Sunday, February 20, 2011

Anon Takes on WBC [EDITED: x3]

I received word earlier that my remaining Great Grandmother passed away. So the “love and Law” piece I planned to run tomorrow on EI.Net probably won't appear. Hopefully it'll be ready by next Friday. I just want to make sure I can cover all my bases, and I'm not sure I can do that when I'm somewhat more emotional than usual.

In it's stead is the following:

Anon. Takes on Westboro Baptist Church

When they first started coming to national attention after a brief and hilarious mention on a Fox News story, Ryan Singel wrote: “Here supremely bored 15-year olds post obscene pictures and stupid photo-shopped images for others to comment on. They also randomly swarm and try to overwhelm online sites and forums they consider annoying.”

That was in 2007. It is 2011, now. And so in February:
Any companies out there considering taking down Anonymous in return for the various DDoS attacks the group staged earlier this year might want to think twice. The hacktivist group recently infiltrated security firm HBGary Federal’s network and accumulated various confidential material and internal e-mails. The firm’s CEO Aaron Barr allegedly had plans to rat out Anonymous members to the FBI, and as revenge he can now find his and various other HBGary employees’ e-mails publicly posted (HBGary is HBGary Federal’s sister company). In addition to outing Anonymous members, HBGary was one of the handful firms orchestrating an image attack to destroy WikiLeaks’ reputation. WikiLeaks is reportedly preparing to release confidential documents belonging to Bank of America, and according to Forbes, HBGary would work for the company by “spreading misinformation, launching cyberattacks against [WikiLeaks], and pressuring journalists.”

Ever since they decided to assault (and then get bored with the assault) Scientology, various sections of Anon have become ever more socially aware and ever more prone toward taking action against things they don't like. The HBGary hack appears to have gone like this:
In retaliation for Aaron Barr's claims, members of the group Anonymous hacked the website of HBGary Federal and replaced the welcome page with a message stating that Anonymous should not be messed with, and that the hacking of the website was necessary to defend itself. Anonymous also went on to take control of the company's e-mail, dumping 60,000+ e-mails onto the system, erasing all files, and taking down their phone system.

Take a moment to imagine you're an individual that was planning to go to HBGary for security operations. One moment, the page looks fine. Then it freezes. When you refresh, the Anon logo appears with their rather amusing message.

The response has crippled the company's standing in the stock market; their partners in crime have fled the field for now.

Then, following all of the above, Anon has a message for WBC:
February 16, 2011
We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS – the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People – have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of religion.
Being such aggressive proponents for the Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Information as we are, we have hitherto allowed you to continue preaching your benighted gospel of hatred and your theatrical exhibitions of, not only your fascist views, but your utter lack of Christ-like attributes. You have condemned the men and women who serve, fight, and perish in the armed forces of your nation; you have prayed for and celebrated the deaths of young children, who are without fault; you have stood outside the United States National Holocaust Museum, condemning the men, women, and children who, despite their innocence, were annihilated by a tyrannical embodiment of fascism and unsubstantiated repugnance. Rather than allowing the deceased some degree of peace and respect, you instead choose to torment, harass, and assault those who grieve.
Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man – except for yourselves – has frequently crossed the line which separates Freedom of Speech from deliberately utilizing the same tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse that have been previously exploited and employed by tyrants and dictators, fascists and terrorist organizations throughout history.
ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public Web sites.
Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS: We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines.
The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.

I wonder... What does Ryan Singel think of Anonymous these days, after they've managed massive worldwide protests against Scientology, put the fear of the hack into security firms, and taken to harassing WBC? Are they still kids, or have the kids... grown up and discovered they're less bored, and more pissed off?

In any event, I will watch things as they unfold in this matter with interest.

[EDIT #1]: Beneath is WBC's response. This will be hilarious.

[EDIT #2: ] Anon says: it's a trap.

[EDIT #3:] For posterity (what the fuck have I been on today?) clarity - Anon has determined that WBC isn't worth dicking with, because they only do shit for attention anyway. I thank Anon for correcting me through geek outlets and other sources. (And next time, I'll make sure they're actually doing something before writing about it!)


The Scribbler said...

Can't you just read between the lines in the Anonymous correction that "revenge is a dish best served cold"? Wait 'til WBC has their guard down.

Z. E. Accordino said...

I'll admit, I was super giddy when I read the initial letter. I really wanted to see that battle happen. And even though a lot of people I know argued that it would amount to nothing more than bullying or terrorism, I truly felt it would have been vigilante justice.

Like you, my personal feelings clouded my critical eye and I fell for the con. Reading the third letter, it truly becomes apparent just how out of character the first letter was.

Anonymous took the moral high ground, and acted smartly by avoiding the bait pathetically laid out for them. I have a lot of respect for their decision and believe they made the correct choice.

But I'll be honest - I'm really disappointed that no one's going to lay the smackdown on the WBC. They may not be as physically threatening or destructive as dictators in the middle east, or as duplicitous and oppressive as those behind the smear campaign of Wikileaks, but they bring their own brand of suffering and harassment to every family whose loved one's funeral has been picketed, and all the minority groups that have been hurt by their bigotry. I sincerely hope that someday they give Anon or the law a sufficient reason to stop them.

Jack Faust said...

@Scrib: I can, and I do see that. But I think noticing that detracts from something I realized late last night: I got played by WBC (as did many media outlets) because I didn't pay attention to some of the things that would've given the WBC letter away as a ploy. The biggest is that WBC isn't particularly dangerous - when compared with a security company, or a Government hell-bent on passing legislation that adversely affects the/its people. The Operations in Tunisia, in Iran, and elsewhere across the internet and world, have all been actions of solidarity and/or attempts to remove the dangerous from power or expose them for what they are. WBC is none of those things. I'm sure their letter will generate a response at a later date. But when Anon says they're busy in their response letter, they do mean it. And that's something I actually personally respect. I may not always agree with the tactics, or specific actions (their claims that DDoSing is a new type of sit-in is interesting to me, but I can't see anyone that isn't an internet junkie seeing it that way for instance) I generally always agree with the motive. WBC lacks all of those and more.

So, yeah. I do expect a response. But... I think the waiting game in this case is educational for more than a few reasons.

@ZE: WBC will get their own in the days to come. It's really only a matter of time now. The more idiocy they spread, the more hate they shove forward - the closer they get to the edge of an Abyss in which they cannot survive. But that said: hate always survives those that first inspire it. Even if WBC were erradicated from the 'net and America tomorrow, there would be still be a few heinous fucks to carry on their contemptuous work. We still have Neo-Nazis all over the U.S., for example, and they use Biblical scripture in much the same way and to much of the same response. Is it evil? Yes. Will it leave us in our lifetime? No. Only education and love can overcome that sort've hate and ignorance.