On Monday Torrent Freak reported that, after three years of service to the organization, PayPal has frozen the funds of PRQ, an ISP founded by The Pirate Bay's Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm. Earlier this month, sources also reported the suspension of the Twitter account of Anonymous Sweden (@AnonOpsSweden). Anonymous, which supports WikiLeaks, is allegedly responsible for numerous high-profile computer hacks.
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”Out of Africa always comes something new” wrote the Roman historian Pliny, (23-79 A.D.) With Mummar Qaddafi gone from Libyan, this old adage will almost certainly gain new meaning because Qaddafi was not only the dictator who ruled Libya with the whip for 40 years, he was a major power in African affairs. He sought to unify Africa under his leadership and saw himself as "King of all the African tribes." Well, with the kickoff of Occupy Nigeria, we are seeing something new in Africa today.
Uploaded by AnonymousNigeria on January 9, 2012
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, 160 million people or 1 in 6 Africans live in Nigeria, so any movement there is bound to have a big impact on the whole continent. Could this have anything to do with Qaddafi's recent demise and the success of the revolution in Libya? These are the main questions I wish to touch upon in this article. But first a quick update for those that have not been glued to news out of Africa all day.
3 people were killed and at least another 20 were injured as Nigerian state security used tear gas and rubber bullets and finally resorted to live ammunition in attempts to suppress mass protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria. Except for the rallies, the streets were eerily empty, and shops and businesses closed as most of the country was brought to a grinding halt by a nationwide general strike which its organizers have named "Occupy Nigeria."
TIME Magazine chose the Protester as 2011 person of the year. This was the year of people’s uprising. All around the globe, the legitimacy of governance was questioned and challenged. The critical agents for a new civil society are on the rise. It is not about a single person, group or ideology, but the empowerment of ordinary people around the world; Egyptians and Tunisians who risk their lives for the betterment of society; Occupiers in New York going viral around the globe and hackers, free information advocates, online collectives like Anonymous and LulzSec, tirelessly working to bring checks and balance to the corruption of power.
A once apathetic and cynical youth is rising to the occasion. The civic arena that has been taken over by commercial interests is bypassed by a growing segment of the populace in favor of this new model that moves beyond the nation-state and the facade of modern representative Democracy.
The Arab Spring was noted as being a social media-led revolution. Anonymous is a model of social creativity that is a phenomenon of individual action in union (or legion, as they would say) around a shared idea. Occupiers swarm cities together through the uniting values of the 99%. The protagonists of this blossoming crowd-sourced civic life are claiming power as active agents in their own lives. This new movement reminds me of the complex social organization of the bees.
In mid-September, Occupy Wall Street began in downtown Manhattan. For over a century, Wall Street has represented wealth and political power. Now, the streets of the financial district that only months before gleamed with the facade of enduring capitalism were flooded by ‘occupiers’, revealing the truth behind the broken promises of equal opportunity and corrupt excess of corporate America.
Here were people from all walks of life, foreclosed and unemployed, students with debts and those who struggle with a pay-or-die medical system. As the people marched with a mixture of jubilation and outrage against the plutocratic takeover of power, the glorified spectacle of the American Dream crumbled in the background.
No one can deny that the Occupy Movement struck a chord with the rank and file of America as it quickly spread nationwide. A couple months in, students at UC Berkeley pitched tents on the Mario Savio steps in front of Sproul Hall. When UC police came to dismantle the tents, students linked arms, standing up for their right to freely express themselves. Facing them, armed police violently jabbed them with sticks. This contrast became obvious to the world immediately as the YouTube video of the police attack went viral.
(Photo) Wikileak's Julian Assange wearing an Anonymous mask on October 15th at #OccupyLXS camp in London
Now that the grassroots movement that started inadvertently with the Arab Spring has gone global, it is necessary to cast a backwards glance to try and figure out, with some perspective, the dynamics of what has happened, physically and conceptually, over the last year. We propose a simple vision of the process of uprising in 2011, which was consolidated on the past 15th of October as a new culture of popular resistance and creativity. We also aim to point out the recent or enhanced concepts born in the collective consciousness of society during this period.
Image Credit - @exiledsurfer
On August 15, a group of online activists known as Anonymous showed that their words and deeds can indeed move beyond cyberspace. In response to BART's August 11th attempt to foil protest with a shutdown of their wireless communication system, Anonymous launched OpBART to protest these actions. Over that weekend, Anonymous lit up, defacing myBART.org and commandeering thousands of user names from the woefully insecure BART network. This is par for the course for Anonymous.
The events broke into the mainstream news. On Monday morning it was on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle and other papers. Monday August 15th was X day for OpBART. With Twitter and social media facilitating the communication, those who care about free speech around the world watched to see if Anon could actually take their action to the streets.
Anonymous successfully carried out their intention. This was a rare pubic appearance that echoed some of their first actions against the Church of Scientology. Shawn Gaynor, writing for the San Francisco Bay Guardian noted how this protest was “the most civil of civil disturbances the city has seen surrounding the police brutality issue”.
Anonymous, who defaced BART’s external website now showed their face publicly as activists. Across time and space, struggles for justice from the past converged in SF with present action. Online activism led by the meme of Guy Fawkes masks from the film V for Vendetta emerged and entered the frame of conventional activism. People of all ages came. Ordinary people in nonviolent protest against BART violence and censorship showed solidarity with the group.
The recent news of alleged LulzSec spokesperson Topiary's arrest took the media spotlight away from WikiLeaks supporters' demonstration against PayPal. But it also raises questions about how online laws are applied, and the credibility of those who enforce them.
Topiary served as LulzSec's witty media front-man and his clever humour was tempered by a strong sense of justice.
"Laws are to be respected when they're fair, not obeyed without question," he said in a recent interview. "Revolution, to me, is bringing down the big guy while not forgetting to stand up for the little guy."
Topiary's arrest is just the latest in a string of arrests which are set to turn the spotlight back onto the US justice system. Many Anonymous supporters doubt the evidence being used against alleged juvenile hackers, while the WikiLeaks legal case against financial services like Visa, PayPal and Mastercard will generate even more public scrutiny.
A second wave of online protests has been launched againt PayPal, the Internet payment company whose December 2010 blocking of WikiLeaks donations provoked angry Denial Of Service (DDOS) attacks on their site. The latest protest, code-named #OpPayPal, was launched by AntiSec hacktivists, headed by Anonymous and Lulzsec, in response to recent FBI arrests of people allegedly involved in the earlier protest.
Statements posted by LulzSec and Anonymous encouraged PayPal users to close their accounts and condemned "the FBI's willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations." The arrested individuals included a minor whose name could not be released in court, and Mercedes Renee Haefer, a 20 year old journalism student who now faces up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $500K fine.
Haefer's lawyer, Stanley L. Cohen of New York, told the media: "In the 18th century, people stood on street corners handing out pamphlets saying, 'Beware the all-powerful military and big government'. Some people listened. Some people walked away. Today, pamphleteers use the Internet."
July 19, 2011
It has come to the attention of the Peoples Liberation Front the current plight of the freedom loving people of Belarus. Using social media and the internet, the people of Belarus have risen up against their dictator in a popular street movement modelled on the revolutions spreading globally from the mid east to Africa and beyond.
These protesters, along with the national and international journalsists covering these events have been brutalized, arrested - and persecuted. The Peoples Liberation Front will not stand for this, and now launches Operation Belarus to defend and assist these courageous protesters and reporters in Belarus.
Tomorrow at High Noon in Minsk, Belarus (5:00 AM Eastern Time USA) the forces of the PLF will take down the web site of the dictator of Belarus located @ http://president.gov.by - and we will from this day until the tyrant leaves power remove this site from the interwebz. This initial action and raid will be accompanied by a Black Fax and E-Mail Bomb action targeting the Office of the President of Belarus. PLF Operation Belarus has begun. Remember our Official Peoples Liberation Front Motto: Nil Desparandum - No Despair.
Following directions in a tweet from @LulzSec Twitter account, Wikileaks World connected to Anonymous IRC server and joined the public channel #AntiSec. The IRC, or Internet Chat Protocol, is the oldest chat protocol on the internet. It is also free. Once there, they recieved the automatic message for the channel's subject: “Got information/leaks?”. The text pointed us to several 'network operators' for the chat-room, marked with an “&” right before their screen-names. We talked with one of them.
After negotiating a moment when both he/she and we were not busy, we started the conversation below between an #AntiSec and WLCentral.
Today, servers of the Pirate Party Germany were confiscated. According to news reports, Darmstadt prosecutors confirm that there is currently no legal action against the Pirate Party itself. The target of the raid is information stored on these servers. The raid was carried out on request of French authorities who are investigating an alleged Anonymous attack on Électricité de France SA.
The Pirate Party released a statement saying that they fully cooperate in the investigation. A spokesperson confirmed to Der Spiegel that Piratenpad, the presumed target of the raid, does not log the IP addresses of its users. According to another statement on the official website of the party, the investigation centers around a SSH key which allegedly appeared on Piratenpad.
The servers were operated by the Offenbach based company AixIT. The raid was carried out on a Friday, two days before state elections in Bremen.
Spiegel Online and German public broadcaster ZDF report that the website of German Federal Police suffered performance problems for some time on Friday afternoon, which were consistent with a DDoS attack. The Pirate Party stated that they do not support such attacks.
Read more on Frankfurter Rundschau:
Statements by the Pirate Party:
More on Spiegel Online and the ZDF news:
An “open letter” from the ex-Bank of America employee was recently posted on the website Anonymous has been using to share the leaked emails. It appears to be in response to how he was characterized in coverage of the leak.
TechHerald.com has focused on this comment, which he wrote in response to a question from Anonymous on whether he had more emails: “I have to save the rest. I promised a WSJ [Wall Street Journal] reporter in Australia the story back in Jan when the Balboa sale was announced. I also need to keep a few aces for my inevitable years of litigation for what I’m doing.”
Today, Anonymous published a letter from him. It suggests he may not be so focused on profiting off his information after all.
He thumps his chest at Bank of America saying Bank of America continues “to underestimate me.”
“I’ve already read their plan of action against me. Anonymous leaked it for the world to see months ago,” he adds. “While “Anonymous” BofA executives huddle together and cower behind their corporate logo, hoping their corporate name can withstand a greater shitstorm than mine, we’ve both been reading the exact same battle plan. Don’t be fooled by press releases. The HB Gary plan cost a lot of the money from their piggy bank, and they’re not ones to let their own money go to waste.”
He suggests he is not afraid of Bank of America executives or employees who might be plotting against him:
Several writers have published their thoughts on the bank employee emails posted by Anonymous. They appear to have been caught up in the news cycle, hoping to get ahead of this story and get the most traffic to their post. In rushing the story, at least a few have committed a basic failure of journalism, one that could easily be remedied by fact checking.
Juli Weiner at VanityFair.com writes, “A-ha! Bank of America is indeed the large United States bank whose internal documents and e-mails were rumored to soon appear on the Internet. But twist! The leaker of those documents was not WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, spectral nuisance and folk hero, but Anonymous, the rabble-rousing hacking collective.”
Angela Orr on Technorati writes, “Alluded to by the Anonymous community for months, leaks of Bank of America documents have finally begun to come to light, as the so-called #BlackMonday Operation began, today.”
And, at ComputerWorld, Darlene Storm writes, “It's unclear whether part one of the bankofamericasucks leak is the same information that BofA was afraid WikiLeaks would publish.”
Actually, it is incredibly clear. Look at the dates: they are all from days ago, the first one being sent out on March 10, 2011. This makes it impossible for Anonymous to be leaking whatever material WikiLeaks happens to hold.
Anonymous, the hacktivist group known for supporting WikiLeaks and mounting actions in cyberspace in defense of freedom of information and transparency, launched “#BlackMonday” at midnight. Emails between an Anonymous user and an employee with Balboa Insurance, whose work is connected to the operations of Bank of America, were posted.
The employee claims to have worked for the company for the last seven years. He writes, “Many of you do not know who Balboa Insurance Group (soon to be rebranded as QBE First by Australian Reinsurance Company QBE according to internal communication sent to all Balboa associates) is, but if you’ve ever had a loan for an automobile, farm equipment, mobile home, or residential or commercial property, we knew you. In fact, we probably charged you money…a lot of money…for insurance you didn’t even need.”
Emails from the employee allegedly affirm suspicions that banks like Bank of America have been engaged in rampant fraud. But, the bigger story here is Anonymous has made contact with an employee at Balboa Insurance and opened up a conduit for getting information out to the world. He appears intent to push others to blow the whistle of Bank of America fraud.
In an email sent on March 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm, the Balboa Insurance employee writes about a key strategic issue that Anonymous faces in its campaign to take down Bank of America for its disingenuous and fraudulent dealings (particularly a campaign that began when the bank announced it would cease to process donations to WikiLeaks).
Headline: Westboro Baptist Church targeted by Anonymous
Hacker group Anonymous appears to have singled out its next target - the controvesial anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in the US.
True or false? Here are the facts.
The release of tens of thousands of emails from executives working for the classified cybersecurity services firm HBGary, which was found to have proposed plans to target WikiLeaks last week, shows exactly what members of the firm meant when they discussed using fake documents to sabotage or target WikiLeaks.
(If you are unaware of the story that has been unfolding, here is previous coverage, which has appeared on WL Central.)
A search through the database for emails that discuss “WikiLeaks” reveals one email on “stopping WikiLeaks.” It links to a Wordpress blog called “Godel’s Lost Letter and P=NP,” which covers stories related to technology and theories of computing.
The group of hacktivists known as Anonymous has released tens of thousands of emails from HBGary, a provider of classified cybersecurity services to the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and other US government agencies. Anonymous leaked the emails after HBGary’s CEO Aaron Barr plotted to infiltrate Anonymous and uncover the identities of individuals within the group and after it was found out that HBGary and two other firms had been actively plotting to sabotage and target WikiLeaks.
Additionally, it has been reported that Anonymous has obtained Stuxnet access. That is because the emails, now public, were improperly secured. A cybersecurity service did not protect itself from the possibility of infiltration from hackers.
According to newly released emails. of HBGary through the work of Anonymous, HBGary, Palantir Technology, Berico Technology formed a team and submitted a report to win a contract of the law firm Hunton & Williams,whose client is Bank of America. The final report written in Nov.4, 2010 is here, titled "Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell". What they assert in there is providing technological/traditional way of spying targeted entities, whatever that may be. To enumerate some of their 'tactics':
Social media exploitation
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance(ISR)
Custom software development
Among them, what would the last category, 'Custom software development' include? On page 9 of the document discussing explicit timeline of the planned phases, 'Develop customized bots and helpers' is listed as one of the major tactics. One can only guess about what kind of 'bots' that would explicitly be, but an article on Crowdleaks can give some hints on the kind of 'bots' or, 'custom software'. Following is an excerpt:
Two data intelligence firms that decided to cooperate with HBGary’s plot to sabotage WikiLeaks have severed ties. Berico Technologies severed ties in the afternoon on February 11 and early in the morning on February 11 Palantir Technologies severed all ties and issued an apology.
Dr. Alex Karp, co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, apologized, saying according to the Tech Herald:
“I have made clear in no uncertain terms that Palantir Technologies will not be involved in such activities. Moreover, we as a company, and I as an individual, always have been deeply involved in supporting progressive values and causes. We plan to continue these efforts in the future…
HBGary Federal, provider of classified cybersecurity services to the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and other US government agencies, has opted over the past months to go to war with the group of WikiLeaks supporters known as Anonymous. The Tech Herald reported today on HBGary Federal and two other data intelligence firms “strategic plan” for an attack against WikiLeaks.
The company is considered to be “a leading provider of best-in-class threat intelligence solutions for government agencies and Fortune 500 organizations.” It provides "enhanced threat intelligence" so "the federal government can better protect our national cyber infrastructure."