“Anonymous” Fizzle After Fizzle as Arrests Continue
Krypton Radio Newswire
Dumpster Knights of LulzSec
On October 6, 2011, the group Anonymous released a video stating that Los Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, had kidnapped one of the group’s members. Anonymous threatened that unless the hostage was freed, they would publish personal information about members of the cartel and their collaborators in politics, police, military, and business, which might lead to their persecution by rival cartels or Mexican authorities. However, according to the U.K. Guardian, two hacker members of “Operation: Cartel” have now indicated that they are “stopping their scheme to identify collaborators and members because they don’t want anyone to be killed as a result”. This sudden backpedal is very likely in response to the discovery in September of the torture and murder of two bloggers found hung from a bridge in Mexico along with the message, “This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet, you better (expletive) pay attention. I’m about to get you.”
It now appears that there may never have even been an abduction. No police reports of an abduction have surfaced. The retraction by the British members of Anonymous may simply be a rethink on the real world consequences of going up against drug lords with nothing to lose armed with nothing more than pixels and electrons.
Anonymous, the self-proclaimed ‘hacktivist’ organization, is known primarily for criminal acts of illegal entry into commercial and government computer systems, but usually carrying out acts of retribution for what they perceive as injustice. These acts of retribution often consist of mass theft of tens of thousands of personal or financial records, defacement of web sites of branches of both the United States government and governments abroad, and denial of service attacks using their LOIC (“Low Orbit Ion Cannon”) distributed attack software. The group has no apparent leader, instead seeming to act on whatever idea seems to be popular in various chat sites such as 4Chan.org, and often takes actions that appear contradictory to statements made by Anonymous spokesmen.
From Altruism to Crime & Punishment
Anonymous first gained significant attention from their opposition to the Church of Scientology’s questionable practices, staging both online attacks and real world protests. Protests in February and March of 2008 gathered thousands of protesters in more than 93 cities worldwide. While the protests were conducted in a relatively peaceful and legal manner, however, the attacks on the web site were not, and in October of that year 18-year old Dmitriy Guzner from New Jersey and self-proclaimed member of Anonymous was indicted and pled guilty to the internet attacks on the Church of Scientology websites.
In 2009, a wave of attempts by various governments to attempt to censor content on the internet captured the attention of Anonymous. Australia in particular was attempting to enact laws that would require ISP’s to filter internet content to restrict the distribution of child pornography. The rules were widely considered unworkable – though while citizens’ groups within Australia worked through the proper channels to resolve the matter and were eventually successful, Anonymous took another approach: they declared war on Australia. On September 10, 2009 Anonymous took down the Prime Minister’s website. It was offline for approximately one hour.
On February 10, 2010, Anonymous launched a more prepared attack, called ‘Operation: Titstorm’ and defaced the web site of Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Prim Minister, attacked the Parliament web site and took it offline for three days, and nearly taking the Department of Communication’s website down. The Australian press later said that the attacks were not considered a serious crimes by information security consultants, who suggested they only had an impact because the government “knew the [second] attack was coming but was unable to stop it.” Anonymous then began discussing assassination of Stephen Conroy as a possible next move.
Public opinion swayed sharply against Anonymous. In a furious back-pedal move, they changed the name of the operation to “Operation Freeweb”, and began staging real life demonstrations through March – however, the thousands of marchers in the streets promised by Anonymous materialized in the form of only dozens of participants and not the thousands they promised. In the end, it was public opinion that the new rules would do little to protect children online and would stifle free speech that put Conroy’s plans on the back burner.
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