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Barr resigns from HBGary Federal

Aaron Barr

The chief executive of a security company that had its e-mail accounts ransacked by hackers has resigned.

Aaron Barr, CEO of HB Gary Federal, announced his resignation Feb. 28, some three weeks after the executive and his company became the target of a concentrated attack by a group of social hactivists calling themselves Anonymous. The attack is believed to be in retaliation for Barr's claim that he had infiltrated the group and was going to expose personal information about its members to federal authorities.

"Even though there is a significant amount of information that is being misrepresented in the press, it was my corporate responsibility to find the quickest possible recovery path for HBGary Federal and its employees," Barr told Government Security News in an e-mail message.

"This has been an extremely trying event for all of us, including our families," he continued. "My resignation will hopefully aid the healing and recovery process for the companies as well as allow me to focus on my family and personal recovery."

"I want to express this was a criminal act that was committed upon us," he added.  "Our personal and company property was stolen and then in whole made public without context or explanation."

During its assault on the company, Anonymous defaced HBGary Federal's Web site, hijacked Barr's personal Twitter account and publically disclosed thousands of confidential e-mail messages.

"This has led to immense over-speculation and misinterpretation of information that has damaged our companies, our partners, our employees, and their families," Barr wrote to GSN.  "This was an incredibly destructive act that I hope no other organizations have to endure, but I fear will if these organizations are allowed to carry on in this manner."

Not only was the attack and breach of the company's stores of electronic information embarrassing--comedian Stephen Colbert devoted a segment of his TV show to it--but stories spun from the purloined e-mails continue to appear. On March 1, for example, Bloomberg published an article based on the messages revealing that global financial services firm Morgan Stanley was "hit hard" by the Aurora attacks on U.S. business computer systems by Chinese hackers.

Moreover, the data breach caused by Anonymous will likely hurt  the credibility of HBGary Federal and its parent, HBGary, with its many federal government agencies, including the CIA, NSA and DOD.


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