Another Saturday, another round, as announced today the group Anonymous has targeted government sites to protest against British government policy. Nothing new over last week, same goals, same mode of attack, the same result. On internet bounced messages of joy for having staged the second act of the operation called by the group #OpTrialAtHome.
Let's start making some reflections on the real utility of these operations once the message was passed last week. The operation has certainly achieved its goal in terms of media, on internet the news of the attacks is published everywhere, but in terms of offense they have little effect. The sites attacked were sites of representation and not operating web site in respect of services provided.
To make further unnecessary these attacks is the choice of days and hours of action, on a Saturday evening When nobody in the Government department concerned that their website is unavailable. Deliberate choice to minimize the impact of the offense or strategy for beginners? Or another plausible hypothesis is that these operations, that are carried out without causing real side effects, are organized by members infiltrated the group in order to bring out the actors of the protest in a context of reduced damage.
How long the group Anonymous will go on with this strategy, unable to cause serious damage to target infrastructures?
These attacks should lead us to some reflections, I think the group is a time of transition, despite having reached a critical mass of supporters began to split into numerous cells scattered throughout the world. For now, these cells appear to be driven by common goals, but what will happen tomorrow? In a heterogeneous scenario the risk that external agents can infiltrate the group influencing policy is concrete. New operations can be organized in the name of the group with unpredictable consequences, foreign states or law enforcement may involve masses of people and convinced unaware hacktivist to conduct ideological battles. What guarantees the group can provide to its supporters? Will the group be able to capillary check any communication made globally with its brand? Of course not!
I think for this reason that the group should change its strategy, is obliged to appear in new forms, probably in the future presented itself to the world with their representatives. The time of hiding, in the form of protest could begin to decline. The group is aware that its attacks may begin to serve to a third cause, not only its own.
A few hours before the announced attack time, the default GCHQ (UK Government Communications Headquarters) web page started to be re-directed down a level to:
At about 18:40 GMT British Telecom , on whose servers this public website appears to be running, put a temporary 302 redirect to e.g.
instead of the previous IP address of http://126.96.36.199 which was advertised in the following recruiting messages of the group
At the beginning of article I had assumed that these operations could be the result of infiltration of the group, event that I believe possible in relation due the escalation promise by Anonymous against the major global companies. The Anonymous hacking collective has promised to bring down the website of Intel in protest at an anti-piracy bill that would permit the US government to strengthen security networks in the name of national security.
During last week the collective has started the information campaign on internet promoting the DDoS attacks to propose in a first phase of the Operation called Defense. The Operation will be conduced against all those companies that support US policy involved in the support of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
One of illustrious victims of the phase I is the Boeing, and the group has announced that the phase II will start in a couple of weeks. The element of innovation is that the protest this time will pass from internet also to the streets. A video published on YouTube says:
"Attacks will not be limited to Distributed Denial of Service attacks," "Phase II will commence on May 1 and will include coordinated physical protests outside locations belonging to the corporations."
30 private companies have supported Cispa (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), The bill would give the U.S. government additional options and resources to ensure the security of networks against attacks and enforce copyright and patents, this means that we will assist to a strict collaboration between businesses and government sharing cyber-security information. Of course the line between monitoring and censorship is thin and many experts claim that the legislation contains also restraints on how and when the government may monitor private information, operating any kind of control he desires, even the shut down of source.
The list of companies and associations include top names like Intel, Boeing, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Edison Electric, Verizon Wireless, Symantec, AT&T and Comptel and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. In order to prevent the theft of government sensible information and intellectual property the CISPA give to the institutions the ability to block suspected web sites, to monitor web traffic and this is consider a war act against privacy.
Groups like anonymous are obviously contrary to a law so intrusive and are angered by the support offered to the government from private industry, so the collective has already attacked company like Boeing and US Telecom with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assault by the collective. The real problem is that this type of attacks is being unuseful, the risk of addiction is high, Anonymous knows it.
I believe that we must distinguish two phases of Anonymous phenomenon, the first one that I define "Here I am, know me and learn to live with my judgment" is the one we are leaving, in this phase the group He introduced himself to the world, showing their offensive capabilities but also a broad support enjoyed by. The second phase, named "Openness", is the one we will live in the next months, in this phase the group will tries to try to talk with institutions, will operate on internet but also in the street. The stage is very delicate because of the heterogeneous nature of the group, many hactivists will not accept the openness to institutions becoming active in a loose, loose cannons in the web that could stage striking and unethical attacks.
This is the worst scenario, the web may soon reign in the chaos and regulations such as the one under discussion certainly would not be able to govern.