If 2011 was “The Year of the Data Breach”, then 2012 is fast becoming “The Year Anonymous Became Public Enemy # 1!”
Anonymous, Anonymouse, and “tools”, are all terms I have used to describe this decentralized group of computer operators who use their skills to harass, embarass and otherwise annoy. If you think they’re going away anytime soon, think again.
Let’s have a look at just this month so far, and see what these folks have been up to:
I would put these in order, but does it matter… (These all happened in the last 16 days)
“they” is Anonymous
- Boston, West Virginia, and Salt Lake Police Departments – they just don’t like cops
- Basically the whole City of Oakland’s leadership – they didn’t like Occupy Oakland’s end
- Federal Trade Commission – they don’t like ACTA, an international anti-counterfeiting treaty, and the FTC supports it
- Croatian President’s website – this Preseident does like ACTA, therefore, they don’t like him
- United Nations – apparently because it was easy, but maybe they don’t like the whole world
- CIA – any guesses why they did this one?
- Mexican Chamber of Mines (Camimex) – they don’t like the working conditions of miners
- Syrian (soon to be ex-) President Bashar al Assad – any questions?
- New Zealand Foreign Minister’s email – they don’t like recent NZ legislation on illegal downloading
- Microsoft’s India Store – apparently by a Chinese contingent of Anonymous, but no real reason
- Brazilian banks: Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Itau, HSBC – must be members of the 1%
- Law Firm that was defending the Marine found guilty in the Iraqi town of Haditha killings – he didn’t go to jail, the attorneys did their job… if Anons disagreed, wouldn’t the judge have been a better target?
- Westboro Baptist Church – go get ’em fellas… (and ladies)
- NASDAQ, Chicago Board Options Exchange – damn the financial system, let’s take it down
- Combined Systems, US Corporation – makers of tear gas that was apparently shipped to Egypt
- Symantec – high tech security company, Anons stole the souce code for PC Anywhere
- State of Alabama – apparently AL has some “racist legislation” regarding immigrants
- FBI – UK (Met Police) PHONE CALL!!! – the investigators tapped by the “investigees”
- And apparently today they are launching “Operation Global Blackout”, which is supposed to cause havoc all over the Internet – maybe this site is currently down…
So, there’s a snap shot of the last two weeks or so. If you think these are all harmless pranks, think again. The State of Alabama hack resulted in 46,000 citizen’s personal information, including Social Security numbers being stolen. Where are they now? Do you think the thief cares?
Also, remember back to the Strategic Forcasting (Stratfor), I wrote about it here. Back in December, Anonymous both claimed and denied responsibility. Recently, however, clients of Stratfor have been receiving emails that are clearly “phishing” attempts. These emails purport to be from Stratfor informing the recipient that they need to click a link in order to assist with the “healing process” (my words, not theirs) of their data breach (link claims to load some protection program for the client). The link is actually to a malicious program designed to steal things like banking credentials.
So, it could be that Anonymous is pulling a Taliban (poppies are illegal where we’re in power, but we own them all when we’re not), and using the stolen information for financial crimes (not merely for protest purposes). Many times they post the information publicly to prove they did it. Along comes the wolves, and, well, Houston, we have a problem. (If a guy buys a gun, and then leaves it on a sidewalk, loaded, is that a problem?)
But ah ha, the US Senate recently released a long awaited piece of legislation, The Cybersecurity Act of 2012! Thank heavens…
Let me have just two more minutes of your time so I can give you the headlines of this piece of legislation:
…the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 would do the following:
Coordinate Cybersecurity Reseach and Development
Determine the Greatest Cyber Vulnerabilities
Protect Our Most Critical Infrastructure
Protect and Promote Innovation
Improve Information Sharing While Protecting Privacy and Civil Liabilities
Improve the Security of the Federal Government’s Networks
Clarify the Roles of Federal Agencies
Strengthen the Cybersecurity Workforce
In the last 16 days, hackers have operated without abandon and caused mayhem. Let’s hope that the next 16, and the 16 after that and the 16 after that, and so on, and so on… will get this bill on our President’s desk so these folks can have a new target (whitehouse.gov) and make themselves public enemy number one.
PS – if you have Symantec’s PC Anywhere… I’d be nervous.