A Diffrent Point of View

Posted: April 12, 2013 by drazsz in Weekly Post

I asked the Computer Crime Expert from our local law enforcement some questions about Anonymous. I thought it would be interesting to hear from a different point of view.

  • What do you know about Anonymous hackers?

The group Anonymous is not really a group in any formal sense of the word in that;

there is no membership, no hierarchy, no leadership and no prescribed rule book.

The group, instead, is a loosely knit conglomerate of online hackers with varying

levels of expertise that seem to have the broad common focus of reducing internet

censorship.  Since there is no membership, and as the name Anonymous suggests; no

list of associates, it is truly unknown the volume of online attacks and pranks that

can actually be attributed to Anonymous.  However, it is believed that Anonymous has

been responsible for hundreds of internet attacks and pranks that have ranged from

mildly amusing in nature, to vigilante justice, to dangerous.

  • Do you think the government should label them ” terrorist”?

Although “terrorist” is often considered a relative term, whereas one may be a

terrorist to one but a freedom fighter or revolutionary to another; the U.S. Code

of Federal Regulations has defined terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and

violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the

civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social

objectives.”  Does Anonymous “intimidate or coerce…in furtherance of …

social objectives”?  I believe that there is a very strong argument Anonymous’

tactics are in fact intimidating as they have a skill set which allows them to

virtually gain access to digitally stored and displayed sources of which many of us

may have previously felt were secure and protected.  Regarding their objective, it

is difficult to pinpoint a single focus but there does seem to be an overarching

dislike or even hatred toward internet censorship.  Internet censorship as an issue

can absolutely be considered social in nature and therefore qualifies.  However,

the definition leads with “the unlawful use of force and violence against person

or property…”  Although it can be argued that Anonymous’ tactics are

unlawful, it could be a logical stretch to label these tactics as forceful or

violent.  Despite the absence of actual force or violence, I believe that

definitions can be fluid and cannot encompass the potential evolution of society.

If the definition instead were phrased to include; “[an] unlawful [action]

against persons or property …”, the replacement of the verb action instead of

force and violence absolutely qualifies the ‘actions’ of Anonymous as terrorist

in nature.

  • Do you think they are a threat to national security or local law enforcement
    agencies? The have stole private information from law enforcement agencies, FBI and
    CIA and threatened to release the information.

Anonymous is absolutely a threat to national security and law enforcement agencies.

The actions taken by individuals claiming association with Anonymous have ranged

in nature regarding the potential threat posed.  For example, Anonymous has been

instrumental in bringing to justice perpetrators of child exploitation as well as

identifying and shutting down highly secure and secretive online cache’s of child

pornography through denial of service attacks.  The group has also attacked secure

CIA, FBI, Scotland Yard, Interpol, DOD and many, many other government

organizations containing sensitive material.  Despite the group’s actions

resulting in positive outcomes, it is very dangerous to allow a vigilante group to

police its society especially when those vigilantes are in fact, anonymous.

  • In your opinion,what do you think they do with all the information they hack?

I believe this may be the most varied response to any of the questions as each

“member” of Anonymous most likely has their own unique motives.  There are many

who most likely commit their online attacks for the sake of committing the attack

or to simply make a statement.  There are others who are likely to be financially

motivated though.  And even those who are or were not initially financially

motivated, it is not difficult to imagine that there is a price they may accept for

the data they acquire.

  • Do you think Anonymous are just a group of kids playing around or should we take
    them seriously?

Yes, I do think they are a group of kids playing around and yes I do think we should

take them seriously.  The abilities of these “kids” are such that older

generations have a difficult time imagining that there was a need to secure from

such actions.  One only needs to watch a parent with their three year old while the

latter plays with the former’s iPhone or Android manipulating the device as or

more efficiently as the parent to understand that the technical abilities of

children continue to grow exponentially and appears to be almost engrained.  It is

also important to understand that these same “kids” are in fact kids and often

fail to truly grasp the implications of their actions.  This is a very dangerous

combination that absolutely should be taken very serious.


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