The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) has shut down its QuikNews e-mail messaging system after unidentified hackers used it to broadcast disturbing images of civilian casualties in Iraq.
The breach of security is a huge embarassment for the US Treasury Department agency, which is responsible for enforcing regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The mass e-mail to Fincen subscribers included photos of pools of blood and an Iraqi child in a hosptial bed and contained the message: "take back your monsters (army)/you killed my father and mother/what you want???/ i know (oil) [sic]."
In a statement, Fincen sought to reassure subscribers that "Bank Secrecy Act data and all other sensitive information maintained on internal systems by Fincen are secure and were in no way, shape or form compromised by this incident."
The agency says the QuikNews system resides outside Fincen’s security perimeter and is not connected to any other Fincen systems.
As an added precaution, the deparment shut down its Web sites over the weekend and replaced and updated security applications and equipment.