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Stratfor Offers ID Protection for Victims of Anonymous Hack

People who may have had their credit card numbers compromised will receive a year's worth of protection and detection services free

Stratfor, the global security intelligence firm that was hacked over the holiday weekend by Anonymous, is offering victims of the breach a year's worth of identity and fraud protection services for free.

In an e-mail to its customers, Stratfor said members who may have had their credit card numbers compromised by the attack on the company's computers will receive protection and detection services from CSID free of charge.

Members unsure whether they've been affected by the breach can check their status at a website provided by Dazzlepod.

Stratfor also noted in its correspondence that its website would remain offline as part of its ongoing investigation into the breach. "We expect this to take approximately a week, but it might take longer," the company said.

According to an analysis of the break-in released by IdentityFinder, 50,277 credit card numbers were clipped by the data thieves, but more than 80 percent of them had already expired. The cyber-bandits also bagged 86,594 e-mail addresses, 27,537 phone numbers and 44,188 encrypted passwords -- 50 percent of them easily crackable, according to IdentityFinder.

Also snatched in the attack were anywhere from 2.7 million to 3.3 million e-mails, which, according to titular Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown, was the real reason behind the attack. "Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were," he explained in a communiqué posted to Pastebin. "Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm's servers."

According to Brown, those e-mails contain evidence of a conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America and other parties to attack and discredit WikiLeaks and other activist groups. What Anonymous will do with those e-mail messages is still unknown, but it is promising some "good news" on the matter "in the next few days."

Following the break-in, another group of hackers claiming to represent Anonymous disavowed the Stratfor break-in. Such apparent squabbling within Anonymous has been typical of the organization, which has had a muddled year of operation.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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