Should Anonymous Give Up

anonymous-moronTo many the decentralized nature of ‘Anonymous’ is a boon. There’s no head to lop off, no central point of contact. It’s also a detrement too, as any fool can jump up, shout something inflammatory and lead the mob on a rampage.

They also like to hide behind anonymity, especially on services like Twitter, where they can engage in sock-puppetry to make it seem like there’s more support for their position, and give an inflated impression to their opinion. Given that, it’s amazing they can be so ‘brave’ as to stand up for their ‘beliefs’ as they do.

What started it was a few tweets by Amnesty International, which (quite rightly to my mind) in response to Austrian Journalist Tanja Malle about Jeremy Hammond.

To which I responded that They were quite right. His motives weren’t about human rights violations, but were about ‘the Lulz’, and doing what he wants. I made the same points on Al Jezeera US around the time of his trial, and that if they wanted more details, to contact me.

That was 2 days ago, and I thought no more of it.

Then this morning, some ‘Anon’ people woke up (makes sense, since it’s Saturday) and read those tweets and, to put nicely, decided to throw a tantrum. I had cheeked their holy Hammond, and for that I should pay.

First it was a cryptic message

Then some semi-serious threats

And finally some DOXing.

With some childish insults thrown in.

It wasn’t until after they started to boast, however, that I understood what was going on.

It seems reading ability and “checking your target” is a foreign concept to these script kiddies. For that matter, they never really bothered to actually check what I said, or why I said it. So while they’ve been DDOSing and DOXing someone, it’s not been me. Once I got that then a lot of things make more sense, including that cryptic message that started things off. Check the address they’re attacking, and the one you’re on right now. Not the same is it? Wouldn’t be so bad if the URL wasn’t also my twitter username, AND linked in my profile (highlighted in red, along with my rough location in green)

K`Tetch on Twitter

Instead they’ve been attacking the owner of See, anyone who’s paid attention would know that for the last 9 months, that is exactly what I have been fighting for. I’ve been battling with Nominet over this issue, and one of the reasons I gave for it was PRECISELY this. By the same token, I’ve had that experience in the past, and so was prepared for it. After all, their holy Hammond tried it, and had about as much success. But let’s see what success their DDOS attempt had? Here’s the traffic graph from my host including 5 hours after the threats. Hmm, doesn’t seem to have made much difference. ktetch traffic graph Instead, they’ve been attacking some poor fellow who lives in/around Kent, because they can’t read. I have actually been to Sevenoaks once, for a Robot event, in 2000, not since then, and as anyone who’s paid attention knows, my name is not David, and I don’t live in the UK any more. This brings us to the core of the problem with Anonymous. They are ONLY in it “for the Lulz”. They don’t care about principles or reasoning, and they certainly don’t care if something is actually right, or accurate. It’s the classic vigilante problem where people see something, and get outraged because they’ve misunderstood something and haven’t bothered to stop and check (the best example is the doctor whose home was attacked because the mob confused paediatrician with paedophile). It’s the stupidity of mobs, where they’re seeking a visceral solution to an intellectual problem.

What makes it even more ‘amusing’ is that just days ago there were attacks in Paris by a group because they objected to what someone else said. Anonymous came out against it (as much as an entity with no leadership, mouthpiece, or identifiable ‘spokes-head’ can) and vowed to deal with those behind it. Then, today, you have Anonymous (again, as much Anonymous as anyone else) attacking someone for an expressed view – well, ok, someone they thought might have been responsible (apparently ‘close’ isn’t just for horseshoes and hand grenades, but also for Anon actions) but in reality someone completely different. Can you say ‘double standard’ much? When I drew the parallel, the response was indignation.

Of course it brings to mind the joke about negotiating the price of a woman’s virtue. It’s much the same here, sure they didn’t kill anyone (although SWATing can lead to that), but we’re just quibbling over the details, they’re still retaliating for someone saying something they don’t like. Same motivation, except these keyboard warriors skulk in the shadows like timid cowards.

Personally, I am a big supporter of that non-panic and vengeance school of thought, as expressed so succinctly by the Norwegian Prime Minister after the Utoya massacre.

“We are still shaken by what hit us, but we never give up our values. Our answer is more democracy, more openness and more humanity, but never naiveté.”

I’m all for more democracy, and more openness; if I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have spent the last 8½ years working on the Pirate Party. And I’m also no longer going to be naïve on this topic either. In 2009 Hammond violated his parole/probation with his attack on the US Pirate Party election. Had I followed through with the threat, and reported it, he wouldn’t be in jail now, or at least not for the same thing (he’s been arrested and convicted many times for attacking speakers he didn’t like). I won’t make the same mistakes again, so I have, of course, passed the tweets on to my local police force, and alerted Twitter. After all, if you’re going to do something, don’t be afraid to do it by hiding, stand behind it like a man. And THAT is why anonymous has been completely useless since the end of Chanology (where it directly confronted the ‘Fair Game‘ policy), because this insistence on hiding undermines any point they may want to make – if they don’t believe in it enough to stand behind it, why should anyone else?

Nevertheless, today has been a good laugh, and makes me wonder if that’s the best they can muster, then it’s likely they got lucky. Of course, as we highlight at the hacking panels at DragonCon each year, most successful attacks are social engineering ones, but that’s not going to work if you can’t even target the right person…

With this sort of response, and a program that really hasn’t managed to deliver anything worthwhile in a number of years (unless you count deliveringlot of excuses for governments to do precisely what Anonymous claims to be against), is it time for Anonymous to finally admit the party is over, and that maybe, it’s time for it’s many participants to put on their big-boy pants, and start working on things in the open.

After all, it’s not like they’re doing anything now, except making a laughing stock of themselves, and turning on those working towards the goals they claim to be for, because their short-sighted, counterproductive methods are actually harming those self-same goals. That’s right, Anonymous’ biggest enemy these days, is Anonymous.