Anonymous 'crippled': where to for hacktivism?

Anonymous 'crippled': where to for hacktivism?

Summary: Former journalist and commentator Barret Brown, who has worked with Anonymous for about a year and a half, discusses Anonymous' position in the wake of revelations that Sabu, a core member and informal leader of the offshoot hacking group LulzSec, had become an FBI informant.

TOPICS: Security

"Anonymous is, for now ... in a crippled state," according to Barrett Brown, a former journalist and commentator who founded Project PM.

On this week's Patch Monday podcast, Brown, who has been working with Anonymous for about a year and a half, discusses the hacktivist group's position in the wake of revelations that Sabu, a core member and informal leader of the offshoot hacking group LulzSec, had become an FBI informant.

Anonymous has as many faces as it has members, of course. Although Brown is a very public face for the hacktivist group, he stressed that he speaks only for himself. His connections to Anonymous, and its offshoot LulzSec, have included the internet relay chat (IRC) channel AnonOps, where many of the group's "operations" are discussed.

"The AnonOps server, for instance, is not what it was like a year ago, more than a year ago. It's very different now in terms of who's there, what they're doing, if they care," Brown said.

"It's simply the nature of the beast. When you have a crowd-sourced operation, just like a democracy, it's only going to be as good as its participants."

Brown believes that Anonymous' lack of leadership, and antipathy to any form of structure, has worked against it.

"A lot of people made a lot of mistakes, including myself. Just various day-to-day or larger tactical [or] strategic errors," he said.

"It obviously didn't help that you had this large operation, called AntiSec, that really disenchanted a lot of people outside and inside; and that was, of course, encouraged by the FBI, we now know."

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time: 40 minutes, 12 seconds

Topic: Security


Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit trap, clear a jam in an IBM model 026 card punch and mix a mean whiskey sour.

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  • Hacktivism is the act of hacking, or breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose.
  • Just shows how fast someone will turn into a snitch to save their own **** Reminds me of my own situation when I was faced with a stack of forged prescriptions. I was gave a deal to snitch however I told the detective you're the detective so go detect. Now get me a lawyer because that's all I have to say.

    Guess what? Me keeping my trap shut paid off with a couple small fines and probation which is over now.
    The main reason people get trumped up charges is on their own behalf of not shutting the hell up. Sure a stack of evidence looks good and makes you want to "explain/screw yourself worse" Do yourself a favor NEVER TALK TO THE POLICE! Their job is to MAKE SURE YOU'RE FOUND GUILTY. The whole help yourself line is a joke rofl.

    I'm just a victim of my **** doctor cutting me off for not wanting to have back surgery.
  • I began to read Project PM. BB will make a writer out of you. I must commend Mr. Brown enthusiastically on his remarkable intellect.

    I haven't left a comment since the FBI raid on BB. My contribution was to forward an e-mail I received purporting to deal meth from China. I gave BB a head start, then I cc'd that offer I'd received to DEA, too. Thus, one more example of trying to do things right. Well, I guess my tip is in the FBI's hands now. DEA does not have an e-mail contact on its website, so BB had the doc longer than the "head start" amount of time. I had to print out their copy and mail it to Washington.
    All you have to do is to look at a government website to feel abandoned by your government.
    The same local DEA office I called at Christmastime, San Diego, wound up with reporters outside their fort when they inadvertently left a 24-year old student without water for five days, in April. What DEA actually did which comports with my tip is to bring down an online drug marketplace. This Anonymous type method of using the internet to further drug sales is indeed slam-dunk easy, with only a few moving parts. Bitcoin is one of them; appreciate it.
    Now, I'd like you to imagine that this excellent writer I am copypasting is talking about BB. He is actually talking about how if and only if the Chinese character for C is made out of D and O; whilst listening to BB we can follow his use of the word, OPTION, because his discourse is complex, requiring focused listening, and, there are no extra words.
    Quoting from
    third, and fatal, misapprehension is the author's definition of jī as “opportunity.” While it is true that wēijī does indeed mean “crisis” and that the wēi syllable of wēijī does convey the notion of “danger,” the jī syllable of wēijī most definitely does not signify “opportunity.” Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines “opportunity” as:

    1.a favorable juncture of circumstances;
    2.a good chance for advancement or progress.

    While that may be what our Pollyanaish advocates of “crisis” as “danger” plus “opportunity” desire jī to signify, it means something altogether different.

    The jī of wēijī, in fact, means something like “incipient moment; crucial point (when something begins or changes).” Thus, a wēijī is indeed a genuine crisis, a dangerous moment, a time when things start to go awry. A wēijīindicates a perilous situation when one should be especially wary. It is not a juncture when one goes looking for advantages and benefits. In a crisis, one wants above all to save one's skin and neck! Any would-be guru who advocates opportunism in the face of crisis should be run out of town on a rail, for his / her advice will only compound the danger of the crisis.