual property. The communications with the person(s) attempting to extort the payment from Symantec were part of the law enforcement investigation. Given that the investigation is still ongoing, we are not going to disclose the law enforcement agencies involved and have no additional information to provide."
So, Symantec was working with a law enforcement agency to try and trick the hacker into giving the source code back, but YamaTough maintained he was the one pulling the ruse.
"We tricked them into offering us a bribe so we could humiliate them," YamaTough told Reuters.
An undercover agent posed as a Symantec employee, going by the alias Sam Thomas and began trading e-mails with hackers over the stolen codes Jan. 18. YamaTough decided to post those e-mails Feb. 6 as well, using the Web site Pastebin instead of Pirate Bay.
"How much do you consider ENOUGH to pay us in order to work all the issues out? Name the price, Clock's tikin," the hacker wrote Jan. 25. Symantec never paid, and the source code files were published.
"Since no code yet being released and our email communication wasn't also released we give you 10 minutes to decide which way you go after that two of your codes fly to the moon PCAnywhere and Norton Antivirus totaling 2350MB in size (rar) 10 minutes if no reply from you we consider it a START this time we've made mirrors so it will be hard for you to get rid of it," he said.
Hackers had stolen the info back in 2006, but Symantec only became aware of what exactly was stolen this year.