We are Anonymous. We are Legion

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pages: 478 words: 149,810

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson

4chan, Asperger Syndrome, bitcoin, call centre, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disinformation, Firefox, hive mind, Julian Assange, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, pirate software, side project, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

Naturally, anonymity made it easier to do the odd illegal thing, break into servers, steal a company’s customer data, or take a website offline and then deface it. Stuff that could saddle you with a ten-year prison term. But the Anons didn’t seem to care. There was strength and protection in numbers after all, and they posted their ominous tagline on blogs, hacked websites, or wherever they could: We are Anonymous We are Legion We do not forgive We do not forget Expect us. Their digital flyers and messages featured a logo of a headless, suited man surrounded by U.N.-style peace branches, supposedly based on the surrealist painting of a man with a bowler hat and apple by René Magritte. Often it included the leering mask of Guy Fawkes, the London revolutionary embellished in the movie V for Vendetta and now the symbol of a faceless rebel horde.

On January 26, someone calling himself “Anon Ymous” sent an e-mail to Gawker’s “tips” address, about a forthcoming protest outside the Church of Scientology in Harlem. “Wear a mask of your choosing,” it said. “Bring a boombox. Rickroll them into submission. We will make headlinez LOL.” There was also a tagline at the bottom, which was appearing on YouTube, blogs, and forum posts: We are Anonymous We are Legion We do not forgive We do not forget Expect us. This now infamous closing signature, reminiscent of Star Trek bad guys the Borg, comes from the 47 Rules of the Internet. After rules 1 and 2, which were to never talk about /b/, came: Rule 3. We are Anonymous. Rule 4. Anonymous is legion.

Topiary wrote it up and passed the statement to Tflow, who sent it to Sabu, who used it to replace the official site of Tunisian prime minister Ghannouchi. “Greetings from Anonymous,” the home page of pm.gov.tn now read. “We have been watching your treatment of your own citizens, and we are both greatly saddened and enraged by your behavior.” It carried on dramatically before ending with the tagline: “We are Anonymous, We are legion…Expect us.” Sabu stared at the new page and then sat back and smiled. “You don’t know the feeling of using this guy’s Internet to hack the president’s website,” he later remembered. “It was fucking amazing.” The Tunisian government had set up a firewall to stop foreign hackers from attacking its servers; it had never expected attackers to come from within its own borders.


pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

You have nowhere to hide because we are everywhere. We cannot die; we are forever. We’re getting bigger every day—and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many. Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. Thus began Project Chanology, kick-started by anonymous users of 4chan and other chan-style boards where anti-Scientology discussions were held following the release of the Tom Cruise video. I got in touch with “c0s,” an Anon who claims to be the guy who created and uploaded the “Message to Scientology” video, in AnonOps, an anonymous IRC channel devoted to Anonymous’s operations.

This information is everywhere. It is your duty to expose it. It is easy to find. Google is your friend. This is not Religious Persecution, but the suppression of a powerful, criminal, fascist regime. It is left to Anonymous. The Church has been declared fair game. It will be dismantled and destroyed. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not Forgive. We do not Forget. This is only the beginning. Expect us. Anonymous continued harassing the Church of Scientology websites through the spring. They also engaged in Google Bombing techniques. A Google Bomb occurs when Google search results are successfully manipulated by spamming the search engine with specific keywords.


pages: 461 words: 125,845

This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers by Andy Greenberg

Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disinformation, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mondo 2000, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP

Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind—for the laughs—we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. . . . Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. The video received 4.5 million views on YouTube, and was followed by close to two hundred cyberattacks on Scientology websites around the world, in-person protests at Scientology buildings attended by thousands wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and even envelopes of white powder—it turned out to be harmless wheat germ and cornstarch—mailed to dozens of the church’s addresses.

The personal details of Anonymous “members” you think you’ve acquired are, quite simply, nonsense. . . . You have blindly charged into the Anonymous hive, a hive from which you’ve tried to steal honey. Did you think the bees would not defend it? Well here we are. You’ve angered the hive, and now you are being stung. . . . We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us—always. Just who pulled off the epic hack remains unclear. But one hacker named Sabu would later claim in a conversation on Anonymous’ elite IRC channel #HQ that he had “rooted their boxes, cracked their hashes, owned their e-mails, and social engineered their admins in hours.”


Speaking Code: Coding as Aesthetic and Political Expression by Geoff Cox, Alex McLean

4chan, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, bash_history, bitcoin, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Conference 1984, Ian Bogost, Jacques de Vaucanson, Larry Wall, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Slavoj Žižek, social software, social web, software studies, speech recognition, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, Turing machine, Turing test, Vilfredo Pareto, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler

It is interesting to note that at the time of writing now (summer and autumn of 2011), the enduring power of social movements and public action has been proved again, as witnessed by the various “pro-democracy” campaigns in North Africa and the Near East (so-called “Arab Spring”), movements opposing state budget cuts to the public sector, protests against the marketization of education, and the political agenda around Internet freedom and the controversies surrounding WikiLeaks.5 An example of the latter is the recent “denial of service” attacks by the loosely organized group of “hacktivists” called Anonymous.6 Emerging from the online message forum 4chan,7 the group coordinated various distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks using forums and social media websites, where instructions were disseminated on how to download attack software to bombard websites with data to try to throw them offline, and target sites were publicized such as the organizations that had cut ties with WikiLeaks (such as MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, through “operation payback”). Their slogan reflects their constitution as a public: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion.”8 Most recently (since 17 September 2011), the Occupy Wall 70 Chapter 3 Street movement, with its rapid spread to other parts of the world, also seems apposite in its reappropriation of common space in places where financial power is centered (squatting its symbolic sites, to express indignation about the handling of the financial crisis since 2008).9 Adopting the “#Occupy” hashtag,10 the wider Occupy movement is described in terms that embody publicness in a wayward culture of financial calculation and social inequality: “We are the 99%.”11 Perhaps it can be claimed that the concept of publicness has itself been occupied in these recent events.


pages: 317 words: 98,745

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert

4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brian Krebs, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, disinformation, failed state, Firefox, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, invention of writing, Iridium satellite, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, South China Sea, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, Turing test, undersea cable, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler, zero day

You can take down our networks, arrest every single one of us that you can backtrace, read every bit of data ever shared from computer to computer for the rest of this age, and you will still lose. So come at me, bro. You can retaliate against us in any manner you choose. Lock down the Web. Throw us in prison. Take it all away from us. Anonymous will live on. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. Less than a year later, in an Anonymous signature moment, the movement posts an intercepted recording of a conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard. The topic of the conference call? Anonymous itself. The call starts out with a few casual exchanges – jokes and observations about the weather – before moving on to the topic of rounding up people suspected of links to Anonymous, little doubt those behind the intercepted recording itself.


pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky

activist lawyer, Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, different worldview, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

This is a paradigm the lumbering hierarchies of the last century struggle to keep pace with – in the same way that the US army has struggled with guerrilla warfare (or ‘insurgencies’) ever since Vietnam. For me, the masks of Anonymous say more about the culture that neoliberalism creates than they do about the people who wear them. The mask means more than just anonymity, it is strength in numbers. In one of their calling-card phrases, Anonymous say: ‘We are Anonymous, We are legion.’ It answers a human need to sometimes be one of many, not just a ‘self’. In anonymity, people can hope to escape the exhausting egoism of our age, the atomizing force of late capitalism where the pressure is all on the self and particularly the self-image. Retreating into the crowd can feel like a relief.


pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, do-ocracy, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Seymour Hersh, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler, zero day, zero-sum game

HB Gary’s reputation as a security firm was destroyed in what Wired magazine described as an electronic version of a “beatdown.” By the end of the month, a congressional committee was investigating inappropriate contracts by the firm, and Barr had resigned in disgrace. As Anonymous concluded its message on HB Gary’s website, “It would seem the security experts are not expertly secured. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” With exploits like this and its signature use of Guy Fawkes masks (in honor of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, popularized as an antigovernment symbol in the movie V for Vendetta), Anonymous may be the most noted of the hactivist groups. Ironically, its notoriety is due to its anonymity.


pages: 537 words: 149,628

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer, August Cole

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, augmented reality, British Empire, digital map, energy security, Firefox, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Google Earth, Google Glasses, IFF: identification friend or foe, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, new economy, old-boy network, RAND corporation, reserve currency, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, trade route, Wall-E, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

Before he could decide, the auditorium’s projector lit up the center of the room. A massive white blaze of light crystalized into a holograph, the pinpricks of light forming a smiling black-and-white mask. A digitized voice boomed across the room’s speakers and into each of the linked helmets: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget . . . And we are back!” Then the room went dark. Directorate Command, Honolulu, Hawaii Special Administrative Zone So the Russian had really done it. General Yu’s aide-de-camp had seen them on the security camera, and her identity had been confirmed, but he hadn’t been truly sure until he saw them up close.


Active Measures by Thomas Rid

1960s counterculture, 4chan, active measures, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, Chelsea Manning, continuation of politics by other means, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, disinformation, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, guest worker program, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, peer-to-peer, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero day

The folder contained a confusing assortment of letters and documents seemingly sent from German, British, American, and Czech officials to their Ukrainian counterparts. The first document listed in the leak included the diplomatic passport of a U.S. State Department official. The authors signed off with the usual Anonymous formula, “We are Anonymous, We are Legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget,” adding “Greetz to our Fellaz in Ukraine, Greetz to all Anons and Lulz.” Five days later, another post from “Anonymous Ukraine” appeared on CyberGuerrilla. This one declared the start of #OpIndependence. The authors emphasized Ukraine’s independence from the European Union and Russia, and displayed an especially sharp anti-NATO slant.


pages: 684 words: 173,622

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

Albert Einstein, call centre, Columbine, Naomi Klein, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, yellow journalism

Until then, they had never protested anything, but they considered the Internet their turf and were offended that the church would attempt to control what they watched. In truth, they knew little about Scientology, but the more they learned, the more aroused they became. “We shall proceed to expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form,” Anonymous declared in a creepy video of its own. “We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” Some members of the Anonymous coalition waged denial-of-service attacks on church computers, shutting down their websites for an extended period. On February 10, 2008, Anonymous organized protests in front of Scientology churches and missions in a hundred cities across the world.


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, activist lawyer, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yochai Benkler, Yom Kippur War

On the one hand, it is the hallmark of the torturer, the paedophile and your bog-standard online scatologist. On the other, it is a mark of protest against established powers. An influential group of hacker activists, or ‘hacktivists’, uses the Twitter account @AnonymousWiki. Their motto is: We are Anonymous We are Legion We do not forgive We do not forget Expect us. Parmy Olson, in her book We Are Anonymous, points out that ‘we are Legion’ derives from a passage in the King James translation of the Bible where Jesus approaches a man possessed by demons and asks his name, to which the man replies: ‘My name is Legion: for we are many’.143 Anonymous, in this incarnation, hacks into the accounts and websites of companies and organisations (including even the FBI), makes public their internal communications and posts messages of protest.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disinformation, disintermediation, Dogecoin, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The future is already here, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, you are the product, zero day

While Assange, Manning, and Snowden have been propelled onto the covers of newspapers around the world, other hacktivist groups prefer that their individual members remain discreetly hidden in subordination to the organization itself and its broader agenda. One such notable example is Anonymous, a self-described leaderless organization whose members have become recognizable in public for wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The group’s motto, “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us,” manifests its organizational ethos: “The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us.” When MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal all agreed to stop funneling donations to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organization, Anonymous responded by launching a series of effective cyber attacks against the financial firms.