The hacktivist group Anonymous “celebrated” the fifth of November (Guy Fawkes Day) through protest marches, defacing websites, and releasing the credit card information of law enforcement officers.
The British holiday Guy Fawkes Day was popularized in the 2005 film “V for Vendetta”, where a mask-wearing outcast overthrows a future totalitarian society. The holiday commemorates an actual historical event, where Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the British House of Lords in 1605.
The film’s enduring image is the “Guy Fawkes mask” worn by the protagonist; the mask has become the main graphic motif for the Anonymous movement. The masks were a fixture at Occupy Wall Street and other related Occupy events. “V For Vendetta” director James McTeigue has expressed approval for the use of his film’s iconography several times, saying in one interview, “If you can be anonymous behind the mask, then it’s great.”
Anonymous used this fifth of November to stage a protest march from London’s Parliament to Trafalgar Square. They also hacked the popular Internet payment site PayPal and computer security company Symantec. Anonymous claims to have released 28,000 PayPal passwords.
Other attacks against the websites of NBC and pop singer Lady Gaga were claimed to be the work of Anonymous, but there are conflicting reports as to whether the group was actually involved.
Breitbart News reported on threats of such attacks over a week ago; in that article, Liberty Chick stated:
As with other leaderless anarchistic movements, virtually anyone can claim association to Anonymous and commit acts under its banner, making it difficult at times to determine rogue actors from the will of the broader collective
Another Twitter posting from one of the official Anonymous accounts released private information about law enforcement officials, claiming that the release was just “a teaser.”
Breitbart News contacted people on the list and confirmed that private information about law enforcement officers was leaked, including complete credit card information. One law enforcement officer confirmed that they had already had a number of illegal charges to their credit card this morning.
Such releases are popular on Twitter because the popular social networking site allows the easy creation of nearly untraceable, anonymous accounts.
When contacted for comment about the security breach, Twitter gave Breitbart News the following boilerplate reply:
It’s against our rules to publish or post other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission. We investigate all reported violations, which can be submitted through this page: https://support.twitter.com/forms/abusiveuser
When I asked if I need to file a separate report or if it would warrant investigation to tell a communications employee at Twitter that the credit card information of law enforcement officers was being disseminated through their site, I was told:
It needs to be submitted by the person/persons whose information is being posted. We’d also advise, in a case where someone is linking to credit card information, that those affected cancel or otherwise put a hold on those cards, as even if we withhold a Tweet or Tweets, we don’t have such power over outside content that might exist on the Web.
Obviously, even though I had told this employee that credit card information was being broadcast on Twitter by a user with nearly 150,000 followers, the company had no plans to investigate unless someone on the list complained. When I pointed out that the people whose credit card information had been posted would have no way of knowing that it was being broadcast across Twitter, I received no response.