Anonymous Takes Down CIA Website with Playful Updates on Twitter

The online hacker collective Anonymous declared a major hit yesterday, when the @YourAnonNews Twitter account announced the takedown of the CIA website. The successful takedown was announced with a “CIA tango down” message in a typical Anonymous style. The website was restored shortly afterwards, and there was no operation associated with the takedown. In short, this takedown was uncalled for and had no motive.

Last month, Anonymous took down the websites of the FBI and the Justice Department using the DDoS technique. It was their largest DDoS ever, and saw over 5000 participants. However, this takedown of CIA was motiveless, and has not been tagged with any ongoing operation so far. Apart from the CIA, the Alabama government website was also taken down, to protest against its harsh immigration laws.

anonymous

However, the confusing news is that although YourAnonNews reported the takedown, they came back to give another message saying, “We’d remind media that if we report a hack or ddos attack, it doesn’t necessarily mean we did it…FYI”.

Last year around June, the Anonymous splinter group LulzSec took down CIA website and claimed responsibility for it. It was their claim to fame in the notorious hacktivism world.

Anonymous is being taken seriously by law enforcement agencies across the world, and they are attempting to join hands against Anonymous. A few days ago, FBI set up a conference call with the Scotland Yard to discuss this matter. However, Anonymous leaked both the email setting up the call, and a voice transcript of the entire seventeen-minute call.

This should serve as a point of reflection for the FBI. Anonymous is a merry band of hackers. However, if Anonymous can drop in on your conversations, how safe are they from other governments? This raises serious security concerns.

Symantec Discards Code Stolen by Anonymous as Harmless

Earlier this month, Symantec released patches for its PCAnywhere program, saying the patches would protect its users from hackers who have gotten control of PCAnywhere source codes. These were critical patches for Windows versions of PCAnywhere. With these patches, Symantec also admitted that some of its source code was stolen back in 2006, and it was being contacted by the Lords of Dharmaraja (a hacker group) over these stolen codes.
anonymous

Symantec PCAnywhere 12.5 is the world’s leading remote access software solution. It lets you manage computers efficiently, resolve helpdesk issues quickly, and connect to remote devices simply and securely.

While the patches released by Symantec fixed known vulnerabilities, there could still be some unknown vulnerabilities, which were unpatched.

Symantec claims that the Anonymous interacted with the FBI in its negotiations, but it is unclear whom they really contacted. Some speculate it is Symantec, and they are using the FBI story as a cover up. On the other hand, the hackers have released 1.27 GB of data this Monday, and claim that there is more.

An interesting part of the conversation between Symantec and hackers reads,

We cannot pay you $50,000 at once for the reasons we discussed previously.  We can pay you $2,500 per month for the first three months.  In exchange, you will make a public statement on behalf of your group that you lied about the hack (as you previously stated).   Once that’s done, we will pay the rest of the $50,000 to your account and you can take it all out at once.  That should solve your problem. Obviously you still have our code so if we don’t follow through you still have the upper hand.

When Symantec tried to play the hacker Yama Tough, who claims to have the code, he got impatient and released the code online on 6 February. After analyzing the leaked code, Symantec has declared that it is a five-year-old code and its patches are enough to keep users safe. However, these source code leaks are unacceptable from a company that deals in security.

The list of email conversations can be found on this paste from PasteBin.

Anonymous Retaliates Against Crackdown on Occupy Oakland Protests

In the past couple of weeks, more than 300 people have been arrested in connection with the Occupy Oakland protests. Multiple incidents of violence were reported across Oakland with the police often resorting to the use of excessive force. As you might have guessed, the police clampdown didn’t sit well with Anonymous, which has retaliated in the only way it knows how. Anonymous has leaked private information of several top city officials, who may or may not have had a role to play in the reported police brutality.

Date of birth, address, private phone number, salary, social media accounts and other information of several prominent Oakland officials including the Mayor Jean Quan and her husband, City Administrator Deanna Santana, police Chief Howard Jordan, City Attorney Barbara Parker, and all City Council members, have been leaked. The only council member to be spared is Rebecca Kaplan. Anonymous thanked her for “being a true leader in the community” and revealed only her public phone number.

The hacked information is available on Pastebin, but Anonymous being Anonymous also released a dramatic video to announce their latest move. The video and its transcript are embedded below.

Anonymous has been watching. Since the inception of Occupy Oakland, We have been actively monitoring your behavior, and exposing the identities and sensitive information of Officers of the Oakland Police Department; as they have continued to act in an unprofessional and violent manner. You tear gassed Us. You shot Us with your weapons. You arrested Us. You beat Us. You also did this to Our Friends, and to Our Families. We watched as you cut budgets, cut Our jobs, closed Our schools, Our parks, and Our libraries, while leaving your own salaries alone. We laughed in disgust as Deanna Santana said she would need to speak to her attorney before discussing her pay cut. The people on this list are supposed to represent the best of what the City of Oakland has to offer. If they are the best, why is there so much trouble within the Police Department, and in the City of Oakland?

We are shocked and disgusted by your behavior. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people again, think twice.

You should have expected Us.

Anonymous Hacks FTC’s OnGuardOnline Website as Part of OpMegaupload

Since 2008, the satirical hacker collective, popularly known as the Anonymous has risen to act in the public interest. They have carried out numerous hacks to bring down websites of companies with questionable business practices, governments with poor legislative policies and churches with a twisted sense of religion. From a satirical merry hacker-band, the group went on to become the primary name in the international online hacktivism space.

This time, the group of Anonymous has targeted OnGuardOnline (the US online security website), a partner the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The attack is a protest against the shutdown of Megaupload, the popular file-sharing website.

It is a well-known fact that after the downfall of their usual communication channels, Anonymous has started posting on the Pastebin website. This particular paste on Pastebin announces the FTC hack, along with a dump of the hacked data. The same message is also posted on the hacked onguardonline.gov website.

If SOPA/PIPA/ACTA passes we will wage a relentless war against the corporate internet, destroying dozens upon dozens of government and company websites. As you are reading this, we are amassing our allied armies of darkness, preparing boatloads of stolen booty for our next raid. We are sitting on hundreds of rooted servers getting ready to drop all your mysql dumps and mail spools. Your passwords? Your precious bank accounts? Even your online dating details?! You ain’t even trying to step to this.

Earlier this week, a misguided faction inside Anonymous decided to post a YouTube video, calling all Anonymous supporters to attack Facebook. Soon thereafter, the attack was dismissed by the Anonymous Twitter account when they saw this as unfeasible. This is being realistic, because such a mega-scale attack is not possible without proper co-ordination, at least not after Anonymous lost its IRC server.

Coach.com and Coachfactory.com Hacked to Protest Against SOPA by UGNazi Group

It looks like the SOPA war is getting bigger with another new group called UGNazi stepping in and hacking sites which support SOPA. The group has currently hacked Coach.com and Coachfactory.com to protest SOPA and are going to hack more sites in retaliation.

All the three sites are currently redirecting to a site called ugnazi.com which was created yesterday. It is not clear as to whether this is a new group or another form of Anonymous who have been taking down websites like that of FBI, CIA and more to retaliate government control and shutdown of sites like Megaupload.

Also Read: An Interview with an OpDarknet Anon

Over the past few days, Megaupload was shut down by FBI and several other file sharing websites pulled the trigger on themselves with FileSonic stopping downloads, Uploaded.to blocking the U.S. users and several other file sharing websites shutting operations.

The UGNazi group had earlier hacked UFC.com website and is against the SOPA from USA and ACTA bill from Europe which are draconian piracy bills in their current form.

We understand that these websites will enevitably (sic) take back their website.
We don’t steal users data, only here to make them aware.
From SOPA/PIPA, to ACTA to just pissing us off…there is always a reason

It is unclear if the group is associated with Anonymous, but it looks like their motives are same. SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA have definitely stirred quite a few users on the internet and we will definitely keep seeing more such attacks in the future.

Story developing….

Megaupload Shutdown by Feds, Proves Further That SOPA is a Dud Bill, Anonymous Retaliates

Soon after the Internet community pinned down SOPA, the feds went after Megaupload and brought it down. Megaupload is one of the world’s most popular file-sharing websites. It has been charged with over $500 million in losses over piracy of music, movies and TV shows. This is one of the largest criminal copyright cases, and the Justice Department along with the FBI has been prompt in bringing it to a closure. Surprisingly, they did not need to use anything like SOPA in this case. This proves that there is enough law for taking down apparently rogue websites. SOPA is absolutely unnecessary and hence, unwelcome.

stop-censorship

The founder of Megaupload Kim Dotcom, along with three others, was arrested at New Zealand, on request by US authorities. Megaupload was one of the 18 domains owned by Kim Dotcom and his company, and all of them were seized following raids on their three datacenters. However, this domain-seizure and arrest came as a surprise, because a few days ago, Kim made a bold statement in an interview with TorrentFreak.

Mega has nothing to fear. Our business is legitimate and protected by the DMCA and similar laws around the world. We work with the best lawyers and play by the rules. We take our legal obligations seriously. Mega’s war chest is full and we have strong supporters backing us.

The position on file-sharing websites has always been a controversial one in the anti-piracy debate. NY Times puts it into fine words saying,

Megaupload and similar sites, like Rapidshare and Mediafire, are often promoted as convenient ways to legitimately transfer large files; a recent promotional video had major stars like Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas singing Mega-upload’s praises. But they have become notorious inside media companies, which see the legitimate uses as a veil concealing extensive theft.

In the midst of all this ballyhoo, Anonymous rose in protest against the Megaupload shutdown, and brought down the Justice Department website for a brief period. They also attacked the MPAA, RIAA and Universal Music Group websites.

Do not forget to read some interesting traffic stats for Megaupload.

Anonymous Hacks Security Company’s Database, Steals Credit Card Information

Anonymous, being the decentralized hacker group that it is, does newsworthy works of note as well as rather asinine things that despoil its name as well as the term hacktivistfor the rest of the world. Its recent escapade falls under the second category wherein Anonymous hackers hacked into security company Stratfor and mined it for credit card information. Apparently this was done to misappropriate the money and use it for donations to charitable institutions for Christmas.

anon

The Austin, Texas-based security company is already in talks with law enforcement to contain the confidential documents’ leak. With clients ranging from Apple Inc. to the U.S. Air Force, the company had better work quickly to save both its reputation and corporate and military secrets. In addition, it seems that Stratfor has pulled a Sony by not encrypting the credit card information, leading to many unauthorized transactions alleged by the victims, especially for those who were in need of the money to get home for the Holidays and the like. Terrible move there, Anonymous.

It also seems like Anonymous forgot about the chargeback fees for unauthorized transactions that have to be borne by charitable institutions like the Red Cross.

I am not sure if Anonymous wants to play Robin Hood and hide behind the veneer and motto of steal from the rich and give it to the poor, but this is not medieval England and they are not exactly stealing from the rich. Their current communiqués glorify this act of blatant stealing in the name of freedom and lulz’. This is definitely not what we expected from Anonymous. It’s a sad Christmas for hacktivism.

[Photo Anonymous is Friendly? by liryon]

 

Anonymous Declares Operation Blackout Against SOPA

Enough has already been said about the damage SOPA will do to the Internet and by now, everyone realizes that it directly threatens everything that represents online freedom. The media industry is using SOPA as a weapon to create a clout of censorship, which will be counterproductive for free speech over the internet. It can be used to remove entire websites hosting infringing content. This way, it would take just one rogue or disgruntled user sharing copyright content, to get the whole website off the Internet. This affects  Web 2.0  (the umbrella term) by definition.
anon-logo

There is too much wrong with this bill. The bill might have been passed with good intentions, but clearly, it has chances of going horribly wrong. People the world over are trying to undo this damage and have written petitions and letters to the government.

In the midst of this, the Anonymous collective has decided to act against SOPA in its typical fashion. Anonymous has declared Operation Blackout against SOPA. The exact specifications and the nature of the attack are unknown as of now. However, there are two videos from Anon on YouTube, in their typical fashion.

Their message ends with a new set of warnings, this time.

We do not forgive censorship.
We do not forget the denial of our free rights as human beings.
To the United States government, you should’ve expected us.

Out of the recent Anonymous warnings, very few have caused some real damage. Let us see how this “call to arms” turns up. It would be unusual of Anonymous to employ other means, though it seems like a very delicate issue to be fought with their flagship DDOS attacks.

(Via Reddit)

Anonymous Withdraws #OpCartel in Wake of Kidnapping and Murder of Activists

A few days back, Anonymous went up against Zeta- the strongest drug cartel in Mexico. Since then, the Zeta drug cartel has been targeting people who have a strong online presence and voice their opinion against the drug cartel. Among the dead victims are the Editor-in-chief of  Primera Hora, a vocal newspaper and two other people who were found hanging from a bridge. The messages everywhere threatened people, who posted online about the Zeta drug cartel. The involvement of the Zeta drug cartel is speculated from the carving of the letter ‘Z’, on all the bodies.
anonymous-logo
The Mexican drug cartel exerts a fair amount of control over the news media. However, they were losing this control with the rise in online activism. There was extensive live reporting of events by random people. The decentralized nature of the Internet allows anyone to post anything online and the drug cartel did not find this amusing.

The Twitter account of  @Sm0k34n0n  called off the operation announcing,

Destroying #OpCartel because the lives of people who are not participating n can be at risk.

However, the mission did not get the complete support of Anonymous and some operatives are already talking about disclaiming the Mexican wing of Anonymous that is working on #OpCartel.

This is the first time Anonymous went up against any organized crime ring that is outright dangerous, though it did not end well for other journalists and online activists in Mexico. While the deaths have been a huge turn-off for the operation, some Anonymous activists are still willing to continue with #OpCartel.

The target date for #OpCartel was 5 November. However, it is highly unclear whether there will be as much as a spark on that day, anymore.

An Interview with an OpDarknet Anon

By now a good chunk of you all will know about OpDarknet. This is a new operation by the nebulous collective of Anonymous to purge the DarkNet, also known as the deep web, which is a microcosm of hidden networks that is unreachable by conventional web crawlers.

For this reason, the DarkNet is a treasure trove for those interested in illicit information and materials such as illegal drugs, arms and ammunition and child pornography (CP).

anonops
The fact that innocent children are being exploited to feed the urges of a number of perverse individuals did not sit well with Anonymous and thus #OpDarknet was born:-

On October 6th, 2011 some of us Anon were doing research into encryption and security.   The ‘darknet’ sites of TOR, I2P, and Freenode peaked our interest.   We were aware that, TOR and I2P where originally designed to protect individuals from the oppressive governments of China, Iran and protect Free Speech.

What we discovered was quite the opposite.   An growing and large of community of pedophiles was abusing such systems for personal profit.   To demonstrate this, The Hidden Wiki’s “hidden” section, the ‘Hard Candy’ is stated to be:

* This wiki page discusses resources specifically for people who are attracted to children. This can include everything from discussion groups to ostensibly legal images of children in dresses to full-out child pornography. The term children here refers to children and teenagers.

To explain how popular this community of pedophiles is.   The total page views of the Hidden   Wiki ‘Hard Candy’ section as of October 20th, 2011 is a total 2,055,701.   The total view count of main index (non-pedophilia content) of The Hidden Wiki was 2,677,430 time.

Considering the scope of this mission and its success, we initiated a brief interview on the #OpDarknet channel of the anonops server on IRC with a user named arson’ representing #OpDarknet. This operation is a worldwide phenomenon, as most other Anonymous operations are with Anons in every continent (as stated by arson). Arson forewarned us that much of the operation is still secretive and that they may not be able to answer all the questions put forth by us.

opdarknet

Techie Buzz (TB): Pastebin data reveals that there is a huge amount of CP proliferating the DarkNet and most of the people there are staunch with their refusal to remove it since it is their “last safe haven” so to speak. Will it end in a stalemate?

Arson (A): I don’t believe it will. There are enough of us that operations go on around the clock nonstop, and we are gaining new supporters every day.

TB: And the process of your attacks will mostly be the same, i.e. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) and when possible the unveiling of personal information of people involved in this kind of work, yes?

A: That I cannot say. What I can say is we will continue to take down the servers with any method necessary, and our research team will continue to dig up detail on the pedophiles.

TB: I see. This brings up my next question: is this attack only against CP or will it also continue to get rid of the the underground markets such as the silk road, the farmer’s market and the contract killers etc. on the DarkNet?

A: This is only against CP

TB: Is there any connection between this op and the shut down of /r/jailbait? I know this is a rather lame question but the two events occurred quite close to each other so I was wondering. (Also the fact that a news channel got wind of [almost] CP proliferating on the clearnet and thus debasement of a collective of the internet followed.)

A: To my knowledge, there is no connection between #OpDarknet and the shut down.

TB: How do you think the attack will affect the BitCoin (BTC) economy, since a very high amount of transactions are done using BTC in the DarkNet and the fact that you guys have struck a nerve there may put a pause to a majority of the transactions there since it might be deemed unreliable.

A: The majority of transactions have nothing to do with CP, and as for the illicit ones that do, they should feel evasive of buying or selling any sort of CP related material.

TB: This might be nitpicking, but considering that CP-related material proliferates every bit of the DarkNet (from whatever I can see, it’s either that, or drugs or misc. shady deals) which is bought by BTC won’t the BTC market fall?

A: You might say so, but in doing that, you’re saying that BitCoins rely on child pornography. Forgive me for sounding crass, but if that’s the case, then the currency is doomed at heart.

TB: Why the sudden turn of events to policing the DarkNet? Was there any trigger for this operation?

A: We vowed to fight for the defenseless, there is none more defenseless than innocent children being exploited.

TB: Thanks a lot arson. Any final words you’d like to add?

A: We aren’t doing it for the recognition, or the PR. We are doing this because it’s what is right and what should have been done a long time ago.

The Anonymous collective is hell bent on weeding out the smear of child porn from the DarkNet’s servers (specifically from Freedom Hosting) and it seems that they will punch through the staunch defense of the hidden web’s CP aficionados. However, if these people fled the searchable internet to the hidden one to pursue their ghastly pursuits, with enough time they may yet flee to a darker layer of the deep web to proliferate. Moreover, this is just a sprightly small step to be rid of the plague of child pornography and there are many miles to go before #OpDarknet sleeps. We hope the mainstream media picks this up and champions a campaign to get to the root cause of this exploitation. Kudos to #OpDarknet!