This morning, the interwebs were treated to a hilarious Hollywood production style video uploaded to YouTube in the name of the ‘hacktivism’ group Anonymous. In the video (which can be found by following this link – I refuse to embed it on this page), the messenger states that ‘they’ plan to target Facebook‘s 60,000 servers on January 29 Australian time using what could be called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack minus any actual hacking involved.
Not surprisingly, a writer for the official Anonymous Twitter account @anonops immediately denounced the message, saying that ‘Anonymous’ wasn’t targeting Facebook at all and that nothing would be happening on the announced date.
So what really happened? Here’s the devil in the details:
A smart mouthed, Anonymous-member-wannabe created the video
When I saw this video, I rolled my eyes and knew that it was a fake. Whilst Anonymous have been known to fame-whore a bit with the tone of messages sent across the web in the past, this one went to a whole new extreme: Sportcenter-style musical intro, carefully constructed animated graphics and an awfully long video (at 3:44 in length) just to say that the organisation was going to apparently attack Facebook.
Best of all, anyone with a hacking background knows that you sort of diminish your chances of breaking into an establishment’s servers when you announce to the entire world that you are about to do it. There were no such announcements prior to the recent hacks on CBS and the FBI, et al, because that’s how these things tend to work.
In short, the uploaders were pure wannabes.
The REAL Anonymous would have realised that the video could be classed as an act of terrorism
Let’s treat this seriously for a moment.
In the video, the messenger states that they want random people to intentionally download a free application, type in ‘facebook.com’ into its command interface and generate IP addresses held by the social network’s vast array of infrastructure. In doing so, the user would be knowingly downloading software that was specifically designed to tamper and interfere with computer equipment, a felony that is punishable with prison time.
Worse, with the messenger specifically instructing people to download the aforementioned software and participate in an organised virtual hit on a specific establishment on US soil, this would attract the interest of the FBI in the US – and with cyber-warfare recently added to the US’s list of actions defined as an act of war against the country, it wouldn’t be hard for an enthusiastic US Senator to have the announcement declared an act of terrorism and in turn class Anonymous as a terrorist organisation.
So, if you’re one of the people in Anonymous, wouldn’t you want to distance yourself from something like this too?
So, let’s just put this one to bed for now. This sort of stuff always generates excitement and the tech blogs love the sensationalist headlines, but the reality is that this whole thing is one of those “all smoke and no fire” sort of situations. It’s pretty dumb.
- Click on an Anonymous link, and you could be DDoS’ing the US government (johnwillflow.wordpress.com)
- How do you prove you are Anonymous if you are anonymous? (ajmstudents.wordpress.com)
- It’s ‘Copyright Enforcement Act’, not SOPA or PIPA (platopress.com)
- Elisagate: Anonymous Deny Bomb Threat Allegations (ibtimes.com)
- In further Megaupload retaliation, hacker group Anonymous takes down CBS.com (venturebeat.com)