The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research hub working for the US Department of Energy, confirmed on Wednesday that it had suffered a cybersecurity breach earlier this week. A group of “gay furry hackers” called SiegedSec has claimed responsibility.
The “massive data breach” at INL happened on Sunday night and resulted in employee addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account information and other private data getting posted online, according to local media.
The breach happened “in a federally approved vendor system” that “supports INL cloud Human Resources services,” a spokesperson for INL told the outlet Endgadget on Wednesday, adding that the lab took “immediate action to protect employee data.”
INL is located in Idaho Falls, a community of about 67,000 residents in the eastern part of the state. It has more than 5,000 employees and works on researching nuclear reactors and sustainable energy projects for the federal government.
Local media initially did not name the suspected hackers, but a group calling itself SiegedSec eventually took responsibility, posting some of the purloined information on social media.
“We’re willing to make a deal with INL. If they research creating irl catgirls we will take down this post,” SiegedSec wrote in a message announcing the leak on Monday.
A catgirl is a type of character seen in some Japanese anime and manga, usually a human girl with cat ears, tail, or other characteristics. “IRL” stands for “in real life.” SiegedSec described itself as a group of gay “furry” hackers, referring to a fetish involving anthropomorphic animals.
The group has claimed responsibility for leaking hundreds of NATO documents in early October, as well as hacking several US state governments in June, ostensibly for passing laws against “gender-affirming” surgical procedures. On that occasion, SiegedSec leaked approximately 180 gigabytes of data from Texas alone, and said it had hacked Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and South Carolina as well.
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