The FBI’s email server was apparently hacked on Friday night to send threatening spam emails to over 100,000 people, the agency said.
The sender and motive of the incoherent, rambling emails filled with technical nonsense have yet to be identified by authorities.
The emails alerted recipients that Vinny Triola, a well-known hacker who also owns cybersecurity firm Night Lion Security in conjunction with TheDarkOverlord, could have access to their personal information.
The FBI confirmed the incident on Saturday, but said the hacked systems were “taken offline quickly,” after it had been reported.
“The FBI and CISA are aware of the incident this morning involving fake emails from an @ic.fbi.gov email account,” the agency said in a statement. “This is an ongoing situation and we are not able to provide any additional information at this time.
“The impacted hardware was taken offline quickly upon discovery of the issue. We continue to encourage the public to be cautious of unknown senders and urge you to report suspicious activity ic3.gov or cisa.gov.”
The spam emailsThe Spamhaus Project (a European nonprofit that monitors spam and cyber threats) first identified them. This chart was posted by The Spamhaus Project. shows the spike Fake warnings were a major contributor to email traffic. They were sent in two large waves.
The sender closed off with a “stay safe” from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Threat Detection and Analysis Group, which hasn’t existed for years.
According to Alex Grosjean, a Spamhaus researcher, the emails came from an FBI server and were then received by public-listed administrators of sites listed on American Registry for Internet Numbers.
TheDarkOverlord unsuccessfully attempted to hold Netflix to ransom in 2017 after stealing all of its videos –including unreleased content — and putting them online as torrents.