And in an astounding revelation, a closing statement from the group-that’s-not-a-group admits a famous Canadian vocalist is one of its founders.
Having been the online inspiration for the uprisings sweeping North Africa and parts further afield, it’s been unmasked, according to the Financial Times (registration needed).
[DISCLAIMER: I'm registered on the FT website and have been since way, WAY before Rupert Murdoch turned up on the scene - Jon. END DISCLAIMER]
“Supporters of the internet group – known as Anonymous, which gained wide attention after it co-ordinated attacks that crashed the websites of some businesses that had broken ties with WikiLeaks – have continued to ambush high-profile targets, recently forcing government sites in Egypt and Tunisia to close”, observes the FT’s Joseph Menn from San Francisco.
“However, a senior US member of Anonymous, using the online nickname Owen and evidently living in New York, appears to be one of those targeted in recent legal investigations, according to online communications uncovered by a private security researcher” Menn states.
[IMPORTANT NOTE TO FT LAWYERS: Below, I'm quoting from a Pastebin post NOT from the FT itself, which I know frowns upon having its articles reproduced in full without payment. NOTE TO READERS: Having seen the original, thanks to the fact I'm legally registered, as I point out above, I can confirm the Pastebin item is indeed the real deal - Jon.]
A co-founder of Anonymous, who uses the nickname Q after the character in James Bond, has been seeking replacements for Owen and others who have had to curtail activities, said researcher Aaron Barr, head of security services firm HBGary Federal.
Mr Barr said Q and other key figures lived in California and that the hierarchy was fairly clear, with other senior members in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Australia.
Of a few hundred participants in operations, only about 30 are steadily active, with 10 people who “are the most senior and co-ordinate and manage most of the decisions”, Mr Barr told the Financial Times. That team works together in private internet relay chat sessions, through e-mail and in Facebook groups. Mr Barr said he had collected information on the core leaders, including many of their real names, and that they could be arrested if law enforcement had the same data.
Many other investigators have also been monitoring the public internet chats of Anonymous, and agree that a few seasoned veterans of the group appear to be steering much of its actions.
But he does not plan to give specifics to police, who would face hurdles in using some of the methods he employed, including creating false Facebook profiles.
In their main online chat rooms, which are accessible to anyone, Anonymous members have affected an air of bravado, apparently believing that if enough ordinary computer users download the tools to make their cyberattacks on websites simultaneously, only a small minority will face prosecution.
Behind the scenes, however, key Anonymous figures are fretting that they will soon face charges, which can bring sentences as long as 10 years, it is claimed.
Officials last month said they had arrested five suspected UK members of Anonymous while 40 court-authorised searches in the US were carried out, with few details.
Anonymous presents itself as a loose collective and polls its members about which websites should be hit with what are known as denial-of-service attacks.
Ordinary members take charge of specific projects, such as Twitter postings on Tunisia or closed Facebook chats on strategy for harassing the Egyptian government’s online presence.
Mr Barr said he penetrated Anonymous as part of a project to demonstrate the security risks to organisations from social media and networking. He is presenting his research later this month at a conference in San Francisco.
HBGary Federal is part-owned by HBGary, run by Greg Hoglund, a respected security researcher based in California.
The FBI declined to comment on the research or the timing of arrests.
Using LinkedIn, Classmates.com, Facebook and other sites, Mr Barr also burrowed deep enough into a US military group and a US nuclear plant that he could trick workers there to click on web links that, if they had been malicious, could have installed spying software on their computers. Such “social engineering” hacks are a major vulnerability for companies targeted in industrial espionage.
The Anonymous effort was similar but included such tricks as comparing the times that members logged on to Facebook and to Internet Relay Chat to make educated guesses as to which electronic identities belonged to the same person.
And even Anonymous admits its/their day is done.
“A recent article in the Financial Times cites a certain Aaron Barr of the ‘security services’ firm HBGay Federal (amirite?) as claiming to have discovered the identities of Anonymous’ operating leadership and founder, with this having been accomplished in large part by an infiltration of our entirely secret IRC server anonops.ru and in particular our ultra-clasified channels #opegypt, #optunisia, and, of course, #reporters, which itself is the most secret of all”, says an Anonymous press statement on Anon News.
“The following message was relayed to all Anons possessing at least 30 degrees of initiate status (17 in Scotland) or their equivalent in reddit karma, and is being leaked to the laity in an effort to gain their useless sympath”, it says, continuing >>>
URGENT WARNING TO ALL ANONONYMOUS HACKTIVISTS:
Mr. Barr has successfully broken through our over 9000 proxy field and into our entirely non-public and secret insurgent IRC lair, where he then smashed through our fire labyrinth with vigor, collected all the gold rings on the way, opened a 50 silver key chest to find Anon’s legendary hackers on steroids password.
As Mr. Barr has discovered in spite of our best efforts, Anonymous was founded by Q last Thursday at the guilded Bilderberg Hotel after a tense meeting with one Morrowind mod collection, which itself includes the essential Morrowind Comes Alive 5.2 as well as several retexturing packs, all of which seem to lower one’s FPS unless one has also installed the latest Risc Architecture framework and thus obtained the killer refresh rate that is the right of all world citizens, except for noted heterosexual Tom Cruise.
In addition to the sudden disappearance of Anonymous leader Q, Anonymous co-founder Justin Bieber also disappeared just before his top-secret mission to Eritrea to offer physical succour to the rebels, suggesting that Mubarak is in our base, eating our Cheetos, likely with military support authorized by Hill Dawg. All of this comes at a low point for the Official Anonymous Organization, Inc. and its valued shareholders; several Anons had already lost their Fallout New Vegas saved games in the unwarranted and faggy raids perpetrated by the U.S. federales.
At this point, it is safe to assume that the underground server sites at the North Pole have been compromised as well. Back up all porn drives now, because the super secret P2P centralized distribution server of Backdoor Sluts 9 is presumed to be immediately threatened. Male Anons have been commanded to switch back to traditional tentacle porn while femanons, or “Rei Ayanami wannabes,” continue to be shared among the Echelon Nine Working Group that has since replaced Owen as sky marshall.
However, David Davidson (who might also be the legendary Ceiling Cat, as rumors have it) so far eludes custody, so all is not lost. Mr Davidson skyped the anonymous leaders from his hideout in Philadelphia to remind them that he was “Never gonna give them up, never gonna let them down”. Meanwhile, the board of directors remains little more than a gin-addled menagerie of puppets.
Despite these setbacks, the planned conference in Vienna is not slated for cancellation, although the buffet may be altered to include fewer Cheetos. The scheduled appearence of Boxxy is a subject of much contention within Anonymous ranks, being an event of considerably greater importance than the 4th return of Raptor Jesus, which itself is older than the internet.
We shall note in conclusion that we like the guy and want to believe him, but we still have to ask: Did Aaron Barr shave and murder Alexander Hamilton in 1993? We’re just asking questions here, people. At any rate, the Pink Horse prophecy will soon be fulfilled.
All Hail Xenu,
Now you know.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
Net access blocked by government restrictions? Use Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Go here for details.