Anonymous Affiliates Are Unhappy About the 'Robin Hood' Hack

Now that the afterglow of the latest AntiSec assault on the global intelligence firm Stratfor is dulling a bit, some members affiliates of Anonymous are protesting the hacking of a regular old, hard-working American company.

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Now that the afterglow of the latest AntiSec assault on the global intelligence firm Stratfor is dulling a bit, some members affiliates of Anonymous are protesting the hacking of a regular old, hard-working American company. This week, the details of AntiSec hacktivists' latest project, loosely dubbed Anonymous' LulzXmas, is stealing headlines in classic LulzSec fashion. The hack reportedly resulted in over 200 gigabytes of Stratfor's data, including everything from log-ins to credit card numbers, and received coverage in all the big outlets from Fox News to The New York Times (and The Atlantic Wire, too). It was reported that AntiSec stole a bunch of money from the rich Stratfor customers and gave it to charities like The Red Cross. But now, doubts are beginning to surface about whether AntiSec's Robin Hood move might backfire. After all, what happens when the charities are inevitably forced to give that money back to the Startfor customers who unknowingly donated? Further, as details emerge of a two-month-old hack on a small business -- albeit one that potentially supplies pepper-spray to the pepper-spray-loving cops who then spray it all over Occupy protesters --  some wonder whether AntiSec is actually fighting the good fight. Based on rumors that the hackers are preparing to launch a full-on assault against the "some of the most powerful men in the world," however, we're pretty sure Anonymous is not defending the One Percent.
Before we risk our readers getting an eye poked out by all the finger-pointing, we ought to make one thing clear. Anonymous and its offshoots (AntiSec, LulzSec and whatever other ___Sec groups we haven't heard about yet) are loosely organized, at best. So when one self-identified Anon steps forward to protest the work of other Anon-affiliates, it's not at all surprising that he or she would deny that AntiSec's Stratfor attack was condoned by Anonymous. To quote a Pastebin rant uploaded by someone called Self-Identified Anon on Tuesday night: "THE PASTEBIN CLAIMING THAT THE STRATFOR HACK IS NOT THE WORK OF ANONYMOUS IS NOT THE WORK OF ANONYMOUS." The Pastebin we think Self-Identified Anon is talking about is this one from AntiSec, a collaboration between former LulzSec and Anonymous members affiliates. Though that post doesn't actually mention Anonymous once, the story that it helped spawn was widely reported (including by us) as an affiliated attack. Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't. The problem with leaderless organizations like Anonymous is that they're pretty amorphous, sometimes inconsistent and always vague about who did what.

Nevertheless, Self-Identified Anon goes on to raise an interesting point about who AntiSec's attack are really impacting. S/he even raises the issue of Constitutional rights. "#antisec has been purposefully misrepresented by these so-called Anons and portrayed in false light as a collective that hacks the little man, the 99% or even the 89%," the post reads. "Stratfor employees are well versed in counter-intelligence, though they kinda lack intelligence per-se and are nothing more than opportunistic attention whores who are definetly agent provocateurs. As a media source, Stratfor's work is protected by the freedom of press, a principle which Anonymous does not give a fuck any day of the week." This idea gets interesting when you consider the second LulzXmas hack, an attack on the law-enforcement supply shop Special Forces Gear. Apparently the attack actually happened several months ago, and the shop's owner says he's been feeling the sting where it matters most for small businesses these days, the wallet in his back pocket. The Daily Dot's Fruzsina Eördögh spoke to Dave Thomas, owner of Special Forces Gear, as well as a self-identified member of AntiSec:

"I imagine it is coming up again because of the publicity over Stratfor," said Thomas. "That’s what they are after. I am not a big company. I am minuscule. They’ve hurt me financially quite a bit, and I am thinking here we go again." …

In a private message with the Daily Dot, an AntiSec member admitted Special Forces was essentially chump change, but attacking it is part of a "war of attrition" and "guerrilla tactics."

"We go for every weak point," wrote the AntiSec member. "We cut off every resource. We twist the knife in the back of the already untrusted."

Good grief. So now we've got Dave Thomas, the small business owner who sells pepper-spray to cops, invoking the rhetoric of the 99 Percent, while at least one hacktivist-type is arguing that Anonymous isn't standing up for the 99 Percent … or even the 89 Percent! We haven't seen a response from AntiSec, but we doubt they're going to be thrilled about this interpretation of their behavior.

But like we suggested at the start, it certainly looks like Anonymous affiliates are waging war on the One Percent as fiercely as ever. Writing in The Australian, Fran Foo reported on Wednesday that some of those listed as victims of the Stratfor attack represent the ultra elite, including one wealthy member of the Australian Parliament and a "prominent journalist." Meanwhile, the former unofficial spokesperson for Anonymous Barrett Brown is doing some recruiting on Reddit to find folks to help him search through a giant cache of One Percenter email addresses. Also, another hacktivist-type is now warning of an impending "First Bank Release" that's sure to include a few jabs in the direction of the One Percent. As always, we're not sure what will come of these threats, if anything, but it seems pretty clear that a powerful set of Anon-affiliates, including AntiSec, are very much watching out for the 99 Percent.

We guess it all comes down to one question: What did AntiSec actually do with all that money they stole from Stratfor customers? The Red Cross told us yesterday that they were looking into the issue of misplaced donations, potentially stemming from the AntiSec attack, but that the onus was on the credit card companies to determine if the transactions were fraudulent. Mastercard is trying to figure that out right now. "This incident currently is under investigation," a spokesperson told The Atlantic Wire in an email, "therefore MasterCard cannot disclose additional details regarding the incident or otherwise comment at this time." Time will tell whether or not AntiSec actually stole from the rich and gave to the poor, rather than vice versa. As for Thomas's business woes, it could be argued that his financial hurt might have something to do with the collective outrage that's followed the many instances of police brutality against the Occupy protesters. Then again, maybe he sold an extra lot of pepper-spray, too.

We can definitely buy what Thomas says about AntiSec seeking publicity. Whether that was the primary motivation or not, the hactivists have succeeded in making what may be 2011's last big hack another object of the media's fascination. Journalists (like your humble Atlantic Wire Anonymous correspondent) will be digging through the details of this at least until Thursday, when we're pretty sure AntiSec or Anonymous or both will strike again. The suspected target: Go Daddy. Duh.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.