The US’s central bank has confirmed information was stolen from its servers during a hack attack.
The Federal Reserve told the “Reuters” news agency it had contacted individuals whose personal information had been involved.
The Anonymous document contains the names and workplaces of employees at dozens of community banks, credit unions and other lenders, as well as mobile phone numbers and what appear to be computer log-on names and passwords.However, Fed had issued an internal report stating that “passwords were not compromised” and had indicated that the leaked list had been a contact database to be used during natural disasters.
“The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product,” -Fed spokeswoman.
“Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. The incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system.”
Anonymous has linked its alleged attack to wider protests following the suicide of internet freedom campaigner Aaron Swartz.
The 26-year-old had been accused of illegally downloading academic documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s network.
He had been charged with computer intrusion, fraud and data theft, and if found guilty could have faced up to 35 years in prison.
Anonymous and others have called for a change to anti-hacking laws to temper sentences.
MIT has also acknowledged its own systems have suffered a series of hack attacks – the most recent redirected visitors from its site to a page saying “RIP Aaron Swartz”.
It would not be the first time the central bank’s systems have been compromised. In 2010 a Malaysian man pleaded guilty to adding “malicious code” to the Fed’s network via one of its regional banks.