In a very interesting twist on the Occupy movement Subpoenas are being issued demanding information relating to many of the Websites that related to the Occupy cause. One of the Subpoenas that was posted on Scribd.com is asking for quite a bit of information including “Any and all documents and records relating to the following articles posted on the Website including records of the IP addresses and pseudo names of the blog posters.”
The National Security Agency has just released a report to the powers that be in the US that expresses concern that the online activist group Anonymous could go after the US power grid in the next 3-5 years (we told you things like this would happen). This report was put together by their counter terrorism group and while it lacked any details in the body of the report (like the axis for attack) and forgot to mention there are other people out there that would like to do this (like foreign countries and real Terrorists) it does raise some real concerns.
As we wrote earlier today the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has passed through the US House of Representatives. This is not an act that anyone, other than the corporations that lobbied for it, wants. CISPA brings nothing to the table that agencies already do not have, or cannot get with the right requests to the courts. Instead it removes many (almost all) individual rights and turns your private data into a commodity that can be passed around without any legal recourse.
In what has to be one of the most unusual “Get-The-Vote-Out” campaigns that I have personally seen it appears that Anonymous and the Occupy group are urging people to hold politicians accountable for their actions by voting them out of office. While some in the media are calling this a first it is not the in reality. In multiple messages Anonymous has called on the public to hold their political leaders accountable. Their methods might be different at times, but this is also the beginning of the voting season in the US so the move really comes as no surprise.
Anonymous is preparing to “shut off the internet” on March 31st. The move is in protest to things like SOPA, ACTA, and according to their statement; “irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun”. Now while Anonymous typically goes after targets with something along the lines of a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack they are looking to do something different here. Anonymous plans to take all 13 Root DNS servers offline in a single day. Is this possible? Well let’s take a look at some of the facts behind how DNS works and some evidence that Anonymous might already have broken into the system.
As someone that has followed the online “hacking” community since its infancy (war dialing anyone) I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the guys what kicked it all off (Like Steve Wozniak) would be proud of where some of the movement has gone. In the early 80’s War Dialing was something of a fun sport, you dialed a range of numbers until a computer answered and then you tried to talk to it. A lot of the activity was aimed at “corrupt businesses and government agencies” right alongside the people looking to just do it because it was something new and exciting.
After Anonymous pulled their support from WikiLeaks many thought the group would drift off into obscurity. After all, many in the press still think that Anonymous was formed after WikiLeaks started, so why not have that misguided opinion. The reality is that Anonymous existed long before WikiLeaks, and will continue to exist when WikiLeaks is a long forgotten memory. The collective (there is no leader despite what you might here from other media sources) has matured in many ways though, and does not appear to be hell-bent on hitting every single site that annoys them anymore. At least that is what we are seeing: there will always be members who will lash out or simply try to hack a site for the fun of it, but the collective has calmed for the most part.
If there is one thing that you can say Anonymous has done that has a measurable positive effect it is exposing the level of Corporate and Government Ignorance. Ignorance is not an admissible excuse any longer in this day and age and is often used in court when someone says they did not know they were breaking the law. Since this is generally accepted why is anyone willing to give companies that show massive amounts of ignorance (which is just really lack of forethought or cost cutting) when it is discovered that their systems are not secure? We are shocked that this is at all acceptable considering the data breaches going back as far as 2009. Still we continually hear about this product or that network is suddenly discovered to be insecure. Exactly how is that possible?
The online movement known as Anonymous had a fairly busy weekend and even managed to push their “fun” into Monday. According to several of the Anonymous twitter accounts they are now rather upset at PasteBin. It seems that the owner of PasteBin is unhappy about the uses that Anonymous has put his “code sharing” site to. He laments that it was never intended for the sharing of sensitive information and has even stated he is going to hire additional workers to help remove these types of posts. This had an interesting effect on the collective where tweets saying things like “Srsly Pastebin, f*** you - @Pastebin to hire staff to tackle hackers' 'sensitive' posts” .
Looking at bills like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) it is easy to see the argument for Civil Liberties, Censorship, Personal Privacy and Private Communications. In fact we hear about this on a daily basis from groups like Anonymous, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and more. However, while all of these arguments are very valid and ring in the ears of voters and consumers everywhere there is another threat that many are overlooking. This threat might even be larger than the ones that are talked about over and over; the security threat.