FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

Summary: The FBI is carrying out raids in an ongoing investigation into hacking group Anonymous, but the challenges with taking out a distributed gang are enormous.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation agents conducted a series of raids Tuesday in an ongoing investigation into Anonymous, the hacking group. But the challenges with taking out a distributed gang are enormous.

CBS News has learned that FBI agents conducted raids on the New York homes Tuesday. PCs and gear were taken under search warrants. Two homes were on Long Island with another two in Brooklyn and the Bronx. CBS News also confirmed that additional raids were conducted in California and 14 arrests have been made so far.

Related: FBI makes 14 arrests in Anonymous raids

Overall, there are more than a dozen raids being conducted across the U.S. in a "major law enforcement operation," according to CBS News. For now, these raids are related to searches.

The aim of the raids was to track down hackers that allegedly carried out attacks on corporations and government sites.

A Fox News report highlighted the raids earlier. As CNET News' Don Reisinger noted, the FBI had some success targeting Anonymous members and has more than 40 search warrants aimed at the group.

The big challenge is that law enforcement agencies are playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. As new members are targeted others appear. Hacking groups like Anonymous---and spin offs such as LulzSec---are decentralized by design. You cut off the head---or what you think is the head---and something else regenerates.

Scotland Yard last month arrested Ryan Cleary, a 19 year old in London, in connection with a series of attacks on Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency. The problem: LulzSec blared on its Twitter account that the arrest was misplaced. However, LulzSec later went silent---until it hacked a Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper site for giggles.

Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security chief, said last month that the big challenge with combating hacking groups is attribution. In a decentralized group there are various flavors of bad guys. The FBI has to take out many bad actors---and associated servers---in hopes of getting a big score.

Chertoff said:

“Do we respond if we don’t know who had bad intent, but can locate the server that is a weapon against us? Do we take out the server in real life or cyberspace? There’s not going to be a clear line and we may take that server out in physical and cyber domains.”

The conundrum is akin to battling a terrorist network where you have to cast a wide net to get any traction against Anonymous.

In that respect, the FBI's raid Tuesday is just the latest installment in what is likely to be a series of ongoing attempts to derail Anonymous and similar groups.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Topics: Government US, Government, Security

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73 comments
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  • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

    Good job on the article!
    The Douginator
  • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

    There's about to be a lot of water-boarding.
    wraith404
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking grou

      @wraith404 i sure hope so. Gitmo baby!
      ktell
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      @wraith404 Hopefully a remake of Oklahoma city will be the consequence. Down with the FBI!
      Tommy S.
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @Tommy S. I don't agree with killing, or hurting innocent people just because someone got skunked by the feds. That is morally wrong!
        SpankyFrost
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @SpankyFrost I don't agree with killing, or hurting innocent people either. But we are not talking about innocent people here, we are talking about FBI employees.
        Tommy S.
  • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

    Hackers hacking hackers haphazardly.
    trm1945
  • not really how it works

    It isn't how they are describing it at all. When teens try to out due each other not all in line know what to do. usually only a few can do the ring leading.
    But anyhow only teen rage would escalate something they had good for years to doing something that puts them as a direct target of the fbi. stupid is as stupid does.
    bspurloc
  • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

    I believe some very smart anons used the 'crappiest' level of 'hackers' as walls to protect thenselves. Probably these guys are good in TI, but not that good to be taken.
    The bests (and worst) will never be seen.
    Nevellin
  • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

    I hope they through the book at as many as they can catch.
    nbkz81f
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      Speeky engrish very long?
      SpankyFrost
  • Waterboarding is torture

    @ wraith and ktell
    You support waterboarding? Of American citizens no less?
    I find that disturbing.
    gsenior
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      @gsenior
      I find anyone that trys to do harm to one another whether it be Digital, mental or physcial disturbing.
      fierce750
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      @gsenior No, I don't support waterboarding in private. However, I WOULD support flogging in public. If somebody were to get 10 lashes in full view of their community along with fines and parole, it would really make them realize deep down they did wrong. Scars are a good memory aid. It would also serve as an example to other kids who think this is all fun and games.
      kevincoughlin
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @kevincoughlin There is a group that do just that. As you are like minded maybe you should join them, they are called the Taliban.
        namaqua
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @kevincoughlin lashings and scars are just one more thing for people to brag about. We are taught from a young age the competition trumps all. No one likes to be outdone or come in second. Do it in public view, and I guarantee there would be people lined up practically willing to pay for an outlandish lashing that tops the guy before him. It's a sick world we live in.
        beavo040
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @kevincoughlin lashings and scars are just one more thing for people to brag about. We are taught from a young age that competition trumps all. No one likes to be outdone or come in second. Do it in public view, and I guarantee there would be people lined up practically willing to pay for an outlandish lashing that tops the guy before him. It's a sick world we live in.
        beavo040
      • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

        @kevincoughlin
        So you are a "member of the American Taliban" then.
        Your ethics must be EXTREMELY high.
        hkommedal
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      @gsenior - I'm pretty sure those two don't know what they support, just kids making a statement that they hope will get some attention.
      dev/null
    • RE: FBI's Anonymous challenge: Cast a wide net vs. distributed hacking group

      @gsenior It is no less disturbing than seeing American citizens disrupting the public order. Waterboarding is the LEAST punishment I would give. Personally I would prefer to shoot them as spies.

      Maj. Hasan was an American citizen who killed 13 fellow soldiers at Ft Hood. He should be waterboarded to see if he has any friends like him, then waterboard them too.
      BlackAmerican