Arresting People Associated With Anonymous Unlikely To Have The Impact The Feds Expect

from the things-don't-work-that-way dept

One of the big stories of yesterday was the wide array of raids and arrests by the FBI in order to arrest people they claimed were members of "Anonymous," who took part in various denial of service attacks. All day yesterday the number of people arrested kept growing. I first saw three, then 12 and the final tally was apparently 16. Apparently the arrests are specific to the efforts to take down Paypal after Paypal decided to stop letting payment transfers go to Wikileaks. The specific charges are "intentional damage to a protected computer" and conspiracy.

Now, I've been very clear since Anonymous started this effort -- shutting down various websites using what is effectively crowdsourced distributed denial of service attacks -- that I think the strategy is really dumb. Does it get attention? Yes. But it turns parties doing questionable things into victims. It doesn't open any new eyes to the problems Anonymous should be trying to highlight. It just draws attention to the attacks themselves. It just seemed really likely to backfire -- especially as law enforcement and politicians focused in on the attacks, rather than the reasons for the attacks, and we're seeing some of that now.

But I can't deny that their efforts, combined with the slightly more sophisticated hacking efforts both from Anonymous and the spinoff group LulzSec and others, have actually had a much greater impact than I expected, especially with things like the hacking of HBGary and the release of ACS:Law files. As I noted last month when a bunch of people were arrested in Europe with claims that they were members of Anonymous, it's not clear to me that these arrests will have much of an impact, really. Will it scare off some random kid from becoming a scriptkiddie? Maybe at the margin there will be some. But the thing is, the types of folks who get involved with these things tend to overestimate their own abilities, and dramatically underestimate the likelihood of getting tracked down or caught.

And given the very distributed nature of the group (i.e., that it's not actually a group at all), it kind of makes you wonder if the arrests will only serve to get more folks jumping into the effort, perhaps for increasingly misguided reasons. As we've stated, governments and law enforcement seem to be taking a top-down approach to this, as if they were rounding up a criminal gang, not recognizing the distributed nature of this effort and how the focus is not criminal, but ideological. Arresting people just drives home their general fear of a world in which certain entities have too much power, leading more people to hit back.

I still don't think their strategy is smart. And I don't think it'll really create lasting positive change (in fact, the backlash could do the opposite). I also worry quite a bit about what happens when they suddenly rage against an innocent party or a group or an individual who really doesn't deserve their wrath. But, at the same time, I can't see how a big FBI crackdown does anything positive, either. It just serves to reinforce their general point. And, with something like the DDoS on Paypal, it seems a bit ridiculous to suggest that it really created that much "harm." It was, as many noted, a modern version of the sit-in. Yes, it probably was a nuisance and cost some people money, but it lasted for a short while and it's difficult to argue there was any lasting damage.

Defenders of law and order will insist "something" needed to be done, and will believe that these arrests will scare off people from the next round of attacks. I think those people are greatly underestimating how people who feel disenfranchised by the world, but sense power through their internet connection, react in such situations. Punishment for the sake of punishment may make sense to some people, but I prefer that the focus be on actually getting to the root of the problem, rather than trying to attack the symptoms in a way that makes the cause grow bigger.


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  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    A whole 16 people!!

    A whole 16 people!!
    OR 14 people, if you believe theregister instead...

    Wonder what the percentage is on that, is that 50% or (much more likely) 0.05% ?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    I feel so much safer...

    ...knowing that it took 20 FBI agents *with guns drawn* to raid the home of a 13-year-old.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    row row fight tah powah!

    those 16 will be replaced by a hundred.

     

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    Really, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    You people are missing the point, it may not even put a dent in the hacking community at all, but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can.

    This in time will make a difference, and if you don't believe that the technology exists to track even those that are using different means to protect themselves, then I feel real sorry for the doubters.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:37am

    "I also worry quite a bit about what happens when they suddenly rage against an innocent party or a group or an individual who really doesn't deserve their wrath."

    You mean like how they retaliated against Sony by releasing information about its users? If they want to go after Sony, that's one thing, but to take your anger out on its users ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/iu93n/fbi_raided_my_house_with_a_search_warrant_today/

    The proof of the warrent is actually much further down in the thread. I'm not sure what she was trying to show in 'Edit 3'.

    Basically the FBI is busy raiding 13 year olds who other than download and install LOIC have no hacking skills and have nothing to do with anonymous.

    The feds have no idea what they're doing and will accomplish literally nothing with these arrests. It's all theater. Just like DHS, TSA, etc. Security theater baby. At the end of the day they can tell their bosses "hey atleast me made some arrests" no matter how big of a waste of tax payer dollars, resources & time it is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Re: I feel so much safer...

    The police department must send the entire police force just to get a cat out of a tree. Then you wonder why they keep complaining that they never have enough police officers.

    The other day I saw a high speed chase on T.V. They musta had more than a dozen cop cars chasing the guy, with several helicopters. It's ridiculous.

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re: Message

    Yes, it sends a message that those who protest the status quo stand a good chance of facing jack-booted thugs with guns drawn.

    Quite a message that...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    "...if you don't believe that the technology exists to track even those that are using different means to protect themselves, then I feel real sorry for the doubters."

    I don't believe.

    Let's assume that the DOS attacks are fired from several "zombie" computers that are under a hackers control. To initiate the attack, the hacker must instruct that "botnet" to fire at a specific target. This is where he is more vulnerable, because his "order" can be intercepted, and his location can be "traced" (more like deduced) through his IP address.

    But the hacker can make that tracing job unbearably hard. He can tunnel his connection through a proxy. Or rather, through several proxies, located across several countries.

    This will make the job of law enforcement very, very hard, if not impossible, because it will require the cooperation of many countries and ISPs.

    It is "easy" to remain hidden if you know what you are doing. Problem is, probably most of these "anonymous" that were caught were just script kiddies that had no clue of what they were doing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re:

    Also, if I was a professional hacker, I'd probably just get a cheap laptop, connect to some wireless hotspot, do my dirty deeds as described above, and then smash up the laptop at home, and carefully discard the pieces.

    How are you going to trace me now?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    The FBI just have to get the most prominent of the figures of the group to really get it on a path that spirals into everyone looking for something else to do or go back to trolling forums.

    If they are catching some people who ran the stupid program, it has the core of the group laughing and getting encouraged to do more.

    If they leverage their core catches they could bring the rest of the group down and have a new set of tools (and botnet) to do what they want with.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    "You people are missing the point, it may not even put a dent in the hacking community at all, but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can.

    This in time will make a difference, and if you don't believe that the technology exists to track even those that are using different means to protect themselves, then I feel real sorry for the doubters."

    Lol, shows how out of the loop you are.

     

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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    "if you don't believe that the technology exists to track even those that are using different means to protect themselves, then I feel real sorry for the doubters."

    Obviously it does, that is why they have captured all of the thousands of people it would take to DDOS paypal and not just a bunch of 13yr old kids who don't know how to protect themselves and downloaded and ran a script when twitter told them too while doing nothing else to protect themselves.

    Thank god these dangerous thugs have been stopped, Ill rest safer knowing the combined efforts of police forces across the world have managed to catch a handful of little kids running scripts.

    I'm sure these suspects will give up valuable information that will lead to the end of anonymous like maybe their website, twitter accounts or possibly the IRC chat rooms that are full of feds already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re:

    and didn't they release a bunch of info on Wells Fargo accounts too?

    Overall, I think these groups have done more overall good than harm, but I do not think the ends justify the means. and some of their actions have been unacceptable, causing more harm than good with little indication that they're intended to be done for a good cause either.

    and I agree the government will probably completely overact and over-punish the heck out of them, and that can very well backfire on the government industrial complex. But these groups are no angels either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re:

    (and they do deserve some sort of punishment).

     

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    Voice of Reason, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Arrests

    No matter how noble one feels their cause to be, in the eyes of the law it is illegal to hack. So there should be no surprise that the cases were investigated and arrests made. It is like any criminal investigation. It will always be a cat and mouse game. What message it sends is up to the individual to interpret for themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    They committed a crime and should pay. Just because it didn't directly affect you and you think it was just a "nuisance" doesn't matter in the least. I'm glad your not in charge of making the laws in this country.

    Where does your reasoning end? They just murdered 8 people but they were just bums so it really doesn't matter in then long run. We should really just be focusing on the root of the problem and not the symptom.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    It will likely result in the exact opposite reaction that they are hoping for.

    But hey, all this will be about 'control' soon.

    Soon enough - there will be a bunch of new laws regarding the internet.

    They've been wanting control of the web for a long time. Here's their excuse.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re:

    This is *precisely* correct. Everyone who actually understands the rudiments of contemporary security practice knows that judicious use of proxies, botnets, hijacked networks (ASNs), and so on all make it possible to effectively evade identification.

    Those who don't do this are really an insignificant threat.

    Those who do do this are not going to be caught.

     

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  20.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ^ FBI will probably be arresting a lot of star bucks owners because of their ties to anonymous

    "smash up the laptop at home"

    there are drive erasing methods that make data unrecoverable(basically write random data to the whole drive and erase it a bunch of times), nuke the drive and start over no need to buy a new laptop every attack

     

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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    yes a digital sit-in is almost exactly like mass murder, im glad you brought that up. What about nazis and child porn though?

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    You people are missing the point, it may not even put a dent in the hacking community at all, but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can.

    This in time will make a difference, and if you don't believe that the technology exists to track even those that are using different means to protect themselves, then I feel real sorry for the doubters.


    Yes, this same strategy is working so well for fighting P2P filesharing.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    You people are missing the point, it may not even put a dent in the hacking community at all, but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can.

    Get whom they can??

    Really? What you're saying is - "since we can't do anything sensible about this we'll just lash out wildly.."

    Sounds like Llap Goch to me

    "No longer need you feel WEAK, helpless, INDECISIVE, NOT fascinating and ASHAMED of your genital dimensions. No more need you be out-manoeuvred in political debate!! GOOD BYE HUMILIATION, wisecracking bullies," anonymous hackers "... will melt to pulp as you master every situation without INADEQUACY. PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES. You will no longer look pitiful and spotty to your GIRL FRIENDS when you leave some unsuspecting passer-by looking like four tins of cat food! "

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:57am

    .ANOYNMOUS IS US...EXPECT US...

     

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    HiggsLight (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Trying something new...

    I agree that Anon's DDoS strategy is immature and likely to backfire. The flip-side is that Anon has shown a surprising ability to recreate itself, cells, ops, or whatever organizing principal a group may use to better fit their purposes. They've changed and adjusted their strategies during each progressive op cycle and I think they're starting to figure out what works and what doesn't.

    Anonymous, like Wikileaks, represent new ideas/movements that haven't figured out how to best fit themselves into the world. Julian Assange had originally planned on wikileaks being a massive crowd-sourced investigative outfit but that strategy failed. Instead of pursuing a losing strategy they changed course and instead focused on working with media partners. This has proven to be much more effective strategy.

    Making mistakes and utilizing misguided strategies is part-in-parcel with trying something new. There's no previous data to fall back on for guidance...so the dartboard strategy will continue until more metrics on success are produced.

    The one area that the authorities are going to struggle with for the foreseeable future is that by definition Anons don't know who other Anons are and therefore can't easily "flip" on higher-ups and/or co-conspirators. The cops are going to find that it's much more expensive to investigate Anons as you have to essentially get each one individually and not as a group like they do with the mafia or gangs.

     

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  26.  
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    Harrekki (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    but it made those users strongly aware of how insecure your information is. Sometimes a wake up call to the people is needed. When a company says "your information is secure" they better mean it. Most companies, do not.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    you know lulzsec themselves started the rumor that they were a false flag nsa group? it was in some of their chat logs.

    All this nonsense about the government using them as an excuse to crack down on the internet is bogus, they are already cracking down on the internet, but the internet will always stay 10 steps ahead of the fed.

    The men in the suits can't keep up with it, so they call in swat teams to kick down scriptkiddie doors while the real deal sit back and laugh as hundreds of thousands of people flock to their banners.

    good luck controlling the internet gov'ment, you'll need it

     

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  28.  
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    Harrekki (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    so this is more about a power play to gain a botnet than about being embarrassed on a regular basis? not sure i agree completely with you, but it's an interesting idea.....

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    even basic understanding of internet infrastructure will show you that there are easily used tools to make yourself pretty safe from ID, and some tools which are a little more difficult to use which will make you a fucking ghost on the network.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re:

    Hoth's Law of Child Pornography strikes again

     

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    otb (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Intentions

    "but I prefer that the focus be on actually getting to the root of the problem, rather than trying to attack the symptoms in a way that makes the cause grow bigger."


    And what would the root of the problem be?

    Once you've got that... what do you think Anon's intentions are?

    You might find that the two are very similar.

     

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  32.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re: Arrests

    No matter how noble one feels their cause to be, in the eyes of the law it is illegal to hack.

    A DDOS attack is not hacking. Legally no individual involved is doing anything wrong (just accessing a webpage) - only the coincidence of lots of people doing the same thing causes a problem - you might as well arrest everyone for putting the kettle on simultaneously at the end of the Wimbledon final...

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    yeah, good luck with that.

     

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  34.  
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    Michial Thompson, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Law of unintended consequences

    The problems y'all aren't what they did, or the immediate results. The problems are the long term impact that their actions will have.

    No computer is 100% safe from being hacked if it is plugged into power and turned on. These groups really didn't do any serious hacking, they ran scripts for DDoS attacks and exploited known security issues.

    BUT the long term impact is yet to be seen. Their actions will cause an outcry of the mental midgets for protection from these hackers. That outcry will cause laws to be passed forcing companies to spend thousands on hardware specifically designed to do nothing more than meet some unachievable goal. Industries will be created to specifically give yet another false feeling of security.

    Can we say 9-11 and TSA here? This is exactly how 9-11's 26 criminals impacted the world. And now look at what the TSA is doing, every day they increase their assaults to make the mental midgets feel safer.

    Soon you will see laws in congress that will force website owners to meet minimum requirements for security, and then you will see hardware specifically overpriced to meet the minimums, and in the end you will see a negligible impact on the hacking and a major increase in the costs of doing business which will then be passed on to the end users and customers.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    Not saying I'm piggy-backing on a top post from last week or anything (thanks Chris! I'll be expecting your takedown notice shortly)...

    But by your reasoning:
    Jews that refused to wear the star of David in Nazi Germany committed a crime and should pay. Just because it didn't directly affect you and you think it was just a "nuisance" doesn't matter in the least.

    That's a very good point you make.

    The African American college students that sat at the lunch counter in Greensboro, NC have committed a crime and should pay. Just because it didn't directly affect you and you think it was just a "nuisance" doesn't matter in the least.

    Can't argue with that line of thinking at all.

    Gandhi and Mandela caused civil unrest in their counties and committed a crime and should pay. Just because it didn't directly affect you and you think it was just a "nuisance" doesn't matter in the least.

    You've certainly backed me into a logical corner there. I don't see any way to assail your iron-clad premise. Kudos to you, sir!

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Hack The Planet!!

     

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  37.  
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    Voice of Reason, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Arrests

    I was referring to the hacking of HBGary and similar attacks, not DDOS attacks.

     

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  38.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    I agree, it is all theater. The actions of the FBI will have the opposite effect, all children rebel to some extent. This will also lead to better tools being developed, an evolution in skill sets for the ones that do not get caught, and more people joining the ranks. Perhaps someone will create a "blackhat cookbook", with hacking tools included.

    A little rebellion now and then is actually a good thing.

     

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  39.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re:

    You people are missing the point, it may not even put a dent in the hacking community at all, but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can.

    Did you even read the post or just the headline? I addressed that very point in the post, so I don't see how we "missed" the point.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re: Trying something new...

    which is the part of this whole episode that produces the most lulz, all the authorities claiming they've rounded up more "leaders" of anonymous or lulzsec, or shutting down a "cell" by arresting 3 people(lolspain)

    I do not think the hierarchical government can really comprehend the nautre of anonymous, we are all anonymous, there will always be anonymous.

     

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  41.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    I am pretty certain, it is about being embarrased on a regular basis. That

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    I am pretty certain, it is about being embarrased on a regular basis. That and

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Arrests

    oh noes its against the law!!! its not like everyone in this country doesn't break half a dozen laws daily going about their normal lives. If you still have respect for the rule of law in the united states of america, you are too well off, or not paying attention.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    Additionally, had they not released the info they swiped, and gone solely and discreetly to the company, is there any way to know that the company would actually do something about it?

    The release of that info was proof. The companies involved couldn't hide it from the public as they may have done. Had it not be publicly released, would those customers know how insecure - to those who AREN'T looking for publicity or ideological statements but pure criminal intent - their info really is/was?

    I hate the idea of personal info being released, for true. But at least those people didn't have to depend or wait on those companies for disclosure or better security that might never have happened had it been kept quiet.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    antisec!

     

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  46.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That and fear of a population growing in power and capability. Not knowing what sort of crazy idea is about to spread and disrupt their little piece of the bureaucracy, must be madening to them. Who is next? Will they come after us? What happens if they ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Re:

    "but it sends a message that they might not get them all but the will get whom they can."

    Or the message that people you don't know have been arrested.
    Stirring stuff.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, Nazi paedoterrorists.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Arrests

    IIRC, part of the HBGary "attack" was merely social engineering: someone pretending to be an employee asked an administrator for a password and it was handed over. Some passwords were just guessed at and succeeded.

    I don't know if that's really 'hacking', or just pointing up how lax HBGary was about their own security.

    [note: I may be misremembering details from the ArsTechnica articles about the HBGary scandal. I recommend them, interesting reading.]

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:35am

    So a few websites went down for a while, and 90k government workers must change their password,and BAH might get their security measures reviewed before the next contract is issued.

    Anonymous reminds me of the protestors of the 60's and 70's. Occasionally doing damage but mostly just freeing test animals.

    Anonymous is breaking the law I agree. But there are worse laws being broken by worse people.

    When was the last time you saw an arrest of a mafia or gang member hit the press.

     

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  51.  
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    ErrSideReality (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re:

    Oh and DRUGS! Don't forget DRUGS! Working grrrreat!

    wars-
    drugs
    terror
    p2p
    information control
    poor folks
    anonymous humans

     

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  52.  
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    el_segfaulto (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention the war on drugs.

     

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  53.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Re:

    no no, the message it sends is simply that the government doesn't understand what is going on, and are sticking their heads up their asses in hopes of stopping whatever it is. The end result of that path will not be government victory, it will be full on revolution. There are more people than government officials, and the whole world can watch it unfold.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    but if that was your information released ...

     

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  55.  
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    anonymous, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    WE ARE LEGION.

     

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  56.  
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    DCX2, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Re: Law of unintended consequences

    The coming Global War on Hacking will probably be much like the Global War on Terror. In the GWOT, the US proceeds to drop bombs on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, etc etc. Sometimes, these bombs kill bad guys. They also kill a lot of innocent people. Thus, in the pursuit of killing all the bad guys, their collateral damage will create still further bad guys in a positive feedback loop.

    In the GWOH, it will be even more difficult. The few really good hackers will surround themselves with thousands of "innocents" - not that they're really innocent, but they're not the real hackers. They're just the script kiddies who download LOIC. Then the FBI will proceed to arrest script kiddies who didn't really do much damage, because they're more visible and easier to track than real hackers. And the Internetz will feel like it is under attack, and the feds will merely spawn more script kiddies and motivate some to learn how real hacking is done.

    Once we have a digital Pearl Harbor, there will be a digital Patriot Act. The white hats, who are probably more easily identified, will likely be targeted despite the fact that they're not dangerous. This will undoubtedly chase them underground, and many will likely change to gray hats, or even black hats. Once again, the very actions taken to stop the "enemy" will instead make that enemy stronger.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Message

    Oh, the poor hackers!

     

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  58.  
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    kirillian (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Arrests

    IIRC, part of the HBGary "attack" was merely social engineering: someone pretending to be an employee asked an administrator for a password and it was handed over. Some passwords were just guessed at and succeeded.

    I don't know if that's really 'hacking', or just pointing up how lax HBGary was about their own security.

    [note: I may be misremembering details from the ArsTechnica articles about the HBGary scandal. I recommend them, interesting reading.]


    This^. Also, I do not believe that the above arrests pertain to HBGary...the above arrests were for the PayPal DDOS...so...no...not hacking.

     

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  59.  
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    cc (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    There are some REALLY sophisticated things out there that the bad people are using to stay hidden. Tunnelling through a few commercial VPNs is the bare minimum you can do.

    For instance, the other day I was reading about a worm that receives orders through Kad (the public p2p network) and allows the controller to actually tunnel through to any infected computer in the botnet and use it as a proxy. That's virtually impossible to trace.

     

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  60.  
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    el_segfaulto (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Arrests

    You were spot on with your memory. A surprising amount of hacking is done on a social level. Granted you'll always have somebody like me with a cluster of machines running some sort of crypto-analysis (it's my job, I'm not a hacker) as part of a password auditing system. I suppose that in most people's minds, a situation like that is "real" hacking even if it is less efficient than social engineering.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re:

    Wow. Comparing Anonymous to the Jews in Europe or Civil Rights protesters in the south? It always amazes me how short-sighted and selfish most people are nowadays. Sickening.

     

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  62.  
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    mike allen (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Lets just spell it out for all the trolls as they are trols of little brain.
    1 you can bring in any law you want with copyright it wont work more people will bypass it.
    2 Any tracking can be bypassed
    3 you can remove any domain name the site is still their and easily found.
    4 You can raid the unfortunate members of Anonymous and il be generous and say you got 30 world wide out of hundreds of thousands of supporters.
    Good luck what next more laws only to be bypassed LOSERS.

     

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  63.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Don't forget, that wireless hotspot may have logged the MAC address from your computer. This MAC address is most likely stored on ROM or FLASH associated with your NIC. Also, multiple erase passes, such as the Gutmann method, has not been necessary for a decade. One pass will do on modern drives that are much more dense than before. The threshold size associated with this density is 15GB.

     

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  64.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    I'm Certain This Will Be Effective

    Number of Actual Hackers Caught: 0
    Number of 13 Year-Olds Running LOIC Caught: 16

    Good job, FBI. Keep spending millions of taxpayer's money to catch the low-hanging fruit because you can't do anything else. I'm sure the 984 other LOIC script-kiddies are shaking in their boots right now.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    16 people got caught, have to answer to mom, and about 100,000 other would be hackers will think twice before turning on loic in the future.

    Further, the anonymous people (who aren't all that anonymous with each other) could be crapping their pants as the kids play back their chat logs for authorities, which could lead them up the ladder.

    Anonymous isn't any more anonymous than posting on Techdirt.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    MAC addresses can be altered at will.

    And whole-drive encryption is your friend.

     

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  67.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:57am

    @ several ACs:

    You don't seem to grasp that you've been forced to HIDE -- in other words, become a criminal -- and that's the goal the gov't wants in the first place, it's ALL that's needed to control you. Whether you're effectively hidden on the net is irrelevant! As soon as you slip, they've got you, and WHY? --Because you're a criminal simply for hiding! Gov't needs criminals to justify ever-expanding powers.

    Moreover, the notion that valiant hackers are stemming the tide of gov't oppression is just out to lunch. Look at the real world, kids: those violent video game playing steroid-munchers have been trained in Iraq to murder people without regard for laws, you can read such stories nearly every day; they are the epsilon-minus enforcers of tyranny who obey orders without question.

    IF you really wish to fight tyranny, rather than just slink around on the edges of it pretending that you're "free", then you need to call for gov't to follow laws and the will of the people, to control The Rich and corporations. -- In a word: POPULISM!

     

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  68.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    to my knowledge its still relatively easy to spoof a mac address.

    I know alot of people wipe the drive and assume everything is gone, but if nothing has overwritten the data it is all still available. I didnt know one pass would do on modern drives to prevent recovering or Gutmann's recovery method was outdated, and never even practiced as far as I can tell.

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/node/5687
    http://www.nber.org/sys-admin/overwritten-data-guttman .html

     

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  69.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    "A little rebellion now and then is actually a good thing."

    just like the plant world we gotta burn every now and then so better and new stuff can grow

    http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq4180.html

     

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  70.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: @ several ACs:

    "those violent video game playing steroid-munchers have been trained in Iraq to murder people without regard for laws, you can read such stories nearly every day; they are the epsilon-minus enforcers of tyranny who obey orders without question."

    so, who is your favorite fiction author?

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re:

    or go to a neighboring town and use an unsecured access point


    track that jerks

     

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  72.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: I feel so much safer...

    A few weeks ago, there were some geese on the 405 in Bellevue, WA. There were at least 3 cop cars at one point to protect them from morning traffic.

     

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  73.  
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    Alien Bard, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    There are no mafia. There are no organized criminal agencies. There are only terrorist pirates, and they are our own children.

    PLEASE won't someone think of the CHILDREN!?

     

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  74.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree, spoofing a MAC is easy. You just have to remember to do this in situations where the MAC address is potentially logged. This will become more problematic as use of IPV6, with incorporated MACs, becomes more widespread. For most people at home, the MAC address associated with them will be the one assigned to their router or router/DSL modem.

    "wiping", although not really a technical term, has been taken to mean overwriting all sectors on a hard drive. It is true that using your OS to "delete" files, normally only deletes the directory entries and leaves the files contents intact. I use PGP software on my Windows machine which hooks into the delete command and actually wipes the file.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: I feel so much safer...

    Are you a California transplant?

    Pretty sure they just call it "405" in Washington, not "the 405."

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I said, I hate the idea of releasing personal info, but if I'm made aware of it, I can address the problem. I should be able to trust the companies that are supposed to secure that information will inform me promptly of such a breach, but any googling will show you that this is often not the case.

    Whether Anons do it or someone else, I need to know ASAP.

     

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  77.  
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    Alien Bard, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re: I'm Certain This Will Be Effective

    To be honest, some of those 984 will back away from it, and many more will be scared into avoiding the whole thing. However for every 2 children who run away 3 more will be attracted by the allure of danger and notoriety.

     

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  78.  
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    monkyyy, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    300 and the average person in the "group" will put more time in

     

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  79.  
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    Alien Bard, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    "16 people got caught, have to answer to mom, and about 100,000 other would be hackers will think twice before turning on loic in the future."

    And another 150,000 non-'would be hackers' will get excited over the idea of having real g-men kick their doors down and will eagerly jump on board just for the thrill.

     

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  80.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just connect with a £15 USB WiFi adapter which you can lob in the bin after the command is sent.

     

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  81.  
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    Alien Bard, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    um... are you taking your meds?

    I was going to hit 'insightful' after reading the first paragraph, but then you wandered into left field with the rest of the post...

     

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  82.  
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    monkyyy, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re:

    a website: http://www.whatis-theplan.org/
    a irc: http://anonnet.org/

    they kinda are open about that stuff

     

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  83.  
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    txpatriot, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: I'm Certain This Will Be Effective

    Those arrested today, according to the FBI, are: Scott Matthew Arciszewski, 21, Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, aka "Anthrophobic;" Joshua John Covelli, 26, aka "Absolem" and "Toxic;" Keith Wilson Downey, 26; Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, aka "No" and "MMMM;" Donald Husband, 29, aka "Ananon;" Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, aka "Trivette," "Triv" and "Reaper;" Lance Moore, 21; Ethan Miles, 33; James C. Murphy, 36; Drew Alan Phillips, 26, aka "Drew010;" Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka "Jeffer," "Jefferp" and "Ji;" Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22. An additional individual's name was being withheld.
    The only 13 years olds appear to be Chris Rhodes, Hothmonster and a couple of ACs.

     

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  84.  
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    PRMan, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: A whole 16 people!!

    I don't think 16 people can DDOS Paypal. I think these are the 16 people who were so stupid as to use their real names as their handles (read the articles, 2 actually did that!) and not cover their tracks at all.

    I'm sure there are hundreds more who covered their tracks well enough to not be caught this time.

     

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  85.  
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    monkyyy, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re:

    "Perhaps someone will create a "blackhat cookbook""
    perhaps u mean backtrack? http://www.backtrack-linux.org/

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    Yup, and if they are stupid enough to run lioc, they will get their wish.

     

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  87.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was thinking more along the line of

    White Hat -vs- Black hat cookbook

     

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  88.  
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    Dave (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Hack Attack

    Mike:
    My real worry is that continued efforts by the Gummints of the world against these kids will have the effect of pissing off people that are WAY smarter and WAY more talented. These people will then turn on the government sites, and their corporate sponsors and do some real damage. At least I hope so. This has gone far enough.

     

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  89.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. Comparing Anonymous to the Jews in Europe or Civil Rights protesters in the south? It always amazes me how short-sighted and selfish most people are nowadays. Sickening.

    I am not saying that I agree with Anonymous or their tactics. But, what they are doing is a modern form of civil disobedience plain and simple. Comparing them to other instances in history involving civil disobedience is justified whether you agree with them or not.

     

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  90.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    War on ideology?

    This is exactly the same as the War on Terror, the War on Poverty, the War on Piracy, and the War on Drugs.

    Our government is busy fighting a war on ideas. It's that simple. If you round up enough people, and cause a "deterrent" effect, it's likely that you won't slow down the progress of who is the terrorist/hobo/pirate/criminal, but you will get enough people to just follow the rules.

    This is still a somewhat severe form of the ostrich effect. It's costing us a lot of money, that the US can ill afford to lose, to enforce these types of laws. How much does it cost for ICE to raid a NY server? How much more would it be to license products in another country? As it stands, it's cost us our economic prosperity for terrorism. In order to fight the War on Drugs, we lose $70 billion annually. The budget of DHS for copyright enforcement stands at ~$10 billion IIRC. And the war on poverty has been lost since the inception.

    The fact is, we have a lot of wars on a lot of fronts. We've needed to end a few of them to find new ways to prosper.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    The arrests of those associated with anonymous reminds me of The Man Who Was Thursday:
    Was anyone wearing a mask? Was anyone anything? This wood of witchery, in which men's faces turned black and white by turns, in which their figures first swelled into sunlight and then faded into formless night, this mere chaos of chiaroscuro (after the clear daylight outside), seemed to Syme a perfect symbol of the world in which he had been moving for three days, this world where men took off their beards and their spectacles and their noses, and turned into other people. That tragic self-confidence which he had felt when he believed that the Marquis was a devil had strangely disappeared now that he knew that the Marquis was a friend. He felt almost inclined to ask after all these bewilderments what was a friend and what an enemy. Was there anything that was apart from what it seemed? The Marquis had taken off his nose and turned out to be a detective. Might he not just as well take off his head and turn out to be a hobgoblin?

    [...]

    "Why do you worry with me?" he cried. "You have expelled me as a spy."

    "We are all spies!" whispered Syme.

    "We're all spies!" shouted Dr. Bull. "Come and have a drink."

    Next morning the battalion of the reunited six marched stolidly towards the hotel in Leicester Square.

    "This is more cheerful," said Dr. Bull; "we are six men going to ask one man what he means."

    "I think it is a bit queerer than that," said Syme. "I think it is six men going to ask one man what they mean."

    They turned in silence into the Square, and though the hotel was in the opposite corner, they saw at once the little balcony and a figure that looked too big for it. He was sitting alone with bent head, poring over a newspaper. But all his councillors, who had come to vote him down, crossed that Square as if they were watched out of heaven by a hundred eyes.

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Was_Thursday


    The idea that maybe anonymous (or a significant portion of it) would turn out to be a bunch of police officers spying on each other would be such a great end.

     

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  92.  
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    Prisoner 201, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My info was released. I went and got a new card from my bank the same day I read about the leak.

    I am more bothered by Sonys incompetence than some hackers. There will always be hackers. Fortunately, Anonymous went public instead of trying to leech money off the accounts.

     

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  93.  
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    Prisoner 201, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You missed the point.

    He just showed why the "its the LAW!" argument is fatally flawed, and that other arguments are required to convincingly argue the wrongness of an action.

     

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    Prisoner 201, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Dont worry, the FBI is on the case.

    Oh, maybe that was not what you had in mind? Report to the nearest correction facility, citizen.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    "The charge of “intentional damage to a protected computer” is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. "

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/technology/16-arrested-as-fbi-hits-the-hacking-group-anonymou s.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimestech&seid=auto

    It's amazing how Sony can get away with doing something much worse by selling PlayStations under the fraudulent claim that they support Linux and later removing that support (and our legal system even approves of this), yet these (wanna be) hackers do something (that should be punished, no doubt) that isn't nearly as bad as Sony's fraudulent behavior, and they can face jail time. Why isn't anyone at Sony facing jail time for fraud?

     

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  96.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: I'm Certain This Will Be Effective

    You're my new favorite troll. Don't disappoint, now!

     

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  97.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You mean change, the government will start listening to its people now?

     

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  98.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    BT4 on a 32G pendrive (with persistence), truecrypt with a hidden volume, and a throw-away wireless card in your laptop.

    Free wifi hotspot.

    'Nuff said. ;)

     

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  99.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Using hotspots is arguably less secure. Why?

    1. Many (most?) have video surveillance.
    2. Pattern analysis can help, whether the actor uses the same spot again and again, or keep changing spots. (Pattern analysis might not be so effective if someone lives in an RV and travels randomly around the country.)
    3. As others have pointed out, there are ways to either spoof MAC address or keep replacing wireless NICs and dban-ing the drive. But any method that involves repeatedly replacing hardware or lots of heavy travel gets expensive. We're talking about disenfranchised people who are not generally known for being well-financed.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Anonymous is a government shill....

    Would anyone be surprised if the 'architects' behind the creation of Anonymous were in fact government agents?

    Stop and think about things for a minute.... There can only be a "War on Something" if there is someone visible to go to "War" with... It didn't stop things, but how much public flack was there when we were looking for the "WMD's" that we just knew had to be there? Wouldn't it have been much easier to justify the war publicly if there were actual weapons of mass destruction found?

    Now shift back to the internet... Who is the 'bad guy' that our government is going after? In reality it is going after it's own citizens by making them criminals for watching or sharing entertainment.... How well is that 'war' going to go over with the public? BUT now throw in an Anonymous group of 'evil-doing' individuals causing disruption to government, media, and corporate sponsors (of government and media), and suddenly there is a "BAD GUY" that the government can target and complain about in public, without having to say that they are at war with their own citizens.

    The end result is the same, the government gets to 'attack' the rights of their citizens in the name of protecting them from the evil Anonymous... As someone else has pointed out, only in the USA do we see violating citizens civil rights as a means of 'protecting' those rights.

    In the intelligence field (aka spys) this would be a double-double agent and is a known tactic for infiltrating organizations (which is even easier when using this tactic to setup the organization in the first place).

    I can't prove that this is true, but can anyone prove that it isn't? Just because it's a conspiracy theory doesn't mean it couldn't have some basis in reality.

     

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  101.  
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    Irate Pirate, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Message

    Understanding everything that is severely wrong with the status quo and the resulting desire to change the world for the better is not limited to hackers. Those who challenge the status quo have always faced persecution for their beliefs. Getting people to change, even when it is in their best interest and their survival depends on it, has always been an uphill battle. Those whom do nothing to defend their way of life risk losing it forever, shamefully dishonoring all those who have fought and died to protect it in the process. The rich are helping to erode the freedom and liberty of the people for the sake of profits, and those we've trusted with political power are helping them. So yes, everyone should be yelling that they're "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" and if John F. Kennedy were still alive, he'd be saying to the world "I told you so!"

     

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  102.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:16pm

    A simple thought ...

    Anonymous should create a spin off called "Digital sit in" for all DDOS's they do in the future. This way if people are arrested they can say we were doing the digital equivalent of a sit in.

    This would do two things, 1) increase the ranks of people willing to use LOIC. 2) It would make governments less likely to arrest people.

     

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  103.  
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    JD, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Lulzsec

    Since when does this website become a supporter of criminals?

    And for your information, a lot of them ARE a group. Their posts are proof of it. They have leaders, and followers. One leader even threatened to kill some other members if they didn't do what he asked (from a chat log posted).

    You can't just expect them to do nothing to stop this. I can guarantee you if this keeps up, it will get to the point that big brother takes over the internet, congress will have meetings over this also and pass all kinds of ridiculous laws, all thanks to these stupid idiotic script kiddies who have no brains.

    They have already released logins and passwords for hundreds of thousands of citizens, not to mention police officers putting their families lives at risk, and our own military (how low can they get).

    Sorry, but I have aboslutely zero sympathy for any of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    JD, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Lulzsec

    I see there are a lot of lulzsec members apparently posting here totally distorting the truth.

    FACT is, many of them arrested were in their 20's... not 16 like so many here are posting.

    Go ahead, and wish for more of this crap. I can guarantee you things will be FAR worse for everyone in the future. You can mark my words on that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    txpatriot, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: I'm Certain This Will Be Effective

    The only disappointment is your ability to guess ages. But thanx for playing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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