Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Hacktivism: The Battle For The Voice Of Anonymous

While the death throes of SOPA continue to make ripples online in the wake of Wednesday's protests, it seems the hacktivist group Anonymous's disorganised nature is causing it some problems, namely, who has the right to speak and act for them.

A January 20, 2012 report on Wired declares that Anonymous posted links to the LOIC JavaScript tool that launches DDoS attacks on targeted servers by posting a shortened link on Twitter. Anyone who clicked on the link inadvertently took part in this by launching the script. However, a trawl through Twitter for the hashtags #opmegaupload and #LOIC brought up a few surprises. User AnonyOps declared,

Tricking users into DDOS is reprehensible. Attacks must be voluntary to maintain moral high ground: http://is.gd/S6U6Ji #opmegaupload

Take a look at the #anonymous hashtag results and you'll see a lot of people associating with Anonymous with some claiming to speak and act for them only to be debunked on the "official" Anonymous website, AnonOps Communications. For example, the new website, anonyupload.com, has been declared a scam unaffiliated with Anonymous.

On the site itelf is a plea for money and an assertion that it's not associated with Anonymous, though they appear to have borrowed the headless suit motif and replaced the question mark with a floppy disc.

Is Megaupload back?

Probably not. Meegaupload is not the only one claiming to have raised Megaupload from the dead. A new website, megavideo.bz, is claiming to be the new megaupload. There is no information there about the site itself. Visit at your own risk: McAfee advises against it. Here's the WHOIS report. They claim to not have a domain name yet but are accessible via the IP if the URL doesn't work. There's nothing there. Meanwhile, the "real" Megavideo and Megaupload websites now have the US takedown notice on them.


Meanwhile, there appears to be some confusion about whether meegaupload.com is legit or a scam on the Anonymous hashtag feed. It's probably best avoided.

"Moar" attacks on corporate targets

The nebulous loose affiliation that comprises Anonymous does rather leave them open to impersonation. AnonOps Communications claims to speak for Anonymous as a whole but others can easily jump on the online anarchy bandwagon and call for action under the Anonymous umbrella. Yesterday a report on CNet claimed an attack on Facebook was scheduled for Monday 28th January, backed by a video purportedly from them. Then a tweet from AnonOps debunked it. Meanwhile, another search on the Anonymous hashtag shows a number of targets being named and hit, with further operations to come — mostly from individuals and groups that claim to be part of or affiliated to Anonymous. Is this what they want? They might find that whether they disown the activities of these others or not, they'll be blamed for what they do.

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