An “Anonymous” attack, a hacker spat

Gregory Warner Dec 26, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Over the weekend, the hacker group known as Anonymous launched a Christmas attack. The group has already taken responsibility for attacks on music industry websites and government agencies.

And it announced this weekend via Twitter that it had stolen thousands of credit card numbers from the client lists of a company in Texas. Anonymous said it planned to use those stolen cards to donate $1 million to charity.

But then came a retraction. Anonymous said: “it wasn’t us.”

Marketplace’s Gregory Warner reports.

Gregory Warner: The retraction was posted sometime last night. The collective hacker group Anonymous denied responsibility for the attack. It blamed rogue hackers for misusing the name “Anonymous.” Which is a tricky thing, when the name of your group is Anonymous.

Joshua Corman: Anyone can do an operation – in the name of Anonymous. And several have. So it’s hard to have brand control and brand management.

Joshua Corman is director of security intelligence for Akamai Technologies and blogs about Anonymous. He says the group is aiming for legitimacy as a political movement. It says it doesn’t attack media sources. The company that got hacked called Stratfor publishes a daily newsletter on global security issues. Corman says another possibility, less likely, is that Anonymous did do it, then realized whose credit cards and passwords they stole.

Corman: They didn’t realize how powerful some of the subscribers to Stratfor are, and got very scared of the blowback. And now are pretending they didn’t do it.

Stratfor has military and law enforcement subscribers around the world. Anonymous members voted via Twitter which charities would receive donations from the stolen credit cards. The list included a children’s hospice, the A.C.L.U. and a charity supporting small businesses in Haiti and Guatamala. Peter Haas is executive director of that charity, called AIDG.

Peter Haas: We’re probably the smallest one on the list. So getting on the list was a big deal for us.

Haas tweeted Anonymous this morning begging not to donate with stolen credit cards. He’ll just have to give the money back, and pay a surcharge of $35. Robin Hood doesn’t work when there’s a cyber trail.
In Philadelphia, I’m Gregory Warner for Marketplace.  

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