NATO leaders have been warned that WikiLeaks-loving ‚hacktivist‘ collective Anonymous could pose a threat to member states‘ security, following recent attacks on the US Chamber of Commerce and defence contractor HBGary – and promise to ‚persecute‘ its members.
In a toughly-worded draft report to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, General Rapporteur Lord Jopling claims that the loose-knit, leaderless group is „becoming more and more sophisticated“, and „could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files“.
The group demonstrated its capabilities in February, says the report, when it hacked into US-based defence contractor HBGary. Documents stolen in the attack lifted the lid on the US military’s plans to use social network surveillance software, code-named ‚Metal Gear‘ by the online hive-mind, which could control an army of fake profiles, collecting data from disparate sites and piecing together an individual’s identity by analysing linguistic traits and other details.
Describing the rise of the group from its beginnings on internet picture message board 4chan, via campaigns against the Church of Scientology and, more recently, in support of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, the report continues: „Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership.“
The report goes on to lay out a stark warning to the group’s nameless participants:
„It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted.“
Reacting to the extraordinary threat in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an MP in NATO member Iceland, said she was „seeking input“. Jónsdóttir claimed the report of „falsifies facts“ about WikiLeaks – for whom she was formerly an activist – and Bradley Manning, the US Army private accused of leaking the US government’s so-called ‚Cablegate‘ diplomatic memos.
NATO’s threat follows a recent toughening of governmental stances against hacking on both sides of the Atlantic, with major NATO players the US and the UK outlining their strategies for what appears a forthcoming age of cyber-warfare.
A policy document released last month and signed by President Obama issued an oblique threat of military retaliation against hackers, if legal and political measures prove fruitless.
„The United States will ensure that the risks associated with attacking or exploiting our networks vastly outweigh the potential benefits,“ the document said.
Yesterday, the UK’s coalition government unveiled plans to recruit ‚hundreds‘ of cyber-soldiers into a new defence task force aimed at combating online attacks.
„Our forces depend on computer networks, both in the UK and in operations around the world. But our adversaries present an advance and rapidly developing threat to these networks,“ the MoD said in the statement.
The UK government’s statement didn’t name who those adversaries were. In the light of Lord Jopling’s report, perhaps it is now a little clearer just who they may have in mind. >>> Thinq
074 CDS 11 E – INFORMATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY
A. THE PHENOMENON OF HACTIVISM
23. Apart from causing harm, destruction or conducting espionage, most recent cyber attacks have also been used as a means to reach a rather different goal. “Hactivism” is a relatively recent form of social protest or expression of ideology by using hacking techniques. Hactivists use different malware (or “malicious software”) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to publicize their cause rather than for crime. Such attacks first occurred in 1989 but have gained more prominence over the last decade. In the past hactivists have attacked NASA, the Indonesian and Israeli governments, Republican websites, as well as the University of East Anglia.
24. One of the most prominent group of on-line hackers – Anonymous – led a campaign against Iran, Australia and the Church of Scientology. Their most prominent campaign, however, took off in 2010 after WikiLeaks had released the US diplomatic cables. In its on-line seven-point manifesto, Anonymous announced its engagement in “the first infowar ever fought” and named PayPal as its enemy. What followed were DDoS attacks against Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and other companies that had decided to stop providing services for WikiLeaks (they used to administer online donations for the site), against the Swiss bank PostFinance, that had earlier closed Julian Assange’s bank account, and against the Swedish Prosecution Service. The group also attacked Amazon.com, which was previously renting server space to WikiLeaks.
25. Observers note that Anonymous is becoming more and more sophisticated and could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files. According to reports in February 2011, Anonymous demonstrated its ability to do just that. After WikiLeaks announced its plan of releasing information about a major bank, the US Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America reportedly hired the data intelligence company HBGary Federal to protect their servers and attack any adversaries of these institutions. In response, Anonymous hacked servers of HBGary Federal’s sister company and hijacked the CEO’s Twitter account. Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership. It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted. >>> Complete Document
Comments about NATO:
- NATO should quit talking shit and get busy finishing off the regime in Libya.
- Dear NATO. Could I please have one of those shiny new jobs your offering. I promise to only work actively against you on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I shall spend the rest of the week educating the interns on how to bypass internal security and steal other peoples lunches out the staff kitchen without leaving forensic evidence. Hugs and Kisses, Trap
- Diplomacy. Dimplomacy etc is what they’re not good at. Shooting people? Nice and easy, they’re good at that. Which option do you think they, lead by the US, would rather take? Extradition and eventually Guantanamo (torture).
inb4tinfoil because it isn’t.
- Way to go NATO!
- I wonder how they plan to keep Anonymous out of their ranks – It’s easy. You give them money. Now they’re loyal to the government. It’s pretty easy really.
- This is absolutely brilliant! One of the worlds strongest military coalition is thinking of hunting down bored kids with too much time on their hands! I love how this world works, it’s absolute chaos and ignorance.
Good luck trying to take down a group of bored kids and hacktivists, who if provoked will only cause more problems. Right now you have Anonymous poking fun at targets that are mildly entertaining, my best bet is that if you poke the beast, they’ll probably start doing damage… you know.. for the lulz.
I, for one, welcome this, and will enjoy it’s development.
- This is how the end begins, folks. This is a group with no friends in government, in business… in short, the people with money. The people who can afford the best stuff, and to hire the best people. Everything leaves a trace, everything leaves a trail, and sooner or later enough pressure, power, and money can track down anyone with a web presence.
But Anon? They won’t care. Many of those who call themselves Anons or use their tactics can’t even imagine there is a backlash to be had. They’ll hear this and think ‚Ha! We’ll just screw with NATO next! We’ll screw with everyone! Onward, for lulz!‘. Meanwhile, others use the Anon banner to attack governments, to aid rebelions, to fight for transparency in government and business and for free speech to be available for all. This combination leads the outside observer to think they are anarchic madmen. And the last time anarchic madmen went unchecked, we had World War I.
My advice, personally, would be for folks in Anon to find a new mask to wear and fast. Sooner or later, someone wearing your mask will take one step over the line; crash power in an emergency zone, scramble hospital records so people get the wrong drugs and die, or so forth. That person will, likely, see no difference in their actions and the usual lulz they think Anon is all about. And that will be the day these governments go from being curious, concerned, and interested to deciding to track people down and toss them in prison for a few decades. At best. And when it comes to it, motivate the politicians and businesses enough, the ideas of free speech and protection of clients will go bye-bye.
That’s the part I find most amusing about this. That which many of those wearing the mask fight for, most likely, will ultimately be eroded, even destroyed, in part thanks to the actions of others wearing the mask. It’s ironic, but only in the sense that being gut shot when you were worried about a stomach ache is ironic. This will, ultimately, end in fire.
More Comments here: http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/hp8jl/wtf_nato_leaders_have_been_warned_that_anonymous/
NATO Versus Anonymous
Oh Anonymous, now you’re for it…
NATO leaders have been warned that Wikileaks-loving ‘hacktivist’ collective Anonymous could pose a threat to member states’ security, following recent attacks on the US Chamber of Commerce and defence contractor HBGary – and promise to ‘persecute’ its members.
In a toughly-worded draft report to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, General Rapporteur Lord Jopling claims that the loose-knit, leaderless group is “becoming more and more sophisticated”, and “could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files”. >>> broadsheet
The reaction of Anonymous comes after NATO report:
….I Wish you Good Luck Nato, you need it….
MP-IST-083-20 A Security-Enabled Anonymous MANET Protocol (PDF Download)