Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Anonymous David Sends An E Message To Goliath

Looks like WikiLeaks has some sophisticated supporters who are capable of sending some serious email.  The following is from Huffington Post.

Operation Payback: WikiLeaks Supporters' Cyberattacks Target Online 'Enemies'

An online group calling itself Anonymous is attacking sites around the web perceived to be "enemies" of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. This appears to be the group responsible for the shutdown of the Mastercard site earlier today, owing to Mastercard's refusal to process payments to the group. After the site went down, the group posted a statement that read in part:
We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks, including multibillion-dollar companies such as PayPal. Twitter, you're next for censoring #WikiLeaks discussion. The major shitstorm has begun.

Other targets that have already been targeted, or threatened with attack, range from Sarah Palin to Sen. Joe Lieberman to PayPal, the last of which recently admitted to bowing to U.S. pressure to break ties with the site.


Just who is this group Anonymous? Enquiring minds want to know.  From the Guardian UK:

.....A 22-year-old spokesman, who wished to be known only as "Coldblood", told the Guardian that the group – which is about a thousand strong – is "quite a loose band of people who share the same kind of ideals" and wish to be a force for "chaotic good".  (Chaotic good is my favorite classification for all my characters when I play any fantasy role playing game.  These folks are apparently playing for real.)

There is no real command structure in the group, the London-based spokesman said, while most of its members are teenagers who are "trying to make an impact on what happens with the limited knowledge they have". But others are parents, IT professionals and people who happen to have time – and resources – on their hands....

....Anonymous was born out of the influential internet messageboard 4chan, a forum popular with hackers and gamers, in 2003. The group's name is a tribute to 4chan's early days, when any posting to its forums where no name was given was ascribed to "Anonymous". But the ephemeral group, which picks up causes "whenever it feels like it", has now "gone beyond 4Chan into something bigger", its spokesman said.

The membership of Anonymous is impossible to pin down; it has been described as being like a flock of birds – the only way you can identify members is by what they're doing together. Essentially, once enough people on the 4chan message boards decide that an issue is worth pursuing in large enough numbers, it becomes an "Anonymous" cause.

The group counts the current campaign in support of WikiLeaks as "probably one of [its] most high profile yet". The group gained notoriety more recently for a number of sustained assaults against the sites of US music industry body RIAA, Kiss musician Gene Simmons, and solicitors' firms involved in lawsuits against people suspected of illegal filesharing. In early 2008, Anonymous launched a campaign against the Church of Scientology, bringing down related websites and promising to "expel" the religion from the internet.

"We're against corporations and government interfering on the internet," Coldblood added. "We believe it should be open and free for everyone. Governments shouldn't try to censor because they don't agree with it.

"Anonymous is supporting WikiLeaks not because we agree or disagree with the data that is being sent out, but we disagree with any from of censorship on the internet. If we let WikiLeaks fall without a fight then governments will think they can just take down any sites they wish or disagree with."....

...."There's no doubt in [Anonymous members'] mind that they are breaking [the] law," he said of the latest attacks. "But they feel that there's safety in numbers."

Anonymous refused to say whether it would target government-owned websites next, but warned: "anything goes."


I'm sure most of the members of Anonymous are fully aware of the fact they are doing exactly what they don't want anyone else to do, but the cause apparently justifies the means.  This is pretty typical of chaotic good strategies and also just happens to be the kind of rationale used by religious terrorists.  The rules of the religious body in whose name they fight don't apply to them.  Once a person has crossed into that kind of thinking, they have pretty much given themselves license to engage in all kinds of behavior they may not have even considered previously.  Couple that with a global group of like thinkers and Master Card's computer network is in trouble.  If the current threats manifest, Master Card will shortly be followed by Twitter, Facebook, Paypal, and

The existence and capabilities of WikiLeaks and Anonymous have to be increasing the sales of TUMS amongst the world's elite movers and shakers.  This is the sort of behavior that is not going to be easy to stop or check.  The Internet may indeed turn out to be a sort of great equalizer. The west may be legitimately afraid of the notion of North Korea and Iran as nuclear players, but they have to be equally afraid of thousands of anonymous gamers and hackers with 'no real leadership' capable of taking down major financial computer networks.  Chaotic good indeed.  More like a waking nightmare.

About six or seven years ago I had a kind of communication in which I was shown that transparency would be one issue around which the prevailing consensus reality--the one based in money, resource hegemony, secrecy and the cultural power they gave, would be a singular issue in the restructuring of this consensus reality.  Take away the secrecy and much of the power to confuse and befuddle the average man would be seriously lessened. 

I could really see this transparency thing operating in Roman Catholicism in the sexual abuse crisis, but WikiLeaks has taken it into the world of politics, finances, and government structure. It's really amazing to think a low level military member, a corporal in fact, can get access to this kind of information through a computer in the middle of no where, hit the send button, and open the Internet version of Pandora's email box.  I suspect governments will have more success with Iran's muscling into the nuclear world than they will stopping the WikiLeaks of the Internet world.

It would be delightfully ironic if the games players of the computer world put an end to games playing in the political and financial world. There's just something so right about teen age computer warriors ending the games of old men who routinely send teenagers to fight their contrived battles. Maybe Michael the Archangel has turned his big sword in for a lap top and a wifi card.

Here's the latest on Wiki and Anonymous from Yahoo news.  This might just be one of the biggest stories for 2010.


  1. Hi friends, Twitter censors Wikileaks, Wikileaks is held out of trending topics courtesy RT.

  2. So what are they doing, hacking the websites and messing them up? I'd rather not lose my Amazon account information ...

  3. No. They seem to be flooding access sites on the websites which shut down the servers. They aren't stealing information, just crashing websites.

  4. Last year I had to proctor the propeller heads with pocket protectors in a practical examination for students studying cyber security. Talk about a nerdfest. It was ugly, imagine a room full of bad personal hygiene, Red Bull fuelled nocturnal subterranean antisocial creatures.

    Essentially the denial of service attacks that "the Anonymous" are using attempt overwhelm the website's ability to respond. When capacity is reached, something like too many people trying to squeeze through a door at the same time, the system crashes.

    Wait for the revelations about a major financial company next week. (rumored to be Bank of America?)

    The groundlings have digital pitchforks and torches now.


  5. It is known as a 'DDoS' for Distributed Denial of Service' attack. They happen frequently. If your computer is attached to the Internet and is not at least up-to-date on the latest operating system patches and anti-malware software - your computer could be a part of it without you even knowing about it.

    The reason the attack can't be shut down easily is that it comes from hundreds, even thousands of computers at the same time. And all those computers can be spread around the world. Literally. All they need is a small bit of software, a connection to the Internet and a little electricity to run.

    word verification: frick
    One of my very favorite nerd-type swear words... :)

  6. Veronica,

    I am so jealous that you got "frick".

    Dr. Evil uses it often:

    "Why must I be surrounded by frickin' idiots? "

    "I'm gonna get you Austin Powers! It's frickin' freezing in here, Mr. Bigglesworth. "

    "I've been frozen for thirty years, okay? Throw me a frickin' bone here! I'm the boss! Need the info. "

    "You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!"


  7. p2p I had to laugh at your description of the members of your class on cyber security.

    I'm having my own battles with passwords at work. I keep getting screens calling for passwords that no body else gets. Today will be the third time I have to call the propeller heads to get me in the system. Maybe this third time will be the charm.

  8. It's fricking frustrating. I couldn't resist. :)

  9. p2p: I took that word from Starbuck of the original Battlestar Galactica. I think Mr. Evil did too. :)

  10. I'll be impressed when I see more Chinese secrets being spilled. Until then, it's candy from a baby.

  11. Scripto you have a good point. Chinese secrecy will be a different nut to crack. One problem maybe that leaking secrets will get you killed not court martialed. Another may be that China is far more aggressive controlling access as the Google attack proved. Still, I bet we do get some leakage about chinese corporate activities.