posts about or somewhat related to ‘anonymous’

War on Anonymous: British Spies Attacked Hackers →

NBC News reports that British intelligence engaged in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Anonymous:

A secret British spy unit created to mount cyber attacks on Britain’s enemies has waged war on the hacktivists of Anonymous and LulzSec, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News.

The blunt instrument the spy unit used to target hackers, however, also interrupted the web communications of political dissidents who did not engage in any illegal hacking. It may also have shut down websites with no connection to Anonymous.

According to the documents, a division of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British counterpart of the NSA, shut down communications among Anonymous hacktivists by launching a “denial of service” (DDOS) attack – the same technique hackers use to take down bank, retail and government websites – making the British government the first Western government known to have conducted such an attack.

Writing in Wired, McGill University’s Gabriella Coleman says the British government tactics are an extrajudicial danger that affects us all:

Whether you agree with the activities of Anonymous or not — which have included everything from supporting the Arab Spring protests to DDoSing copyright organizations to doxing child pornography site users — the salient point is that democratic governments now seem to be using their very tactics against them.

The key difference, however, is that while those involved in Anonymous can and have faced their day in court for those tactics, the British government has not. When Anonymous engages in lawbreaking, they are always taking a huge risk in doing so. But with unlimited resources and no oversight, organizations like the GCHQ (and theoretically the NSA) can do as they please. And it’s this power differential that makes all the difference

…But here’s the thing: You don’t even need to believe in or support DDoS as a protest tactic to find the latest Snowden revelations troubling. There are clearly defined laws and processes that a democratic government is supposed to follow. Yet here, the British government is apparently throwing out due process and essentially proceeding straight to the punishment — using a method that is considered illegal and punishable by years in prison.

FJP: Read that last line again. So, for example, a hacker fined $183,000 and put on probation for participating in 1 minute of a DDoS attack. And here’s a search across the FBI’s Web site for its prosecutions for DDoS attacks.

New World Order calls out Facebook’s “Corrupt Agenda”

The New World Order is a group of anonymous people who claim Facebook (among several other sites and organizations) is corrupt and dangerous. The video cautions against using Facebook due to qualms with freedom and privacy.

Check out The New World Order’s Facebook page?

At a young age you can have more influence than at any time in journalistic history and the mistakes you make at a younger age are more visible than ever before.

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Columbia University, to the New York Times about last week’s indictment of Matthew Keys. The 26-year-old deputy social media editor at Reuters was charged by federal prosecutors with assisting members of Anonymous in defacing a 2010 Los Angeles Times story. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Keys could face fines of up to $750,000 and 25 years in prison.

New York Times, Hacker Case Leads to Calls for Better Law.

The hackers changed the headline of a Times story from “Pressure Builds in House to Pass Tax-Cut Package” to “Pressure Builds in House to Elect CHIPPY 1337.”

Reuters' Matthew Keys indicted on conspiracy charges related to the hacker group Anonymous →

shortformblog:

Matthew Keys, a deputy social media editor at Thomson Reuters, has been charged in an indictment for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacker group “Anonymous” to hack into a Tribune Company website, the Justice Department announced today.

Keys, a former web producer for the Tribune Co-owned television station KTXL FOX 40, in Sacramento, Calif., was charged with providing members of the group with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to the Tribune Co., according to the DoJ’s press release.

SFB: In case you’d like to read the indictment, here it is.

Quick statement: Matt’s a good friend, and we’ve worked closely together for a couple of years, bouncing ideas off of one another and the whole bit. I talked to him three hours ago. We had no knowledge of this situation, and offer no other statement other than to hope that one of our favorite people is OK. Good luck, Matt. — Ernie @ SFB

FJP: Definitely good luck. One of our favorites.

We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for a while. In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange. It goes without saying that we oppose any plans of extraditing Julian to the USA. He is a content provider and publisher, not a criminal.

But Wikileaks is not - or should not be - about Julian Assange alone. The idea behind Wikileaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise being kept secret by industries and governments. Information we strongly believe the public has a right to know. But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That’s great for him but not much of our interest. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public…

…The conclusion for us is that we cannot support anymore what Wikileaks has become - the One Man Julian Assange show. But we also want to make clear that we still support the original idea behind Wikileaks: Freedom of information and transparent governments. Sadly we realize that Wikileaks does not stand for this idea anymore.

Anonymous, Statement on Wikileaks.

Background: On Wednesday, Wikileaks began releasing 200,000 “Global Intelligence files” containing some five million emails from and to the private US intelligence firm Stratfor.

Wikileaks alleges that because of the close connection between the company and the government, “these GI Files releases will shed insight into key U.S. federal election players.” For example, the first release of almost 14,000 files are from 2011 and contain the keywords “republican”, “GOP”, “Romney”, “RNC” and “GOP”.

Further, the files were originally obtained by Anonymous-related groups.

However, when visitors went to Wikileaks to take a look at the files they were hit with a paywall. This was a Javascript overlay requesting a donation. Without making one, a user couldn’t access the documents.

And that set Anonymous off. Or, since it’s a decentralized activist group, it set off those behind @YourAnonNews who wrote to their 640,000 followers, “This, dear friends will lose you all allies you still had. @Wikileaks, please die in a fire, kthxbai.”

On Tracking Anonymous

Here’s your weekly Gabriella Coleman (well, third in a series of four), whose thoughts on WikiLeaks and open source journalism you should check out if you haven’t yet.

She studies hackers from an anthropological perspective and here, explains how she finds them and tracks them. Specifically, she discusses what she’s learned about the group Anonymous, how they organize themselves and what hacking culture is like. Very interesting.

Gabriella Coleman is Assistant Professor and Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University.

Anonymous Hacks Hundreds of Chinese Government Sites
Via International Business Times:

The Anonymous hacking collective has landed in China, home of some of the most tightly controlled internet access in the world, and defaced hundreds of government websites in what appears to be a massive online operation against Beijing…
…The defaced homepages carry a statement against the Chinese government along with the traditional Anonymous banner and the generational anthem Baba O’Riley by The Who played in background.
"All these years, the Chinese communist government has subjected its people to unfair laws and unhealthy processes," reads the statement. "Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall."
It contains also a message directed at the Chinese people: “Each of you suffers from the tyranny of that regime which knows nothing about you,” reads the message. “We are with you. […]The silence of all other countries highlights the lack of democracy and justice in China. It’s unbearable.”
The defacements also provide a link with tips on how to bypass state censorship.

On Pastebin, Anonymous lists the sites they’ve claimed to have hacked. And yes, Baba O’Riley does play if/when you go to them.

Anonymous Hacks Hundreds of Chinese Government Sites

Via International Business Times:

The Anonymous hacking collective has landed in China, home of some of the most tightly controlled internet access in the world, and defaced hundreds of government websites in what appears to be a massive online operation against Beijing…

…The defaced homepages carry a statement against the Chinese government along with the traditional Anonymous banner and the generational anthem Baba O’Riley by The Who played in background.

"All these years, the Chinese communist government has subjected its people to unfair laws and unhealthy processes," reads the statement. "Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall."

It contains also a message directed at the Chinese people: “Each of you suffers from the tyranny of that regime which knows nothing about you,” reads the message. “We are with you. […]The silence of all other countries highlights the lack of democracy and justice in China. It’s unbearable.”

The defacements also provide a link with tips on how to bypass state censorship.

On Pastebin, Anonymous lists the sites they’ve claimed to have hacked. And yes, Baba O’Riley does play if/when you go to them.

Hacking Occupying Iowa

Anonymous is out with a video that says both the Democratic and Republican parties are corrupt and calls for a shutdown of the Iowa caucuses.

This is separate and distinct from Occupy Des Moines, an OWS offshoot that is currently planning protest actions surrounding the caucuses.

Via the Des Moines Register:

But Occupy Des Moines leaders say there’s a difference: The Iowa group’s planned sit-ins at presidential campaign headquarters are not intended to shut down the Iowa caucuses, they say. Rather, they want to target presidential candidates and big-moneyed corporations that activists say are pulling the strings behind the scenes.

While there are similarities between the groups’ beliefs, they are separate, Occupy Des Moines participants emphasized Sunday.

“I don’t like it one bit,” former Rep. Ed Fallon, a Des Moines Democrat and participant in Occupy Des Moines, said of the video on Sunday. “It doesn’t fit with my definition of Gandhi- and Martin Luther King Jr.-style nonviolence. The core of nonviolent action is truth. And if you are doing everything you can to be truthful, then you should be up front and transparent. No distorting of your voice or hiding.” 

In Open Letter, Anonymous Taunts FBI →

In an open letter to the FBI, the hacker groups Anonymous and Lulz Security write:

Hello thar FBI and international law authorities,

We recently stumbled across the following article with amazement and a certain amount of amusement:

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/20/138555799/fbi-arrests-alleged-anonymous-hackers

The statements made by deputy assistant FBI director Steve Chabinsky in this article clearly seem to be directed at Anonymous and Lulz Security, and we are happy to provide you with a response.

You state:

"We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable, [even if] hackers can be believed to have social causes, it’s entirely unacceptable to break into websites and commit unlawful acts."

Now let us be clear here, Mr. Chabinsky, while we understand that you and your colleagues may find breaking into websites unacceptable, let us tell you what WE find unacceptable:

  • Governments lying to their citizens and inducing fear and terror to keep them in control by dismantling their freedom piece by piece.
  • Corporations aiding and conspiring with said governments while taking advantage at the same time by collecting billions of funds for federal contracts we all know they can’t fulfil.
  • Lobby conglomerates who only follow their agenda to push the profits higher, while at the same time being deeply involved in governments around the world with the only goal to infiltrate and corrupt them enough so the status quo will never change.

These governments and corporations are our enemy. And we will continue to fight them, with all methods we have at our disposal, and that certainly includes breaking into their websites and exposing their lies.

We are not scared any more. Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea. Any attempt to do so will make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir. It is our mission to help these people and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - you can possibly to do make us stop.

"The Internet has become so important to so many people that we have to ensure that the World Wide Web does not become the Wild Wild West."

Let me ask you, good sir, when was the Internet not the Wild Wild West? Do you really believe you were in control of it at any point? You were not.

That does not mean that everyone behaves like an outlaw. You see, most people do not behave like bandits if they have no reason to. We become bandits on the Internet because you have forced our hand. The Anonymous bitchslap rings through your ears like hacktivism movements of the 90s. We’re back - and we’re not going anywhere. Expect us.

As Michele Bachman might say, these folk have “choots-pah”.

Anonymous Does Hip Hop

In related news:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has raided the homes of over a dozen alleged “hacktivists” associated with Anonymous in New York, New Jersey, Florida and California this morning, according to Fox News. The main Anonymous Twitter accounts, the group’s primary mode of communication with the world, have been silent but a correlated account @ThaiAnonymous has weighed in on the raids.

"It doesnt matter how many people the ‘FBI’ arrest.. wether they are core members or not.. #anonymous have started something unstoppable."

Anonymous and related hacker group LulzSec have angered governments across the United States and Europe in recent weeks with an “AntiSec” campaign designed to attack government agencies and contractors. It was just a matter of time before the FBI tracked some members down. Yet, who are they and what their involvement is remains uncertain.

What Chilling Effect Might Hacktivist Groups Like LulzSec Be Having On Free Speech? →

It seems a day does not go by without news of a high-profile hack on the website of a popular corporation (Sony), media outlet (PBS), or the online presence of an unpopular government (Malaysia).

While the perpetrators may, at times, purport to aspire to expand people’s online liberties, the attack against blog network Gawker, in retribution for calling hackers “code kids,” is one example of how unwieldy and venal these net vigilantes can be. Blog commenters and  journalists have regularly expressed concern that their words could be cause for an attack by the same groups so adamantly defending the right for all voices to be heard.

It's Hard to Report When Your Subject is Anonymous →

Despite high profile activity such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks against Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa, the digital activist group Anonymous is notoriously difficult to report on.

Unlike traditional groups, there’s no clear leader or spokesperson. 

Instead, Anonymous organizes like the Web it uses as its platform: as a series of weak and strong links, with a variety of hubs representing the group’s activities. 

For example, over the past two months, Anonymous has claimed responsibility for digital attacks in support of pro-democracy movements against governmental agencies and resources in Egypt and Tunisia, and against Zimbabwe for its censorship of WikiLeaks documents.

Most recently, Anonymous exposed internal emails from the security firm HBGary Federal that demonstrate how it was about embark on a disinformation campaign against pro-union organizers in the United States.

Still, news organizations can’t quite put their finger on who they are, and why they do what they do.

Writes Gillian Terzis in The Altantic:

For the most part, the mainstream media remains befuddled by Anonymous, not knowing quite what to make of the group’s mélange of illegal activity, political motivations and sardonic sense of humor. Moreover, as the group does not visibly toil on any ideological coalface, media outlets have been tempted to portray Anonymous as a group of lonesome hackers with nebulous but shadowy intent. Mass rallies — like the ones in Wisconsin — make for an easy, linear media narrative. But electronic subterfuge and virtual activism are often depicted as a bloodless sport — the least compelling kind.

Or, as Chris Landers wrote a few years back:

Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they’re travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.