Following the Tuesday compromise of the website of tear gas maker Combined Systems, Inc., the Antisec wing of Anonymous struck a Federal Trade Commission webserver which hosts three FTC websites, business.ftc.gov, consumer.gov and ncpw.gov, the National Consumer Protection Week partnership website.
Claiming this hack in opposition of the controversial international copyright treaty known as ACTA, which had been widely protested around the world for its potential to curtail freedom of expression on the internet, Anonymous continued the political messaging that has marked much of its recent high-profile actions.
Anons claiming responsibility for the attack spoke to Wired.com in an online chat just as it happened, freely admitting that there was nothing technically remarkable in this hack. As one remarked, “own & rm and move on.” (rm being a unix command to delete data.)
But this week’s attacks came with a promise, first articulated in the defacement of CSI, and restated on the FTC websites: Every Friday will bring a new attack against government and corporate sites under the theme of #FFF, or Fuck the FBI Friday.
“We are already sitting on dozens of unreleased targets,” said an Antisec anon, who went on to describe an inventory of already compromised servers that could fill five months or more of #FFF releases.
“Yes, each and every Friday we will be launching attacks… with the specific purpose of wiping as many corrupt corporate and government systems off our internet,” the anon continued.
The choice of the FTC is an odd one, given the independent agency has no role in ACTA negotiations. Instead, it’s tasked with fighting unfair business practices, sanctioning companies like Google and Facebook for privacy violations, and running the Do-Not-Call list – hardly the stuff of Big Brother stomping on online rights forever.
While many attacks are likely to be simple defacements like the FTC website, Antisec claims to also be going through mail spools, SQL databases and password files on dozens of corporate and government servers which are unaware of their presence.
The anon speaking to Wired described the string of hacking as having “no foreseeable end in sight,” going on to say “the more we own, the more we steal credentials to even more targets.”
They’ve decided try to balance between protest defacements like the two this week, and sifting through the data for material that can damage firms and agencies. “It’s more than just delivering a message or speaking truth to power… we are trying to disrupt their ability to operate and do business or exist at all on the internet,” the same anon said.
Jerry Irvine, a member of the National Cyber Security Task Force told the New York Times last week that attacks would become more frequent, describing the amorphous collective as “unstoppable,” because of the poor state of security online.
In an environment of heightened political tensions around protest movements like the Arab Spring and moves to restrict the internet like ACTA, those vulnerabilities are likely to play more of a role in Anonymous’ political dialogue.
“We’ve been saying it for the longest (time),” the Antisec anon explained, “this is war.”
Illustration: Simon Lutrin/Wired