Stratfor

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Stratfor
TypePrivate
IndustryIntelligence
Founded1996 (1996)
HeadquartersAustin, Texas, USA
Key peopleGeorge Friedman (founder, chairman and Chief Intelligence Officer)
Productsstrategic intelligence, tactical intelligence, custom intelligence, written and multimedia analysis, corporate security analysis, geopolitics
Employees70 (2004)
Websitewww.stratfor.com
 
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Stratfor
TypePrivate
IndustryIntelligence
Founded1996 (1996)
HeadquartersAustin, Texas, USA
Key peopleGeorge Friedman (founder, chairman and Chief Intelligence Officer)
Productsstrategic intelligence, tactical intelligence, custom intelligence, written and multimedia analysis, corporate security analysis, geopolitics
Employees70 (2004)
Websitewww.stratfor.com

Strategic Forecasting, Inc., more commonly known as Stratfor, is a global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company. Fred Burton is Stratfor's Vice President of Intelligence.[1]

In early 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing what it says are over 5 million of the company's emails.[2]

Contents

Products

Stratfor has published a daily intelligence briefing since its inception in 1996. Its rise to prominence occurred with the release of its Kosovo Crisis Center during the 1999 NATO airstrikes over Kosovo, which led to publicity in Time magazine, Texas Monthly, and other publications.[3] Before the end of 1999, however, Stratfor had introduced a subscription service through which it offered the majority of its analyses. At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Stratfor made its "breaking news" paragraphs, as well as some notable analyses predicting likely actions to be taken by al-Qaeda and the Bush administration, available freely to the public.

Stratfor has some products available to the public including private briefings, corporate memberships, a publishing business that includes written and multimedia analysis and an iPhone application.[4]

Stratfor has been cited by media such as CNN, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and the BBC as an authority on strategic and tactical intelligence issues.[5] Barron's once referred to it as "The Shadow CIA".[6]

Subscribers

Stratfor's subscribers list was confidential, and the company's publicity list includes Fortune 500 companies and international government agencies.[7] The hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec claimed to have made it public on December 24, 2011 as part of Operation AntiSec, however Stratfor denied that the hack recovered the client list.[8] Stratfor instead claimed that the group only recovered a list of news subscriptions.

Currently Stratfor's products are oriented around individual subscriptions. Some of Stratfor's work remains available free to the public.[9]

2011 hacking incident

It was reported on December 24, 2011 that members of Anonymous had stolen emails and credit-card data from Stratfor's website.[10] According to the one page that remained at Stratfor's web site, the "Site is currently undergoing maintenance[:] Please check back soon".[11] The hackers claimed to have retrieved the company's client list and used stolen credit card information to make donations to various charities exceeding one million dollars.[11]

The hackers claimed to have retrieved over 200 gigabytes of data.[12] The hackers stated that Stratfor was "clueless...when it comes to database security". The passwords were in plain text[13] and many of the passwords were simply the name of the company.[12] The failure to encrypt the passwords was called "an embarrassing mistake for a company specializing in security" by Zoe Fox of CNN.[13] The list of the leaked accounts has been made available online for users to check if they are affected.[14] Stratfor advised employees and clients not to publicly state support for their company, fearing additional attacks against those that did so.[12] The group posted two sets of stolen credit card data, one containing 3,956 items and the other with 13,191 items.[8] Next they posted a set of over 30,000 items.[15][16]

The hackers said they used the credit card data to make donations to various charities, including the Red Cross, Save the Children and CARE.[17] However, one security expert stated that the charities will never receive the payments, claiming that instead, customers will report the fraudulent transaction, and the credit cards will return the money to the customer using a charge back. The charities may risk being assessed large fees as a result, and at the very least, will have to spend time and money processing them.[8]

2012 leak

WikiLeaks announced the initial publishing of over 5 million of the company's emails on February 26, 2012.[18] Anonymous has claimed to have provided WikiLeaks with the data.[19] George Friedman stated that the emails may have been forged or altered by WikiLeaks or Anonymous, but that Stratfor would not validate either.[20] Stratfor has condemned the release as "deplorable".[20] The Guardian referred to the first published leaks of Stratfor material as peering into an "intelligence-industrial complex".[21]

References

  1. ^ "Fred Burton", Amazon, August 23, 2012
  2. ^ "The Global Intelligence Files". WikiLeaks. February 27, 2012. http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html. 
  3. ^ "Spies Like Us", Time, January 25, 1999
  4. ^ Stratfor products
  5. ^ Stratfor media coverage
  6. ^ Laing, Jonathan R. (October 15, 2001). "The Shadow CIA". Barron's magazine. http://online.barrons.com/article/SB1002927557434087960.html. Retrieved December 19, 2010.  (read complete article)
  7. ^ "Brazil Oil Finds May End Reliance on Middle East, Zeihan Says". Bloomberg. April 23, 2008. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aBUoYKhu7PWk&refer=home. Retrieved April 25, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c John P Mello (December 26, 2011). "Confidential Client List Safe from Anonymous, Says Hacker Target". PCWorld. http://www.pcworld.com/article/247028/confidential_client_list_safe_from_anonymous_says_hacker_target.html. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports". Stratfor. https://www.stratfor.com/services/freesignup.php. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  10. ^ "'Anonymous' Claims Hack of Credit Data From Security Group". Wall Street Journal. December 25, 2011. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203479104577120530217909036.html. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b Nicole Perlroth (December 25, 2011). "Hackers Breach the Web Site of Stratfor Global Intelligence". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/technology/hackers-breach-the-web-site-of-stratfor-global-intelligence.html. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Olivia Katrandjian (December 26, 2011). "Hacking Group 'Anonymous' Takes First Step in 'Master Plan,' Vows to Strike Again". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/US/hacking-group-anonymous-vows-hit/story?id=15234349#.TvjoezUS01I. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Zoe Fox (December 26, 2011). "'Anonymous' hackers hit security group". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/26/tech/web/anonymous-hack-stratfor/. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  14. ^ Dazzlepod (December 26, 2011). "Stratfor's customers checklist". Dazzlepod. http://dazzlepod.com/stratfor/. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  15. ^ Norton, Quinn (December 26, 2011). "Antisec Hits Private Intel Firm; Millions of Docs Allegedly Lifted". wired.com. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/antisec-hits-private-intel-firm-million-of-docs-allegedly-lifted/. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ Clark Estes, Adam (December 27, 2011). "Anonymous Hackers Play Tricky 21st-Century Robin Hood". The Atlantic Wire. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/12/anonymous-hackers-play-tricky-21st-century-robin-hood/46677/. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ "'Anonymous' Claims Hack of Credit Data From Security Group". The Wall Street Journal. December 25, 2011. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203479104577120530217909036.html. [dead link]
  18. ^ "The Global Intelligence Files". WikiLeaks. February 27, 2012. http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html. 
  19. ^ Andy Greenberg. "WikiLeaks Tightens Ties To Anonymous In Leak Of Stratfor Emails". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/02/27/wikileaks-tightens-ties-to-anonymous-in-leak-of-stratfor-emails/. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  20. ^ a b "George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012. http://stratfor.com/hacking-news. 
  21. ^ "Stratfor, WikiLeaks and the Obama administration's War on Truth". March 1, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/mar/01/stratfor-wikileaks-obama-administration. 

Further reading

External links