It looks as if Anonymous’s latest prank is a damning psychological profile of its own members, allegedly assembled by the FBI.
A spokesperson for the federal law enforcement agency said the document that was published online is a forgery, confirming speculation that it was a fake. The denial points a finger at Anonymous, itself, as the source of the document, in what appears to be an elaborate prank or an effort to sow disinformation.
The fake profile includes assessments of known Anonymous leaders, as identified by their Web-pseudonyms. It includes psychological sketches of Sabu, his described second-in-command, Kayla, the already-arrested and former spokesperson, Topiary, and the so-called autonomous members, JoePie91 and Tflow.
Many of the document’s allegations are damning. It characterizes Sabu as a self-perceived martyr and narcissistic American male in his early thirties with a nihilistic world-view, likely an information security professional operating within the business community without alerting his peers to his other online activities. Kayla, characterized as the second-in-command, is profiled as a middle-American male in his early to mid-twenties whose stunted emotional age and inferiority complex may be the result of childhood trauma, perhaps an abusive parent, and who seeks attention as a result of a childhood desire for parental approval. Hmmm…. Very, very interesting.
Links to the document appeared on a Tumblr site and Twitter account affiliated with the group, media outlets ran with the story, even as they cast doubts about its authenticity. Indeed, from the very first, casual readers and Anonymous sympathizers suspected it was a fake. The tone of the document is sensational and its content is rife with broad and thinly-sourced generalizations about the group and its members. (Wikipedia is cited for its description of the group.) It contains numerous spelling and grammar errors and, perhaps the biggest red flag, casts aspersions on the FBI’s own enforcement actions. In just one example, Topiary, a core member was arrested in the UK, is described as an ego-driven and idealistic youth with “Aspergers syndrome” (sp) who was used as cannon fodder for law enforcement.
It is unclear what the purpose of the document is. Despite its outsize reputation, Anonymous’s core leadership is believed to be quite young. Many of those arrested so far in connection with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and other actions are in their teens to early 20s. The profiles document may be a ham-fisted effort to throw investigators off the group’s scent, or merely a practical joke from one Anonymous member to another.