Hackers have published a mass of data, including passwords, that appears to have been stolen from the governments of Brazil, Zimbabwe, Australia and the Caribbean island Anguilla.
The release of the data was announced through a online activism group Anonymous’s Twitter feed.
One of the files released appears to contain usernames and encrypted passwords for different areas of the Zimbabwean government’s website. These login details include Gmail accounts, as well as gov.zw email accounts. Anonymous also released a file which appears to contain login details to Brazilian government websites.
Sophos security expert Graham Cluely said that the databases were probably taken through a basic hacking technique called SQL injection.
"The hackers send commands to the website which force it to spit out all its underlying data," Cluely said. "It’s not very difficult. How dangerous an SQL attack is depends on what information the website database contains. It may contain usernames and passwords."
Anonymous, which has previously claimed responsibility for hacking attacks on organisations following the WikiLeaks furore, also announced that it has absorbed members of the discontinued hacking group LulzSec. "We may be not quite as funny, but we can assure you: We sail in the same spirit," the group said via its Twitter account. "LulzSec = Anonymous. Who did NOT know?"
The same Twitter account also responded to a tweet from security expert Aaron Barr. "Remember too, @Lulzsec was born from #Anonymous and now has returned. The names have changed but the threat persists," Barr said, a statement which the Anonymous twitter account said was "spot on."