Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stay Out of Anonymous

A new semester is starting, and I will be warning my students to stay away from criminal activities, as I always do. This time it is more important than ever to warn them about Anonymous, because its notoriety has grown large and the naive and idealistic are easily seduced.

Anonymous has a lot of big protest events, where people go and wear masks, carry signs, and block traffic. Their protests are advertised as improving society by resisting things like police brutality or Scientology. And if all they did was assemble in the real world and perform nonviolent protest actions, I would not object to them. Americans have the right to protest.

(Some people say that Anonymous has done good things that really helped people in other countries like Egypt and Tunisia. That may be true--I know nothing about what happened there. My topic is what Anonymous does in the USA and UK only.)

Anonymous has a serious organizational defect--there are no rules, no formal membership, and no way to eject people who do harmful and illegal acts. So, as in "Lord of the Flies", the worst elements multiply and gain power unchecked.

Anonymous has become an organization famous for senseless and cruel acts on the Internet. Here is a list of some of their outrages:

Dumped names and personal information of police informants

Dumped Arizona police passwords and emails

Dumped email addresses and passwords of BART commuters

Dumped emails from H B Gary Federal

Dumped 150,000 email addresses and hashed passwords of US military personnel from Booz Allen Hamilton (the 90,000 number in the article is an understatement)

Dumped passwords and encouraged members to log into email, Twitter, and Facebook accounts and harm random innocent people

Anonymous does not stand for any cause. They just attack all authority figures and cause as much harm as they can to gain bragging rights. They do not plan protest actions to achieve a goal, and target people in any logical way. Instead, they just attack anything that seems in any way connected with any unpopular organization, and dump all the data they find, harming innocent customers, employees, victims of previous crimes, etc.

Stay out of Anonymous! If you want a career in Information Security, people need to trust you, and that will be very difficult if you have a felony conviction. Even if you do not personally participate in criminal actions, it is a very unwise career move to be connected to a criminal organization.

If you want to join a protest movement, join one that forbids crime and harming innocent people, and that ejects people who do those things. Anonymous is just a lawless destructive mob and does not deserve the support of good and honest people.


  1. We are Anonymous
    We do not forgive
    We do not forget
    We often make veiled threats and use intimidation to quiet people like you

  2. LOL, is that all you have, Sam Bowne? The legendary Sam Bowne that out "hacked" Lulzsec. Oh wait, Kayla has her account back, no? Before that your school got hacked as a direct result of you antics, in your quest for fame. I suppose once you realize that in the security world your "talent" has hit a glass ceiling, you must find another way. Gregory Evans anyone? Sam Bowne & Gregory Evans bffs...

  3. @Barret: Kind of like what Anonymous just posted? ;-)

  4. Anonymous will be ready when the collective consciousness will evolve into something that wants to better itself, not make itself better.

  5. They sound and act a little bit like the Borg.

  6. @Nox

    There was no threat in that post, just facts. The fact is Sam Bowne is an attention whore and a hypocrite.
    Kids, if you wish to learn about the art of hacking, from people that actually know what they are doing? Do yourself a favor and join: #school4lulz

  7. You said it best: they just attack any single figure of authority they can. Primarily because they are confused and angry and have the emotional stability of teenagers. Psychologically, that is where their worldview is.

    I also love the counter-comments to this post, very much playing within the mental framework of anonymous: they don't understand that Sam legitimately is uninterested in their pissing match of who is more 1337. But those are the only metrics by which they can attach value to others, so that is what they spit out.

    Predictable, and frankly, boring.

  8. Sam tells students to not break the law. Anon-wanna-bees take offense and then threaten him. But remember kids, Anon is not the bullies. They are here to defend your rights like they have for so many others. I can't think of a single person they have helped but I'm sure they are restoring civil liberties... Um, I can't think of any liberties they have restored... But I'm sure their actions have changed laws to promote freedom... Can't think of any of those laws they helped change at the moment.

    Wow, maybe they are a bunch of bullies and criminals?

  9. I think the big difference is Sam Bowne is standing up in front of the world saying this, he is not bashing them, he is letting Anonymous’ past actions speak.
    Also Anonymous isn’t defending my rights, they are actually hindering them. So please do not speak for me when you say you are defending me rights, you released me information to the public more than once.

  10. Anonymous isn't a group, it's a self- attached label. Temporary swarm-intelligence, cooperating for as long as it takes to accomplish a given goal and then dissolve.

    Only narrow minds and the mainstream media believe that "Anonymous" is a single, monolithic entity with a unified goal. And only the truly ignorant think the
    crackers and skiddies represent the whole, or even the majority of Anonymous. This "warning" is essentially meaningless.

  11. LOL, is that all you have, Sam Bowne? The legendary Sam Bowne that out "hacked" Lulzsec. Oh wait, Kayla has her account back, no? Before that your school got hacked as a direct result of you antics, in your quest for fame. I suppose once you realize that in the security world your "talent" has hit a glass ceiling, you must find another way. Gregory Evans anyone? Sam Bowne & Gregory Evans bffs...

    Ouch but so true haha those who cannot hack or hack it, haz to teach, amirite teach lol.....poor Sam, JoeBlack, Aaron Barr and jester/sabu what would they all do without each other, and they trippin all over themselves...

  12. Anonymous is here to stop the corruption in our Gov't which we do not see. They are here to save the American's tax paying dollars from going to corrupt corporations which do nothing in return for our money. They uncover pedophile pictures from. police chiefs, so Sam Brown you are just another person who sees only what they want to see, wake up! America need's anonymous now more than ever.

  13. Though the original ideal that "was" Anonymous seems pure and true enough. Unfortunately, the lack of guidance and rules in the name of freedom has become the cause of its perversion. As a collective, the self-held image of Anonymous drastically contrasts that of the media. As such, your self held image is irrelevant. Ideals and perspectives today are greatly influenced by the media. Once they gain that negative image, there is no going back. Once that negative image is glorified to those who desire it, they will make it worse. Without the leadership and guidance required to keep it clean and pure, it is doomed. Anonymous, at least what it once stood for, is dead. Save the select few who wish to keep its glory, it has become the worlds most renowned Cyber Criminal/Terrorist Organization.

    I'm not taking sides, only stating the obvious.

  14. Anonymous is crowdsourcing cyber protest. Like all CS there will be outliers but the group as a whole can get it right. The extreme reactions by law enforcement don't help. There needs to be a high profile mechanism for cyber protest - like marching on DC. And govt and business MUST take seriously their responsibility to protect people's data. If they can't protect it they shouldn't collect it. That's all I got.

    Oh yeah. Sam's new crew: Don't stay away from Anon - study them. Study everything. You don't know who or what the threat is.

  15. Dear students: Please ignore what Sam has posted. JOIN Anonymous!

    At the moment even in this down economy there is zero percent unemployment in the Information Security industry. If you've got any reasonable manner of skills, you can make great money and be seriously in demand. Partly, I might add, thanks to groups like Anonymous.

    As a currently employed Fed who didn't ruin their ability to obtain a clearance as a youth, I implore you to please join Anonymous, and help keep the number of eligible competitors for my job small!

    For my part, I'll retain high pay and great benefits as companies compete to try to hire me away from my current employer. I'll also have a nearly unending supply of low hanging fruit to pick off and keep our arrest rates high. Also, while you're out there causing serious pain to hundreds of thousands of families, you're helping my bosses justify the increasing use of wiretaps, snooping and spy tactics against our own country. That REALLY makes my job easier when I come for you!

    For your part, you'll get the smug self-satisfaction of bucking the system while you trash peoples' lives who are in no way the man or the system, but happened to be in the wrong database at the wrong time.

    Between us, we can have a neat symbiosis and really work to keep the class system and current corporatist system as entrenched and powerful as ever.

    Viva Anonymous!

  16. School4LuLz RIP, August 11, 2011 ??