SourceForge pulls Anonymous-OS

Summary:The suspicious operating system "Anonymous-OS Live" is no longer available on SourceForge because the project isn't transparent and is trying to capitalize on the Anonymous name.

Earlier this week, someone created a Tumblr webpage for a new operating system called "Anonymous-OS Live.". Reliable Anonymous sources denounced the release, but despite the warnings, tens of thousands still downloaded it. You could download it as a torrent and via direct download, but as of today, only the former option. SourceForge has taken it down:

SourceForge, and the Open Source community as a whole, values transparency, particularly where issues of security are involved. This project isn't transparent with regard to what's in it. It is critical that security-related software be completely open to peer review (i.e., by providing source code), so that risks may be assessed along with benefits. That is not available in this case, and the result is that people are taking a substantial risk in downloading and installing this distribution.

Furthermore, by taking an intentionally misleading name, this project has attempted to capitalize on the press surrounding a well-known movement in order to push downloads of a project that is less than a week old.

We have therefore decided to take this download offline and suspend this project until we have more information that might lead us to think differently. We'll be in touch with the project admin, and let you know if and when we find out anything to contrary, but for now, that's what we're doing.

Ars Technica used the operating system before it was taken down. Here's the crux:

I had the audacity to download it just before Sourceforge shut the project down, loading it up on a virtual machine and installing it to a bootable USB. And honestly, there's not a whole lot to get excited about—Anonymous-OS is nothing more than a snapshot of a system running Ubuntu 11.10 with a few minor tweaks, redistributed as a live-boot ISO, and packaged with the usual collection of "educational" security tools (some of which may in fact expose you to law enforcement attention).

In short, if you downloaded it, you can use it. Just know that it really doesn't offer much of an advantage, and that the hacktivist group Anonymous doesn't back it.

See also:

Topics: Malware, CXO, Security

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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