Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Feb 2011 10:45 UTC
Internet & Networking Absolutely fantastic article over at Ars about a guy trying to hunt down Anonymous - which cost him and his company dearly. "Aaron Barr believed he had penetrated Anonymous. The loose hacker collective had been responsible for everything from anti-Scientology protests to pro-Wikileaks attacks on MasterCard and Visa, and the FBI was now after them. But matching their online identities to real-world names and locations proved daunting. Barr found a way to crack the code. [...] But had he?" A comment to the article says it best: "Personally, I'm rooting for Anonymous. I may not care for their attitude or their methods sometimes, but I think a little fear and caution on the worst excesses of those who would impair our rights is good thing." Governments and companies should fear the people - not the other way around.
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RE[3]: Governments
by Laurence on Thu 10th Feb 2011 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Governments "
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I rather their actions be childish than physically harmful.

In this day and age, "Virtual" attacks are just as severe as causing physical damage.

Let me quote from this very article:
But within a day, Anonymous had managed to infiltrate HBGary Federal's website and take it down, replacing it with a pro-Anonymous message ("now the Anonymous hand is bitch-slapping you in the face.") Anonymous got into HBGary Federal's e-mail server, for which Barr was the admin, and compromised it, extracting over 40,000 e-mails and putting them up on The Pirate Bay, all after watching his communications for 30 hours, undetected. In an after-action IRC chat, Anonymous members bragged about how they had gone even further, deleting 1TB of HBGary backup data.

They even claimed to have wiped Barr's iPad remotely.

The situation got so bad for the security company that HBGary, the company which partially owns HBGary Federal, sent its president Penny Leavy into the Anonymous IRC chat rooms to swim with the sharks—and to beg them to leave her company alone.


That's a pretty harsh form of "protest" if you ask me.

Edited 2011-02-10 15:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Governments
by AaronD on Thu 10th Feb 2011 16:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Governments "
AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

" I rather their actions be childish than physically harmful.

In this day and age, "Virtual" attacks are just as severe as causing physical damage.
"

Did anyone die? Did anyone loose a drop of blood? Did anyone even scrape a knee? Were any buildings burnt down?

Let us keep "virtual" in perspective. Physical damage is several magnitudes worse than any kind of virtual damage as anyone in any of the world's hotspots can attest.

Edited 2011-02-10 16:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Governments
by Laurence on Thu 10th Feb 2011 17:54 in reply to "RE[4]: Governments "
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Did anyone die?

That's a somewhat extreme position to take. There are several magnitudes of "bad" before you reach murder.

Did anyone loose a drop of blood? Did anyone even scrape a knee?

I'd sooner have a "scraped knee" or cut arm than lose my job because the company I worked for had to lay off staff due to the cost of virtual attacks.

Wounds heal themselves however bills don't.

Were any buildings burnt down?

Physical damage is several magnitudes worse than any kind of virtual damage as anyone in any of the world's hotspots can attest.

Buildings can be rebuilt. Smashed windows can be replaced and so forth.
Yes it might place a financial burden, but so does a loss of virtual data.

Your comments are as if we, as a global population, have somehow forgotten how to build and repair tactile property that we once constructed.

Let us keep "virtual" in perspective.

I am. given the high value and global dependance on "data" - which essentially is just a virtual commodity, I'd say "virtual" attacks can be pretty serious.

We live our whole lives dictated by the strength of the local and global economies - all of which is essentially just a virtual number.

Our salaries are calculated virtually on computers then sent "virtually" to other computers (often, for example, via BACS). It's all a virtual process. Nothing physical has traded.
Our modern day communication (e-mail, text, social networks and even phone calls) are all handed "virtually" by computers. We don't use carrier pidgens nor smoke signals - we depend upon virtual bits on a computer to be traded, or in the case of phone calls, the telephone exchange software to correctly relay the number I dialled to the requested destination. Again, it's all a virtual process. We no longer have telephonists working behind huge banks of physical sockets using jumper leads to make a phone connection. A have computers to do this virtually instead.

Nearly every single aspect of our modern day lives is dictated by computers. So don't give me this bullshit that "virtual" data is trivial and irrelevant.

In fact, if anyone would spout that crap, the person I'd least expect to hear it from would be a geek on an IT news forum.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Governments - virtual
by jabbotts on Thu 10th Feb 2011 20:37 in reply to "RE[4]: Governments "
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Sure, let's keep "virtual" in perspective; are all staff at the affected companies decision makers deserving of criminal attack?

I mean, this is excessive.. even as a network attack it's excessive. It'd probably put a smaller company close to bankruptcy or at least shatter it's ability to do business with others. Yeah, I know.. the plan was to cause the company harm but how many of the employed staff deserved the harm? Deleting backups is far beyond just affecting Barr (the target of the attacks).

This was children running rampant on keyboard courage. This was group-think maliciousness not responsible political outcry. Remember it's about the LOLs.. the kids join into the actions that get them the best LOLs not that produce the most effective protests.

If you really think this kind of virtual attack is no biggy.. please post your personal contact information, internet connection details and details for any connected systems in your home. If you'll just sign this waver, we'll get under way and you can show how it's no biggy to be digitally brutalized.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Governments
by rycamor on Thu 10th Feb 2011 17:03 in reply to "RE[3]: Governments "
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

" I rather their actions be childish than physically harmful.

In this day and age, "Virtual" attacks are just as severe as causing physical damage.

Let me quote from this very article:
But within a day, Anonymous had managed to infiltrate HBGary Federal's website and take it down, replacing it with a pro-Anonymous message ("now the Anonymous hand is bitch-slapping you in the face.") Anonymous got into HBGary Federal's e-mail server, for which Barr was the admin, and compromised it, extracting over 40,000 e-mails and putting them up on The Pirate Bay, all after watching his communications for 30 hours, undetected. In an after-action IRC chat, Anonymous members bragged about how they had gone even further, deleting 1TB of HBGary backup data.

They even claimed to have wiped Barr's iPad remotely.

The situation got so bad for the security company that HBGary, the company which partially owns HBGary Federal, sent its president Penny Leavy into the Anonymous IRC chat rooms to swim with the sharks—and to beg them to leave her company alone.


That's a pretty harsh form of "protest" if you ask me.
"

The question is not whether it's harsh, but whether it's justified. HBGary may be 'private industry', but the fact that it is taking public funds makes it complicit in the war against personal privacy and government transparency--and this war is directly linked to the fact that Americans are being sent into harm's way in the Middle East--for what, exactly? Wikileaks and Anonymous represent an attempt to restore the balance in a time when both governments and the financial elite* are showing complete disregard for the private citizen. Comparable times in history show that sooner or later there is a popular revolt, and there is always violence of some sort. Those who do not learn from history...

*Banking has always been a part of war--in fact often an instigator of it. Also see: bailouts, currency manipulation, debt abuse... sooner or later the hard-working private citizen needs to realize he is being used.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: Governments
by Laurence on Thu 10th Feb 2011 18:15 in reply to "RE[4]: Governments "
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I do appreciate all of that and wasn't blind to it even prior to your post. However 2 wrongs don't always make a right.

The question is not whether it's harsh, but whether it's justified.


This is where I sit on the fence.
I don't agree with Barr in the slightest. However I also can't help but think that sometimes Anonymous' motives are far from genuine.

Take the example I gave earlier - DDOSing was not only expected but also understandable. The harvesting of the e-mails was perhaps forgivable as well given the potential personal threat they held. However (and if they're to be believed) the remote wiping of Barr's iPhone and the 1TB of erased data seems a little more vindictive than protest or even "self-defence".

Sometimes I feel like Anonymous treat this like a game rather than them taking a reasoned political stand.

Whether that is just due my interpretation of their use of language (eg them using internet memes to express a point) or whether my point is true, I haven't a clue. I'm not even sure anyone really knows.

We see it time and time again throughout history where some individuals use the pretence of political protest to exercise their own destructive traits. A current example is how - in the UK - recent Uni fee protests were often over-shadowed by individuals using said protests as an excuse to cause a trail of destruction. Kids like that are "in it for a laugh" rather than standing up for what they believe in.

So I prefer to sit on the fence. I agree with some of Anonymous' actions - many of them in fact. I also agree with the general motives behind their protests. I just don't trust their motives.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Governments
by Soulbender on Fri 11th Feb 2011 21:44 in reply to "RE[3]: Governments "
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Bah, standard silly-kids script-kiddie bragging.
Come back when you can do something constructive with your talents Anonymous, presuming you have any (which is very much in doubt).

Reply Parent Score: 1