Anonymous and LulzSec are planning something called "Payload #1" for Friday. It's the first major event for the two hacking groups' new activist-oriented collaboration, Operation Anti-Security, or AntiSec. But in a roundabout way, it's sort of a reunion for the two groups.
In a sprawling exposé out Thursday, The Wall Street Journal explains how the two groups trace their roots back to 2003 and prank-planning on 4chan, an anonymous image forum where the shenanigans of a small group of users got out of control. That collective became known publicly as Anonymous after an attack on the Church of Scientology made headlines. Following other high-profile hacks on PayPal, Sony and HBGary, an internet security firm that was secretly investigating WikiLeaks, a splinter group calling themselves LulzSec emerged with a more voracious appetite for aggressive assaults on major corporations and banks as well as national governments and spy agencies. Their ruthless and apparently unrelenting attacks on any secure target they deem laughable--"Lulz" stands for laughs, "Sec" for security--launched the group into the global media spotlight. Just after LulzSec announced joining forces formally with their old pals at Anonymous, kids started getting arrested.
Earlier this week, British police took into custody a suspected LulzSec ringleader named Ryan Cleary. The 16-year-old had been connected to hacking into the encrypted chatrooms of Anonymous, which then published his contact information, surely a strong lead for investigators scrambling to find anybody connected with the hacker groups. Though the media eagerly linked Cleary to LulzSec after police drew the connection to Anonymous, both groups have denied that Cleary held a leadership role. This arrest follows that of 19-year-old Martijn Gonlag, the hacker featured in WSJ's history of Anonymous, who admits to have taken part in attacks last year. Since his December arrest, Gonlag has grown disenchanted. Gonlag and other say the group's decentralized nature is a problem for everyone.