ED: FBI Arrests, Searches Do Little to Quiet Anonymous
DEK: There are more questions than answers two days after a spate of arrests of alleged members of the group Anonymous, with the group’s core leadership escaping attention. 
Was the arrest of more than a dozen members of the group Anonymous a decisive blow to the amorphous hacking collective, or an example of federal authorities rounding up “the usual suspects?” 
Two days after FBI agents conducted raids and searches on homes in nine states and the District of Columbia and arrested 16 suspected members of the anarchic hacking group Anonymous, security experts are asking that very question, as Anonymous promises retribution for the arrests and more hacks, suggesting its core leadership was untouched by the massive law enforcement action. 
The FBI arrests targeted individuals who participated in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the Web sites of Paypal, the online payment Web site in December, 2010, according to a 15 count indictment published in U.S. District Court in San Jose California. Fourteen of the accused are alleged to have distributed a denial of service software application, dubbed LOIC – for the Low Orbit Ion Cannon – and to have used that program to attack servers belonging to Paypal. Two other defendents are linked to the theft and publication of data related to AT&T and the FBI’s Infraguard Program. 
On Thursday, Anonymous and the affiliated group Lulz Security issued a statement via Twitter lambasting the FBI and “international law authrities” for statements made in the aftermath of the arrests promising further action. 
“We’re back – and we’re not going anywhere. Expect us,” the statement read. (http://pastebin.com/RA15ix7S) Anonygroup also hinted at new disclosures stemming from hacks of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid in the UK and a reported breach of systems belonging to NATO. 
As it stands, none of the sixteen individuals named in the published  indictments shows up in lists of known and suspected leaders of Anonymous, which have been publicized by groups like Backtracesecurity.com, Rather, the arrests and searches appear similar to those conducted in Europe, including the December, 2010 arrest of a Dutch teenager for participating in DDoS attacks on the Web sites of Mastercard and Visa. (http://threatpost.com/dutch-arrest-16-year-old-wikileaks-attack-121010/) Similarly, 35 searches of homes were carried out on Tuesday, with authorities stressing that, in some cases, the computers seized in those searches may have been involved in DDoS attacks without the knowledge or explicit consent of their owners. 
Rather than technical leaders responsible for coordinating and carrying out the hacks of firms like HBGary, Sony, The Sun or Booz Allen Hamilton, the Anonymous members brought to court this week  - almost all in their early- to mid twenties – are likely sympathizers who acted as functionaries or low level foot soldiers, helping to coordinate or carry out DDoS attacks. 
Still in question is the status of arrests and searches carried out in recent weeks on higher level members. They include the rumored arrest of a high ranking member of AnonOps known as “ev0″, the search and arrest of 19 year-old Ryan Cleary of the UK on June 20 and the search of the  Ohio home belonging to Marshal Webb, who used the online handle m_nerva among others.
http://threatpost.com/home-outed-lulzsec-member-mnerva-raided-ohio-062911/

There are more questions than answers two days after a spate of arrests of alleged members of the group Anonymous, with the group’s core leadership apparently escaping the attention of law enforcement. 

Two days after FBI agents conducted raids and searches on homes in nine states and the District of Columbia and arrested 16 suspected members of the anarchic hacking group Anonymous, the group used its Twitter account to mock the federal authorities and promise retribution. The messages suggest that its core leadership was left largely untouched by the sweeping arrests. 

The FBI arrests targeted individuals who participated in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the Web sites of Paypal, the online payment Web site in December, 2010, according to a 15 count indictment published in U.S. District Court in San Jose California.

Fourteen of the accused are alleged to have distributed a denial of service software application, dubbed LOIC – for the Low Orbit Ion Cannon – and to have used that program to attack servers belonging to Paypal. Two other defendants are linked to the theft and publication of data related to AT&T and the FBI’s Infraguard Program. 

On Thursday, Anonymous and the affiliated group Lulz Security issued a statement via Twitter lambasting the FBI and “international law authorities” for statements made in the aftermath of the arrests promising further action. 

“We’re back – and we’re not going anywhere. Expect us,” the statement read. The group also hinted at new disclosures stemming from hacks of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid in the UK and a reported breach of systems belonging to NATO. 

As it stands, none of the sixteen individuals named in the published  indictments shows up in lists of known and suspected leaders of Anonymous, which have been publicized by groups like Backtracesecurity. Rather, the arrests and searches appear similar to those conducted in Europe, including the December, 2010 arrest of a Dutch teenager for participating in DDoS attacks on the Web sites of Mastercard and Visa.

Authorities appeared to make more progress in the case of two attacks attributed to LulzSec. They include an attack on the FBI’s Infraguard program and the theft of data from Convergys, a Cincinnati based service provider that was recently acquired by AT&T. In both those cases, individuals responsible for the theft of data eventually publicized by LulzSec were named in separate complaints. 

Similarly, 35 searches of homes were carried out on Tuesday, with authorities stressing that, in some cases, the computers seized in those searches may have been involved in DDoS attacks without the knowledge or explicit consent of their owners. 

Rather than technical leaders responsible for coordinating and carrying out the hacks of firms like HBGary, Sony, The Sun or Booz Allen Hamilton, the Anonymous members brought to court this week  - almost all in their early- to mid twenties – are likely sympathizers who acted as functionaries or low level foot soldiers, helping to coordinate or carry out DDoS attacks. 

Still in question is the status of arrests and searches carried out in recent weeks on higher level members. They include the rumored arrest of a high ranking member of AnonOps known as “ev0″, the search and arrest of 19 year-old Ryan Cleary of the UK on June 20 and the search of the  Ohio home belonging to Marshal Webb, who used the online handle m_nerva.

Categories: Data Breaches, Government, SMB Security, Social Engineering, Vulnerabilities, Web Security

Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous
    1

    Which bit of “leaderless” did threatpost miss, there are no leaders in the Anonymous collective to my understanding, so any arrests will have little impact on how Anonymous behaves, not quite sure why this article sounds so suprised.

    And ev0 was a user of skidsr (IRC), and had nothing to do with AnonOps (IRC)

  2. Anonymous
    2

    I think it’s funny that I can enter comments to this post as “anonymous”. 

    I also think that the FBI and most people that are trying to stop anonymous or understand anonymous completely miss the obvious. I am just a curious observer of anonymous related stories.  I am not really sure how I feel about anonymous but I think I understand anonymous.

    Anonymous is a decentralized organization and there is no core leadership. I believe that they are similar in structure to the current Tea Party movement in the USA and structure of the original Christian movement against the Roman Empire.  While anonymous may or may not agree with the ideology of these other groups they certainly operate in the same way. 

    Like other historical decentralized groups with no obvious leadership, they can not be stopped.  In fact the more that a centralized government tries to stop them the larger and more powerful they become. Anonymous feeds off of the futile attempts to treat them as a controllable group. Like the current Tea Party there is no leader that anyone can point to and no way to take them out by trying to take out a few dozen operatives.

    The only real question is weather they are a force for good or a mob that simply lashes out and will consume itself like all mobs eventually do. I hope they are a force for good.

  3. Emily
    3

    There was a very successful for a very long time activist-cum-terroriest group out of Puerto Rico with a four-letter name that began in “F,” which I have forgotten.  They too were composed of cells who didn’t know one another, which made them in a sense leaderless.  A lot of publicity.  I think late Sixties, early Seventies.

  4. Anonymous
    5

    From what I understand – the anonymous movement is about “We the People”

    Against political, government, white collar crime and corruption which has separated civilization into two distinct groups.

    Those of priveledge and those without priveledge.

    “The war on Treachery”

    Time for a democratic overhaul ! Time for open fair government ! Time to hack the planet – free the planet !

     

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