Any companies out there considering taking down Anonymous in return for the various DDoS attacks the group staged earlier this year might want to think twice. The hacktivist group recently infiltrated security firm HBGary Federal’s network and accumulated various confidential material and internal e-mails. The firm’s CEO Aaron Barr allegedly had plans to rat out Anonymous members to the FBI, and as revenge he can now find his and various other HBGary employees’ e-mails publicly posted (HBGary is HBGary Federal’s sister company). In addition to outing Anonymous members, HBGary was one of the handful of firms orchestrating an image attack to destroy WikiLeaks’ reputation. WikiLeaks is reportedly preparing to release confidential documents belonging to Bank of America, and according to Forbes, HBGary would work for the company by “spreading misinformation, launching cyberattacks against [WikiLeaks], and pressuring journalists.”
Anonymous is now hosting a site (and there are a variety of mirrors as well) giving anyone access to 71,800 e-mails from the inboxes of HBGary executives Greg Hogland, Aaron Barr, Ted Vera, and Phil Wallisch. Subject matter ranges from a PowerPoint presentation detailing intentions to plant false stories about WikiLeaks to embarrassing love letters between company execs.
This is more than humiliating for HBGary – it’s financially ruining the company. Security firms Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies have cut ties with HBGary. The released documents tied both firms to the operations defending Bank of America by sabotaging WikiLeaks, and now they’re wiping their hands of the situation. Aside from any business relationships Anonymous’ latest hack and release damaged for HBGary, the fact that a security firm was infiltrated by the group in the first place speaks volumes.
WikiLeaks holds powerful information, and it seems like security firms will stop at nothing to retain it – or at least threaten the group and its supporters to the point of keeping their mouths shut. But it appears that Anonymous has more in its arsenal than unsophisticated DDoS attacks, and the group is ready to use them.