Second Great Hacker War Erupts From Sony Powder Keg
An internal battle among hackers at digital activist group Anonymous Operations may herald the organization’s early end, and possible legal action. After what the group’s former administrators called a coup d’état to steal its two main websites and internal chat, their website now states “LOL ANONOPS DEAD” and contains a list of more than 650 IP addresses of the group’s members.
The IP addresses can be traced back to home addresses and the real names of users, who could have police at their doorsteps within the next few days. The anonymity that previously veiled the organization largely kept them safe from repercussions from the companies hit by their cyber-attacks, ranging from PayPal to HBGary, and more recently Sony.
Sony accuses Anonymous of the cyber-attacks that exposed personal information of up to 100 million users of Sony services. The attack is one of the largest breaches of user data in history.
A rogue administrator by the name of Ryan struck first in the cybercoup that is bringing Anonymous down.
The organization functions without leadership or coordinated direction. It is set up so that any user can launch an operation and each user chooses which operations they support. The loose structure also reduces the impact of operations launched by Anonymous since their methods of attack often rely on the strength of numbers.
According to a post from former Anonymous administrators, Ryan “decided that he didn’t like the leaderless command structure that AnonOps Network Admins use.”
Colluding with “friends” at another hacker website, skidsr.us, Ryan used a bot to collect the IPs and passwords of users on the Anonymous Operations websites, then launched cyber-attacks to seize control of the group’s two main websites, AnonOps.ru and AnonOps.net as well as their internal chat networks where operations were planned.
The stolen IP addresses have now been posted publicly, alongside their associated usernames. Although the information can be traced back to actual users, members of Anonymous are skeptical as to whether an IP could prove guilt.
“As seen in recent copywrong cases, an IP doesn’t equal a person,” states a post from the administrators-in-exile.
A group of hackers have now obtained Ryan’s full name, address, e-mail, phone number, PayPal account, and other personal information and posted it publicly.
“Ryan clearly had no intention to do anything for Anonymous … EVER, he was only ever here to boost his own ego,” states an Anonymous administrator post. The group maintains control of AnonOps.in and is planning to continue its operations from the remaining website.
The current hacker clash is a near mirror image of the “Great Hacker War” from 1990 to 1992 that broke out between two of the most prominent hacker groups of the time, the Legion of Doom (LOD) and the Masters of Deception (MOD). What began with name calling, known as “flame” attacks in Web jargon, later led to LOD members turning MOD members over to the authorities.
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