by wjw on February 13, 2011

Anonymous is, of course, the hacker cooperative known for its online assaults against the Church of Scientology, white supremacist Hal Turner, anti-porn crusaders, the odd pedophile, anyone opposed to WikiLeaks, and the governments of (in no particular order) Sweden, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Australia, and Egypt.

So what happens when an investigator publically claims to have infiltrated the group and to have acquired the real names of some of its leaders?

The attack escalated from some odd DDoS traffic to a full-scale break-in of HBGary Federal systems, one that showed tremendous skill. “What amazes me is, for a security company – you had such a basic SQL vulnerability on your website,” wrote one Anonymous member later.

Days afterward, the company has still not managed to restore its complete website . . .

Barr’s Twitter account remains compromised, sprinkled with profane taunts. The HBGary websites remain down. The e-mails of three key players were leaked via BitTorrent, stuffed as they were with nondisclosure agreements, confidential documents, salary numbers, and other sensitive data that had nothing to do with Anonymous.

And they have more information—such as the e-mails of Greg Hoglund, Leavy’s husband and the operator of (which was also taken down by the group).

When Leavy showed up to plead her case, asking Anonymous to at least stop distributing the e-mails, the hivemind reveled in its power over Leavy and her company, resorting eventually to tough demands against Barr. . .

The hack unfolded at the worst possible time for HBGary Federal. The company was trying to sell, hopefully for around $2 million, but the two best potential buyers started to drag their heels. “They want to see delivery on pipeline before paying those prices,” Leavy wrote to Barr. “So initial payout is going to be lower with both companies I am talking with. That said our pipeline continues to drag out as customers are in no hurry to get things done quickly so if we dont sell soon and our customers dont come through soon we are going to have cash flow issues.”

Or, as Tom Maddox put it, “Let’s see what happens when I cover myself with honey and poke this bear.”

Or, to put it another way, if you charge out the front door to attack the Hive Mind, you’d better make sure that members of the Hive Mind aren’t already lurking in your basement carrying axes and wearing hockey masks.

DensityDuck February 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm

On the other hand, you might say that this is the Hive Mind making an absolutely awesome argument as to why Internet anonymity is a scary, bad, dangerous thing that is misused by irresponsible people.

Is this the Justly Taken Vengeance Of The Wronged? Or is it a bunch of Hell’s Angels burning down a cop’s house?

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