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.

"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

Topics: Security

About

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 tr... Full Bio

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