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Hacktivists target Florida International University, University of Miami

Hackers claim thousands of cyber security breaches worldwide

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MIAMI – A team of self-proclaimed activists used the "Team Ghost Shell" Twitter account to continue to protest against institutions that they claim are not doing enough to protect personal data. 

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They claim to have released data that belonged to 30,000 high traffic ranking websites. The longest list belonged to universities across the globe.

They claimed to have breached the websites for the University of Miami's College of Engineering and the Florida International University's Health Department. As they released lists, the users encouraged other hackers to join their campaign.

"Want to help patch them? Report the vulnerabilities," said the Twitter user,while adding the hash tag "Info Sec."

FIU confirmed Friday that after The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine website was hacked they discovered some vulnerabilities and addressed them.

"There was no sensitive information available on that website, so no data breach occurred," FIU spokeswoman Isabel Gamarra said. "We immediately took steps to eliminate the vulnerabilities and rebuild it."

The hackers used multiple social media platforms to introduce their "new concept" of "Dark Hacktivism," which involves cyber attacks to collect data without harming systems. The data was distributed on the web in June, July and August.

To release it they used several paste bin applications that store plain text. Some of the most used were ZeroBin, Hastebin and DPaste

In some cases, the posts included dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers. An account user issued a reminder that the data breaches were meant to show that there were weaknesses that needed to be addressed without causing harm.

"Leaks only come in a preview manner to prove that they have indeed been infiltrated and to raise awareness," the post said.

According to a Pastebin user alleging to reveal their modus operandi, the attacks required vulnerability assessments, which involve finding weaknesses in systems. There were also hackers with knowledge of cryptology, the art of translating encoded information.

"This release is being leaked to act as a general guideline for anyone out there that wishes to use this form of cyber attack," a Patebin user said in a post. 

Following that large data release, a Twitter user identified as "CyberVor" claimed in July to  have hacked the University of Miami again. The user released a July 12 Pastebin.com list of 252 e-mails associated with usernames and passwords.

Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime