The feeling that comes from outside is that the group of hacktivist is slowly falling apart, the feeling is that within the group are mixed stirring souls. Some groups are more aware on media effect of the operations while others cells continue to pursue the goals of behind its genesis.
During last week the name of Anonymous has been linked to F1 circus, the famous hackers have threatened to attack the Montreal’s Grand Prix race planned for the next week.
Which are the motivations of the attack?
Anonymous is in opposition to a Canadian act, known as Bill 78, it is an emergency law passed on 18 May 2012 by the National Assembly of Quebec, Canada to restricts freedom of assembly, protest, or picketing on or near university grounds, and anywhere in Quebec without prior police approval.
The group of hacker has planned to attack the IT infrastructures used during the event, web sites, networks and any other correlated services are at risks.
It's clear that an attack to a sporting event has a great media echo and depending on the real intent could have serious consequences. Interfering with the structures used during a similar event it is possible to stop an event so technological but it is also possible to open the door to other threats that could harm human lives.
In an official press Anonymous declared to intend to shut down websites and any other server behind the event, potentially disrupting the race.
In a public message the group announced:
“wreck anything F1 related”
“We highly suggest that you join the boycott of the F1 in Montreal and we certainly recommend that you do not purchase any tickets or merchandise online,” the group said. “You have been warned.”
For now we note that the hackers have hit the ticketing sector leaving 131 people who purchased tickets in Montreal exposed. As usual the leak comes from Anonymous and was published via pastehtml with information related price paid for ticks, first and last names, telephone numbers, emails and other data.
It's not first time that Anonymous attack the F1 world, it's already happened during Grand Prix race in Bahrain when they shut down the official Formula One website publishing messages against the regime of Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to protest against the government crackdown on opposition groups.
Other published messages was directed to F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, following some statements
“evil and greedy man.”
“As we did in Bahrain – Anonymous intends to wreck Mr. Ecclestone’s little party,”
Despite the demonstrative act has been successful there were no impact on the race, but Anonymous claims to have has accessed to personal information including credit card numbers that were stored on the F1 website.
Anonymous is trying to exploit popularity of F1 race to attack the government of Quebec, they have in fact already hit it during last month, bringing down many Quebec government and police websites naming the operation #OpQuebec.
At this point one might wonder about the effectiveness of these operations, I have always considered an opportunity the comparison with the group policy, from both technical and social point of view, however, as many I have observed a tendency to "get used" to the effects of a DDoS attack. Such attacks are long interesting for media and even the same companies are raising the level of security against these cyber threats.
Who benefits from the offensive by Anonymous?
I personally think that at this stage are the same security firms to benefit from the operations of the group, having had the opportunity to increase sales of its systems.
Stopping a website is something different from damaging IT infrastructures of an event blocking it, the group is weakened from this point of view, you need a wave of innovation that can be related to offensive techniques but also to their way to deal with the public and addressing social issues.
I reiterate my thought, the group is at a crossroads, change or die