The Conversation

Anonymous Strikes Again, But Are Things Always as they Seem?

The hacker collective Anonymous is in the news again today for leaking the credentials of 4,000 US bank executives.  Hackers claim that the leak, part of an ongoing operation they've dubbed "Operation Last Resort," is in retaliation for "overzealous prosecution" in the case of late internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz.

As ZDNet reports:

"A spreadsheet has been published on a .gov website allegedly containing login information and credentials, IP addresses, and contact information of American bank executives."

"If true, it could be that Anonymous has released banker information that could be connected to Federal Reserve computers, including contact information and cell phone numbers for U.S. bank Presidents, Vice Presidents, COO's Branch Managers, VP's and more."

"The website used in this attack belongs to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC). The page extension URL is titled, "oops-we-did-it-again.""

This leak comes on the heels of the hacker collective's attack on the US Sentencing Commission, a DOJ website that publishes sentencing guidelines.

Many asked last week, why a website that publishes sentencing guidelines?  Symbolic perhaps, but is it really effective?  And today, many are asking the same about leaking banking industry executives' information - what does this have to do with Aaron Swartz or changing computer crime laws?

A Reddit comment cited in the same ZDNet article caught my attention.

"OK, I called a few of them. What must be so problematic for the Federal Reserve is not the information so much as this file was stolen from their computers at all.

The ramifications of that kind of loss of control is severe."

 

Here's some food for thought. Today's leak utilized a government website as part of the attack.  It also targeted financial businesses.  Why?

Perhaps such actions aren't as much about Aaron Swartz as they are about the US government's role in the rule of law and justice.  Law enforcement contributes to a stable society.  Sure, government overreach happens in criminal matters, and it should be addressed when it does.  But as a general rule of thumb, law enforcement is intended to serve as a pillar of a stable foundation for a reasonably orderly functioning society.

Last year, an offshoot of the Occupy Movement posted a series on the upcoming American Spring, in which one post focused on the need to collapse the "pillars of support."  Among those pillars were "police, the military, civil servants, media, the business community, youth, workers, religious organizations, and NGOs."

Is it possible that such attacks are about far more than an internet activist or changing sentencing guidelines?  Who knows.  But things aren't always as they seem on the surface.


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