The federal Conservatives now say private information about over 5,000 party contributors was indeed downloaded by the hackers who pranked the prime minister this week.
Party spokesman Fred DeLorey issued a statement Wednesday saying data containing names, addresses and email addresses of donors was taken by hackers.
He said no “useful” credit card information was accessed, but in some cases, the first four and last four digits of credit cards were compromised.
On Tuesday, a hacker or hackers broke into the Tory website security system and posted a false alert that Stephen Harper had been rushed to a Toronto hospital after choking on a hash brown.
The notice sent journalists scurrying to confirm the rumour, which proved to be a hoax.
DeLorey insisted at the time that the party’s database and email systems were not affected by the hack. That seemed to be taken as a taunt by the hackers, who go by the Twitter account LulzRaft.
“The Conservatives said no contributor data was accessed … I wonder where this sample came from then!,” LulzRaft tweeted Wednesday morning.
The hacker linked about 5,631 names and emails to a text-sharing website under the heading, “Donation Contributors — A Small Sample.”
DeLorey said that although much of the information is available on the Elections Canada site, the party intends to contact people whose data was taken.
“We are very disturbed by this hacking and will continue our internal investigation, as well as work with the authorities on this matter,” he said.
“To our knowledge, the person or people responsible may have been linked to hacks on Sony, Nintendo, and PBS, and we will be reviewing our own practices and will make the necessary changes to prevent something like this happening in the future.”
A spokesman for Elections Canada said its website only posts the names, city and postal code of those who contribute over $200. It does not reveal email or street addresses, nor any donors who contribute less than $200.
The RCMP would neither confirm nor deny they are investigating.
The motivation behind the hack remains a mystery, although the tweets from LulzRaft suggest it was all for fun and perhaps a little mischief. In one of several tweets, LulzRaft said journalists were off line suggesting enmity toward the Conservatives or Harper.
“The dots connected by the media are imaginary. No discrimination by party … we just don’t like politicians,” LulzRaft tweeted.
Nor was LulzRaft pleased with Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s response that sending false rumours about the prime minister’s health was “despicable.”
“It definitely was a joke. The article would have been a lot more realistic if we weren’t thinking of the PM’s family,” the hackers tweeted back.
As if to prove the point, LulzRaft said to show no hard feelings, the time had come for “Conservative appreciation day.”
LulzRaft apparently hacked into Husky Energy’s website Wednesday morning and inserted a notice promising free gas to any Conservative who used the coupon code “hash-browns.”
The hoax notice was quickly removed from the Husky website.
As for hacking into the Conservative website, LulzRaft said it was as easy as pie.
“The funny thing is, we had more trouble using the conservative party CMS [content management system] then (sic) we did hacking the site … literally.”