A curious listing popped up in the registration section of Machine Project, a grassroots educational facility in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Bearing the title “Becoming Anonymous,” the listing proposed to teach registrants to learn the techniques used by the infamous and admirable hacktivist collective Anonymous. The class costs $95 for Machine Project members and $110 for non-members; the three 180-minute sessions are scheduled for March 4, 11, and 18 at 7pm.
Becoming Anonymous is a three-session workshop that will focus on methods for the circumvention or blocking of digital and real-world surveillance. Browse the internet anonymously. Lock down your computer and passwords. Encrypt your email messages. Build a new you or a new identity. Learn about the benefits of burner phones and bitcoin. Stop individuals, corporations, or the government from tracking you. A toolkit for a new era!
Taught by Professors X & Y who are real-life professors, technology enthusiasts, and privacy advocates. But perhaps we’ve already told you too much.
Participants should have laptops and be 18 or over.
Given the inordinate interest that law enforcement officials are likely to have in such an event, I would imagine that the “teachers” will be present in the form of one or more computer monitors. Although it’s not like you can just arrest some dude called Anonymous anyway.
Here’s a taste of the kind of righteous mayhem you can perpetrate after taking the class, specifically blitzing the websites of the Westboro Baptist Church:
The much-hated haters of the Westboro Baptist Church, well-known for their “God Hates Fags” signs and picketing the funerals of dead soldiers, announced over the weekend that they were planning a demonstration at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Callously disregarding the residents of Newtown, Margie Phelps, a member of the Phelps clan tweeted that “fags” and gay marriage had brought the mayhem to the CT town. A freakish musical statement from the WBC purports that God had sent the shooter (personally, I guess).
Residents of Newtown don’t need this shit right now. Enter Anonymous.
In a video uploaded on Vimeo, the hacker collective throws down the gauntlet:
We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred. We will not allow you to inspire aggression to the social factions which you deem inferior. We will render you obsolete. We will destroy you. We are coming.
An awful lot of people would very much like to see that happen judging from the supportive comments (unsurprisingly, the WBC attracts few “care trolls” who stick up for them, or even for their First Amendment rights. Most people just loath them and want to see them hurt).
WBC members do-to list for today: Apply for a new SSN, change phone numbers, and call every local pizza place and tell them no pizza.
So far Anonymous has published the email addresses, phone numbers and street addresses of a number of Westboro members (And what do ya know, most of them are named “Phelps”!). A US government official predicted earlier this year that soon enough Anonymous would have the expertise to be able to bring down parts of the power grid.
Fuck the Phelps, sure, but just imagine if they took down Wall Street for the day.
“My heart goes out to the grieving families as well as the rest of the surrounding community during this time of unthinkable mourning & tremendous loss. The news that my sister & the rest of my family intend to protest the funerals of those lost in this national tragedy is, to me, a stark reminder that anyone’s interpretation of religious texts serve more as a reflection to the character of those reading it than whatever the author intended in the first place. My sincere hope is that the Sandy Hook community is able to grieve & mourn privately, & with whatever peace can be had in knowing the rest of the world mourns with you.
“To those considering offering WBC an alternative to protesting these funerals, I say, ‘let them show up’. WBC is running out of money & their leader is a frail old man whose power & reach is tremendously limited to those who provide them an audience. Their recent tactic has been accepting media air time in lieu of protesting high profile funerals. By allowing them this luxury, they get free publicity with no effort or expense on their part, while potentially traumatizing a much wider audience than those strong enough to stand against them in silent but effective counter-protest. These counter-protests have, many times, prevented the grieving mourners from being impacted by WBC’s childish, attention seeking behavior. Please do not allow WBC the option of a less costly alternative. By calling their bluff, they will either ask for police protection, which allows police to control where they are located, or not request police protection, which would clearly be an unwise decision considering the emotionally charged environment they will be entering. Either way they alone will bear their costs, along with sole responsibility for harassing the community, without the benefit of a national platform in which to do it.”
Dazed Digital has an interesting back and forth between Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire and “AnonyOps” from online hacktivist group Anonymous:
Alec Empire: What do you think about all these new laws that are being put in place around the globe right now? Sopa (the US Stop Online Piracy Act), Acta (the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and all the variations of them in various countries? I was shocked that almost everyone I spoke to in the independent music industry welcomes those laws.
AnonyOps: The companies pushing for laws like Sopa and Acta are trying to protect their profits, but these laws aren’t really about protecting intellectual property. They’re about making sweeping laws that give governments broad powers to take down anyone’s website and/or business.
New communications technologies have always been a threat to people and institutions in power; they have responded with repression and restriction. It took 100 years for kings to clamp down on the printing press, and 30 years from the invention of radio to the creation of the Federal Communications Commission at the behest of the US Navy and commercial broadcasters. We forget how young the internet is – most of us have only had access for 15 years. We believe that because it’s always been open, it always will be.
We’re losing our ability to communicate, and all the while governments are attempting policy laundering. They recycle the same tired, unpopular bills and this happens because corporations are only too happy to fill the pockets of politicians. Acta, for example, has been characterised by an astounding lack of transparency, negotiated in secret while excluding civil society and non-government organisations. For many years, we only knew what was in the Acta text because of WikiLeaks.
In short, this shit is bad news. We need a new paradigm in politics. One where we demand transparency, and when we find that backroom deals are done, we kick them out on their asses. We need public will in our favour for this to happen.
Alec Empire: I thought of pirate radio in the UK in the early 90s. I had my first record deal back then and we recorded in London. At night we would listen to pirate radio – yes, that was before it was easy to stream music via the Internet. Huge raves were happening in the country at the time and because the major record labels weren’t a part of that the official radio stations weren’t, even though so many kids were listening to this music. Most of the records DJs played were distributed on white labels, and there was a lot of ‘copyright violation’ because sampling technology offered so many news ways to manipulate sounds, beats, voices, basically everything. Another reason why most radio stations could or wouldn’t play it. Most producers of those records stayed in fact anonymous.
Two decades later, nobody can deny that those times were key to what followed. Pop music wouldn’t be where it is today without that huge influence of early rave and electronic music. So the enemy of the major record labels back then became their life saviour. Because the majors had to adapt. What I am trying to get at here is that isn’t it true that when the time has come for an idea that will bring change, nobody can stop that? Not even a country’s army?
Hactivists at Anonymous Operations UK have launched a successful cyber-attack on the British Prime Minister and his government’s Home Office websites by flooding them with unwanted internet traffic. Anonymous’ actions are in support of hacker Gary McKinnon and TV Shack’s Richard O’Dwyer who face extradition from Britain to the United States, and in support of retired business man Christopher Tappin, who has already been extradited.
@AnonOpUk used a Distributed Denial of Service action to block the government’s websites, an offense punishable by prison. During the attack, which started at 9pm UK time, AnonOpUK tweeted:
Word of an attack on the Home Office websites had been known since yesterday when Hacker News reported:
Anonymous Plans 7 April Attack on British governmentUK hackers linked to the Anonymous group are encouraging supporters to attack the Home Office website this Saturday (7 April) in protest at the extradition of three UK citizens to the US. Called #OpTrialAtHome, the hacktivist group @AnonOpUK posted a warning on its Twitter page that an attack on the Home Office was planned for Saturday, 7 April.
An associated photo/poster shows images of Gary McKinnon, Richard O’Dwyer and Christopher Tappin. McKinnon and O’Dwyer are awaiting extradition from the UK to the US. Tappin’s extradition was effected on 24 February when he was flown to El Paso, Texas.
Supporters have been encouraged to launch denial-of-service attacks on the Home Office’s IP address, which Anonymous has revealed. Those not savvy enough to launch automated attacks on the site could contribute to the effect by simply visiting the site in large numbers.
Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested in the UK under an EAW issued by Sweden, and is currently fighting extradition to Sweden.
McKinnon, a Scottish systems administrator, was arrested in 2002 for allegedly hacking into US military and Nasa computers in 2001 and 2002 and deleting files and copying data.
Tappin, a retired British businessman, is accused by the US government of illegally exporting materials to Iran for building surface-to-air missiles.
O’Dwyer, the owner of TVShack.net, is charged with hosting copyrighted materials on his site and the US Justice Department has been seeking his extradition since May 2011.
Anonymous’ #OpTrialAtHome is timed to commence at 9:00pm on Saturday, April 7, with a DDoS attack on the Home Office website.
AnonOpUK’s actions have been erroneously reported, by both the BBC and Sky News, that the DDoS attack was over the British government’s latest “draconian surveillance proposals”, to which @AnonOpUk responded:
Both @BBCNews & @SkyNews reporting that #Anonymous is protesting surveillance laws. Main focus is anti-extradition, but fuck those laws too.
AnonOpUk has since tweeted:
#OpTrialAtHome Our online protest was successful, I am going quiet. BUT if you have itchy trigger fingers still. #OpLithChild #IsAGoodCause
via @Anon_Central Do you know why we launched #OpTrialAtHome? This is the reason: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-17355203 | #UK #Anonymous
Currently the Home Office and Prime Minister appear disrupted.
Floundering for relevancy from his outpost in media Siberia, former big-time tee-vee celebrity Glenn Beck is baiting Anonymous with a completely stupid new parody video. At least I think this is what passes for “parody” in conservative circles? Maybe not…
As one YouTube comment noted:
“Hey Glen Beck, you are an evil piece of shit. You are fighting to silence the people. You are fighting to suppress knowledge. You are fighting to perpetuate the status quo. The people will not be silenced. We will not be subdued by your propaganda. We will not bow to the corrupt and unapologetic government officials who seek to control us through fear and unconstitutional actions.”
The official website for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is the latest victim in a massive online attack against both the government and entertainment industry.
The Bureau’s official website, FBI.gov, went down Thursday evening after hacktivists participating in campaigns waged by the loose knit collective Anonymous attacked a series of sites in retaliation for a raid earlier in the day against the Megaupload service.
Following a federal raid that not only shut down the file sharing service Megaupload but also led to more than 20 warrants being served and at least seven arrests internationally, hacktivists took to the Web to respond. The result was an attack on the sites of several entertainment industry and government sites that crippled many of them. The websites for the US Department of Justice and Universal Music Group were among the first to go, with the sites for US Copyright Office, Warner Music, BMI, and RIAA following suit shortly after. At around 7:40 PM ET, FBI.gov finally went down.
Anonymous have also issued this video, declaring the launch of Operation Blackout, and stating:
This is not only an Anonymous collective call to action… this is a call for a worldwide internet and ohysical protest against the powers that be.
The reaction to this is going to be interesting, to say the least!
Revolutionary chic is back in a big way these days and it just warms my heart..We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists is an upcoming documentary from Luminant Media that will tell the story of today’s online cyber activists “Anonymous” by tracing the origins of the movement from the earliest days of the incipient hacker scene to the present day. “We Are Legion is promised in 2012 so… expect it.
I have been waiting for a band or an act to put into music all the feelings that have been driving the Occupy movement. Music is still one of the fastest means of spreading a meme, and I think it’s a mark of how truly “popular” a movement has become when it has its own protest music that reflects the anger and desires of the protesters.
It seems rather fitting then that the first large-scale act to do so would be squat-rave and black block veterans Atari Teenage Riot. Alec Empire and Nic Endo’s Berlin-based anarchist mob have been screaming about this kind of thing since the early 90s, and it looks like the world has finally caught up with what they have to say. While personally I would have thought it would be a new act to break through representing a new generation, no-one can doubt ATR’s credentials when it comes to this kind of thing. In fact, maybe in this age of ultra-commodified music it would HAVE to take a more veteran, established act to represent OWS and Anonymous so as to avoid claims of false appropriation?
You have to hand it to ATR though, “Black Flags” is a pretty great tune. I’d say it’s one of their most accessible yet while retaining all that dark techno-punk scuzzy energy we know and love (metal guitars over distorted 909 drums? fuck yeah!). You can hear the track, and download it for free, right here:
The video for ‘Black Flags’ has been put together using footage supplied by fans of the band, and they are still looking for more if anyone reading would like to get involved. Here’s a statement from the Alec Empire / Atari Teenage Riot Soundcloud page:
In the past decade we have witnessed how dangerous corruption can be for ordinary citizens, from Fukushima to the financial crisis, we could even include the current phone hacking scandals in the UK in this. The list goes on. Almost weekly more shocking news is being published. Corporate greed has too often put the lives of people in danger.
Historically, the Black Flag stood for not belonging to a certain Nation State (due to the fact that no national colors were used on it). For the us, it means also that no individual can look at him/herself as superior to others just because of his/her national identity.
The mainstream media often looks at “consumers” and labels them as “apathetic.” But as the protests around the world have indicated, there is more political activism than ever before. And not only that, we see the same activism and energy at our concerts.
Cynics always find many reasons for not doing anything and being miserable. Often they say that the world is too “complex” to get involved. We believe that even though the world is complex, there are some fundamentally powerful ideas. Respect for another human being, for example, is a fundamental idea that grants great power.
If you agree to the basic principles of equality and freedom, join us and make a statement!
If you want to be in the video and show that you support the ideals mentioned above, please send us the following footage:
• Take your mobile phone, webcam or any other camera and film yourself lip-synching the song Atari Teenage Riot - Black Flags (feat. Boots Riley) by Alec Empire/ ATR • Have a black flag in the background, or hold it while you’re lip-syncing. (The black flag motif will link all images together. If you don’t have one to hand, use a black T-shirt, pull it inside out, stick the arms into it…there you go.) • You can choose any location for it. If you want to do it at home, great. If you know a crazy location, do it there. (In front of your school or university? At a shopping mall? With your friends at a party?) • We will use fragments of all videos, which are sent in and ultimately add all of you to the official video. • If you want to support the idea but want to do so anonymously, you can cover your face. No problem.
Apparently, Anonymous have released a video promising they’ll “erase” the New York Stock Exchange from the Internet next week at 3:30 p.m. on October 10th. The proposed mass DDOS attack refers to itself as being part of a “new civil rights movement”:
Citizens of the World,
We are Anonymous.
For too long, the crimes of Wall Street bankers, CEOs, and a corrupt political system have created economic injustices that has gone unchallenged. A new civil rights movement has begun.
Today, the brave citizens of New York are standing up to these atrocities, a voice of reason in an ever-failing society. Over the past few days, thousands of people have chosen to take a stand against these injustices. The 1% has abused the freedom they have been given. We are taking to the streets to show the wealthy elite that we, the 99%, are no longer going to grease the gears of this abhorrent system.
The lifeblood of the country is the working class, without it our people and our economy will crumble. Those who sustain present-day colonialism are the enablers of modern-day fascism. Our government has granted hefty tax exemptions to the rich at the cost of our social services. We as taxpayers have served as the multi-billion dollar credit line to the companies and banks that continue to systematically abuse us.
We are here to say that we do matter. We will not be manipulated, threatened, or toyed with by the wealthy. No longer can you acquire profit and political power to our detriment.
These few people are running the world, and they are running it into the ground.
Political power cannot be traded or bought; it must be earned and agreed upon by the governed. This is our chance to show them that the people will not allow this to continue.
We are forced out of our homes. We are denied medical care. We suffer from poverty and pollution. We work long hours just to stay afloat, while the 1% reap benefits we can only imagine. Our sworn enemy is the corrupted corporation. –We are the 99%.
You have complained that something needs to be done. You now have an opportunity to make a difference.
Join the protests. Organize your own. Watch online. Be a part of the movement.
This is our movement. This is your moment.
Together, make history.
Vox Populi, Vox Anon.
The Voice of The People is the Voice of Anonymous.
The voice of the weak that are unable to speak. The voice of those strong who are enslaved.
We are your voice. We are the 99%.
We do not forgive corruption. We do not forget mistreatment.
Wall Street, Expect us.
The video contains instructions of how to join in on the mass DDOS attack on the NYSE website and URLs where certain software required to participate can be obtained
I think this sounds cool and all, but all things in cyberspace being equal, and with Anonymous being, um, anonymous, how would or could the public ever know that this is really a message from Anonymous. Right? Right (That’s sort of the point, I suppose).
This message was posted on Pastebin soon after the tape was released and went viral:
Citizens of the world
We are Anonymous! Recently something very disturbing has come to our attention. You must take all notices and information claiming to be ‘Anonymous’ with a grain of salt. Consider EVERYTHING.
Operation Invade Wall Street is bullshit! It is a fake planted operation by law enforcement and cyber crime agencies in order to get you to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement. It proposes you use depreciated tools that have known flaws such as LOIC.
Anonymous would never tell you to use LOIC - Not after the arrests and failures of Operation Payback.
Anonymous wouldn’t attack NYSE on a HOLIDAY - It is debatable if Anonymous would ever even attack NYSE.
Be wary friends!
Keep your wits about you. If you’re a computer whiz, don’t let your “revolutionary” enthusiasm or a hot head get you into deep trouble. Make sure you know WHAT you are doing and WHO you are doing it WITH. As we saw with last week’s “Radiohead are coming!” rumor, there’s going to be quite a bit of disinformation being spread by both sides and for various reasons. The idea that this could be a law enforcement scheme to snare “anti-social” hackers should give pause to anyone considering taking part. To be clear, I’m not saying that I have any inside information, because I don’t. Certainly not trying to be a party pooper, either. However, I do feel that something rings true in the supposed Anonymous disavowal.
File this under “Take with a grain of salt”: Tea Party Nation founder, Judson Phillips claims that ‘Anonymous’ is harassing his group by asking supporters to register at the their website and post porn and offensive images culled from Encyclopædia Dramatica. In an “urgent message” Phillips told members:
So far, Anonymous’ attacks have been mostly of the juvenile nature. They have been coming online, posing as Tea Party members and posting racist messages. Those are being deleted quickly. Two nights ago, one of them posted extremely graphic and disturbing pornographic pictures. We discovered it and quickly deleted them. They then sent a suspended message saying, “expect us.”
Phillips posted the above graphic as “proof” that the attacks were emanating from the Anonymous hive, but so far AnonNews has mentioned nothing of the supposed attack or of a “Project Reaganomics.” Not saying it didn’t happen, but this could just as well be a PR ploy by Tea partiers looking to gin up a fight. With the unrest in Wisconsin and the catastrophe in Japan, maybe Phillips and his Teabagger crew are just feeling forgotten and trolling for some attention like famewhore weirdos, the Westboro Baptist Church were recently exposed doing? How very UN-original.
Phillips would not reveal his sources in an interview with TPM, but says he had heard that ‘Anonymous’ was planning to target Tea Party Nation - when he saw the graphic he says it seemed to confirm his suspicions.
He allowed that the graphic could have been fake, but added that it’s from a “source I trust,” and that “based on other information we had, we don’t think so.”
“My belief based on information we have received is that this comes from somebody associated with that group,” Phillips said. He added: “If they believe in free speech, why are they trying to shut down those who disagree with them?”
‘Anonymous’ has taken down other conservative, supposedly grassroots websites. This month, they attacked Club For Growth and Americans For Prosperity in response to the Wisconsin protests.
“Hello, Anonymous calling for the enemies of democracy. Are the Koch Brothers in?”
This warms my Trotskyite heart: After posting the following “open letter” to Koch Industries, effectively putting them on notice and asking the American and European population to stop buying their products, the politically motivated hackers of “Anonymous” have already begun to make good on their threat, as last night and this morning the Koch-supported rightwing political organization, Americans for Prosperity’s website was knocked offline several times. If an elite hacker was able to get into the intranet of Koch Industries, they could probably really disrupt their business for a few days. Let’s hope they cause maximum chaos for these evil bloodsuckers. (I hope Fox News is next. THAT would be the best thing ever, wouldn’t it?)
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Citizens of the United States of America,
It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch—the billionaire owners of Koch Industries—have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.
Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch’s have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state’s power supplies.
The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating ‘grassroots’ organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers’ political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.
Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse - is complicit in these attacks. We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries’ paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.
U.S. Product Boycott List
Vanity Fair [not the magazine, the napkins and “classy” paper plates -RM]
European Product Boycott List
Lotus / Lotus Soft
Okay Ktchen Towels
To identify these brands, please look for the following logo anywhere on the packaging:
We are Legion I We do not forgive I We do not forget I Expect us
Happy to say that I don’t think I’ve ever bought any products manufactured by Koch Industries. I wouldn’t wipe my ass with them. Literally!
Update: “A source from Anonymous confronts Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church, calling the supposed letter sent to Westboro by Anonymous a hoax, and then proceeds to hack the Westboro Baptist Church website during the interview.”