Protests against Apple and Foxconn due to furor over reports about working conditions have gone digital.
A group known as SwaggSec has successfully hacked computers at Foxconn, a multi-national electronics manufacturer, and posted the stolen data to The Pirate Bay website. The data contains usernames and passwords for company employees, and the blog 9to5Mac claimed to have verified the logins worked on more than one Foxconn server before their access was shut down.
News of the hack comes as protesters paid a visit today to Apple stores around the world to deliver petitions demanding the improvement of working conditions at factories run by Apple suppliers in China and other countries.
According to reports, SwaggSec compromised the company by taking advantage of an Internet Explorer vulnerability. The group’s motives seem to be as much about anarchy as protesting working conditions as they are about anarchy, and the group contends it as a collection of greyhats more than hacktivists.
“So Foxconn thinks they got 'em some swagger because they work with the Big Boys from Intel, Microsoft, IBM, and Apple? Fool, You don't know what swagger is,” the hacking group wrote in a post on Pastebin. “They say you got your employees all worked up, committing suicide 'n stuff. They say you hire chinese workers 'cause you think the taiwanese are elite. We got somethin' served up good...real good.”
“We enjoy exposing governments and corporations, but the more prominent reason, is the hilarity that ensues when compromising and destroying an infrastructure,” the group continued. “How unethical right? Perhaps for the layman who has conformed to a society raised by the government that actively seeks to maintain power and quell threats to their ventures. But to us and many others, the destruction of an infrastructure, the act of destruction that does not affect an individual, brings a sense of newfound content, a unique feeling, along with a new chance to start your own venture.”
In response to the attack, Foxconn reportedly took down a website that explains the services it offers to some of its partners, including Apple, Cisco and Acer. The site was still offline as of publication.
Foxconn has been the target of criticism about workplace conditions for years, with such complaints picking up steam after a spate of suicides by Foxconn employees during 2010. Foxconn has defended its practices, and Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to Apple employees in January stating that his company cares about every worker in its global supply chain.