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back to article FBI serves 40 search warrants in Anonymous crackdown

FBI agents executed more than 40 search warrants on Thursday as part of an investigation into coordinated web attacks carried out by the hacking collective known as Anonymous. The distributed denial-of-service attacks targeted US companies that angered the ragtag group, presumably because they cut off services WikiLeaks needed …

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FAIL

If at first you do not understand....

....do not use....

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Stop

Vigilantes are not the answer

'Anonymous' are no different from any other vigilante gang.

Whilst their actions might seem fine to some, the reality is that civilised democracies have all sorts of structures in place (representation of the people, justice, appeals courts, etc) to ensure that what goes on is generally reasonable (sure, not perfect, but 'reasonable').

Vigilantes, if unchecked, tend to quickly get out of hand. Taken to the extreme, they take over countries, and you end up with dictatorship, arbitrary detention without trial etc etc. There are sadly plenty of examples of this around the world today. We don't need any more.

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WTF?

What?

"the reality is that civilised democracies have all sorts of structures in place (representation of the people, justice, appeals courts, etc) to ensure that what goes on is generally reasonable (sure, not perfect, but 'reasonable'"

No.

They are rapidly being proved that these 'structures' are more used to protect those in authority with access to these 'structures' for the citizen is being either withdrawn or made a lot more difficult.

Police have shown thier reluctance to prosecute, major 'players' in commerce have shown they hold little regard for the courts and the law while the government ensure that only those who can afford to hire lawyers and investigators get anywhere near the courts.

The courts structure is being changed to make it harder and harder for the average person to be represented. Appeals structure made more difficult and costly. Misuse of powers and Acts of Parliament used as tools against those who have called for justice or just an even playing field.

When access to the law and information has been eroded to ensure the public are kept uninformed and denied access to justice you suggest all is fine?

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Re: What?

"... you suggest all is fine?"

No, read my post again. I deliberately said it wasn't perfect, just reasonable.

If you prefer a vigilates-in-control regime, trot over to Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, Albania, etc. If you survive, you can post back and let us know how much better it is that way.

The very fact you are able to talk freely about the imperfections of the western democracy you enjoy, and that those abusing their authority here are, at least occasionally, finding themselves brought to justice, somewhat undermines your position.

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Grenade

Old hat

This is the very same argument rolled out time after time by the press and HM.Gov.

"Oh, but its much worse elsewhere" is no use at all and like some patronising git just patting heads and going 'never mind, dear'.

'Freedom' is not to be judged purely by the amount of shit that others have to put up with.

That a 12 year old gets hauled out of school by the cops for protesting elsewhere is not freedom by any means. That the recent uncovering of bogus protesters as cops shows the manipulation being dne by the very people you claim that are keeping us 'free'.

That there has been a very loud silence from the police over phone tapping that appears to have links to central government appointees show how much of your 'freedom' there is.

"Put on the eye shades, put in the ear plugs, I'll show you where to put the cork"

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Grenade

Re: Old hat

Sorry about that, I didn't mean to rattle your cage, just trying to put some perspective on things.

I do accept your various criticisms of the west - phone tapping etc - but you seem to be forgetting that unlike elsewhere, our system means we are aware of them, and inquiries are, belatedly, happening.

"Put on the eye shades..."

Very droll. Not that you're allowed to listen to that music in some of the places I mentioned.

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Megaphone

Don't...

Don't feed the droll.

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Anonymous Coward

Makes you go hmmm

One has to wonder if they would have gone to that much trouble had not the mischief been ostensibly on behave of someone the government really hates right now.

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Yes they would

Attacking Visa / Mastercard, or any financial institution would probably attract the undivided attention of the FBI at the best of times. Why do you think any different?

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Happy

Oh, how this makes me laugh...

Not so anonymous now, are ya?

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WTF?

No problem in the Far East - Plod busy collecting New Years bribe money

The end of every month can be expensive for those breaking laws such as driving or selling on streets, etc. in China, VietNam, Cambodia and Laos as the Plod seize every opportunity to solicit bribes - as opposed to issuing tickets - so they can pay their rent or mortgages.

Chinese New Years, Tet in VietNam, exacerbates the problem as the under-paid (really) government employees are too busy enriching themselves - a restaurant with about 30 illegal bikes parked on sidewalk costs about VND4,000,000 ($200) per month. Buying all the needed requirements for the upcoming can get expensive, especially since the government hasn't awarded any pay increases for 3 years now.

The same in China, except that money is contained in 'red packets' (envelopes). Food prices have really increased and Plod returning to their ancestral roots need train and gift money.

If MS, or the heavy gang from the software industry, ever want piracy 'investigated' they actually have to pay the Plod to start an investigation - even more if they actually want results.

So any DDoS practitioners, along with all the piracy shops, are quite free to carry on with their pursuits in these parts!

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Sir

"they actually have to pay the Plod to start an investigation "

I can just imagine the Scientologist coffers being depleted as we speak.

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Scientology do pay the police

It's well known they hire police officers to as security for their premises in Clearwater. Uniformed police no less. I think it's thoroughly disgraceful that any police department would permit this but they do. I doubt Scientology has any sway with the feds though (aside from bribing individual corrupt agents). They could still file a criminal complaint and expect some investigation to occur though I doubt any agency would give it half the attention as when critical financial institutions are under attack.

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Anonymous Coward

Overkill.

Why is the FBI getting involved in this? Aren't they supposed to go after things like organized crime, murderers, gun runners... etc? Not a bunch of vandalizing kids?

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

What do you think a coordinated global DDOS against legitimate companies is, if not organised crime?

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Unhappy

Opportunity cost?

If I were an FBI agent, I would feel my time misusued going after a handful of DDoSers. It'd be like being ordered to track down the local Congressman's missing dog.

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No it isn't.

So you think the FBI shouldn't be investigating a major organised attack designed to take down two critical financial services?

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Megaphone

Sanctimonious much?

The attack was equivalent a bunch of rabble filling up their phone lines with queries of whether or not their refrigerator was running. The tards lost interest and moved on to something else fairly quickly. And the damage, if you can call it that, was limited to closing the website of the companies for a few hours. No payment processors were harmed, and as far as I can tell not a single credit-card charge was lost. DrXym methinks you take yourself, and everything else a bit too seriously.

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Happy

Partytime!

Popcorn-check.

Coke -check.

loic -ch

oops!

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Happy

Re: Partytime!

Which reminds me, my popcorn stash is running low.

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Unhappy

Is that

Is that the party van?

Now the lulz truely begin,

Old Fag battle plan

1) find some cause you don't care about

2) get new fags to do something stupid

3) FBI gets involved

...

5) Profit

Profit here being lulz.

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Badgers

significant civil liability ??

"...as well as exposing participants to significant civil liability"

But the problem is that the companies on the receiving end publicly said that it didn't affect them, and one solicitor in the UK even said:

"I have far more concern over the fact of my train turning up 10 minutes late or having to queue for a coffee than them wasting my time with this sort of rubbish."

We know that solicitors never lie, so the civil liability must be less than that for a 10 minute late train.

OK I'm going...

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Joke

Team Merkins

world police.

It would be funny if they did not think it were true.

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Anonymous Coward

Child porn

Knowing where Anonymous comes from, they're probably hoping to seize some child porn in the process. It wouldn't usually be this easy to find these guys.

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FAIL

@Child porn

Yeah - being minors, they'll probably get prosecuted for having pictures of themselves

The FBI - working for YOUR protection.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous

Isn't it amazing when the IP addresses of the accused are used to personally identify these alleged perpetrators yet that same IP address knowledge is claimed to not identify 'victims' of behavioural advertising data collection. Methinks there is a contradiction of sorts here. Come on ICO - get wise!

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Anonymous Coward

More importantly

If the courts rule that IP addresses can be used to identify the perpetrators of DDoS attacks then the RIAA/MPIAA etc will have their lawyers argue that they can also be used to determine the identity of file sharers.

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Back to business

Now 4chan "masterminds" can go back to doing what they do best - harrassing 11 year old girls who refuse to strip for them on webcams.

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FAIL

Anonymous at....

... not very! Idiots.

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Big Brother

No doubt

they are also arresting the perpetrators of DDoS attacks on Wikileaks and 4-chan....

Thought not.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Have wikileaks and 4chan made a complaint to the Police? Have they passed their logs over to the Police? Thought not.

In fact, I'd be very surprised if wikileaks in particular logged anything at all, for obvious reasons.

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FBI scrutiny is one-sided

The FBI's press release reminder is a little scary considering its obvious bias. If they were also investigating the DDOS attacks against servers hosting Wikileaks than I'd feel a lot more comfortable. Reminds of a time in our history when it wasn't a big deal for a white guy to kill a black guy but if a person of color even talked back to his 'superiors' than it meant jail time or even worse. The fact that we've sank to the point where laws only apply to a select few is disturbing.

Mainstream news media has done a great injustice by only pointing out the fluff and entertaining messages that Wikileaks has revealed. At least the indy news media sources have the fortitude to point out numerous state policy issues that so many foreign governments find so damaging.

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Anonymous Coward

Ok...

I agree that it appears that the FBI aren't investigating the DDOS of Wikileaks servers but:

Wikileaks are based all over the place, not just in America (in fact, I'm not sure that they have any serving in America).

We don't actually know for sure that the FBI aren't investigating (although I suspect they're not)

We don't know if Wikileaks has made a complaint to the FBI

If I were wikileaks, I wouldn't want to give the FBI forensic level access to my servers, which would be required if any prosecution were to be successful.

We don't know if Wikileaks maintains the logs which would be required to mount a successful prosecution and I strongly suspect they don't - I would be very annoyed if I found wikileaks were logging user access to their site.

Taking the above into account, I don't think we're in a position where it is safe to say that laws apply to some but not others. And it's certainly not something to be mixing up with racism, violence and injustice against the black population.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed.

Not that I support the DDoSers or think what they did was okay, but the FBI wouldn't go after a bunch of protesters if they were protesting outside Mastercard's corporate headquarters, or flooding their phone lines. Even if it was disrupting business. They get a free pass to go down hard because it's "cybercrime".

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Not equivalent though

Federal law is responsible for protecting computers involved in interstate and foreign commerce. It's defined in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). That's why the FBI are involved. If Anonymous had chosen to DDOS a computer which was not related to interstate commerce, the investigation would probably fall under state law.

Besides which comparing a DDOS to a peaceful protest is a bit off the mark. It's more comparable to a flash mob turning up and trying to storm an office, not caring what damage they do in the process solely with the purpose of taking a business out of action.

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Anonymous Coward

@DrXym

It's the fact that this is part of federal law that I think is a problem. I don't see it as anything more than vandalism, which, while a crime, I don't think should constitute a federal crime. But perhaps I've jumped the gun a bit. I don't know the nature of what's being investigated, nor do I know what they might be charged with or what their punishments might be. Federal crimes are considered a lot more serious, though. I don't think it's fair to throw common DDosers into that group.

I didn't mean to compare DDoS attacks to a peaceful protest, the kind where everyone stays in the designated area and shout slogans while everyone else goes about their business. I think it's comparable to the kind that severally disrupts businesses. I don't think it's comparable to a flash mob storming an office doing damage.

My point is really that people who engage in "cybercrime" are prosecuted in extreme ways. A lot of the time in cases like these, we hear how a webpage is taken over, or DDoSed, or whatever. The site is disrupted for a few hours, and the companies involved claim millions of dollars in losses. But in the end, all that's happened is a website or network is down for a few hours. Which is a minor event, most often caused by poor security, and no one is hurt. If cybercrime deals with fraud or stealing money, then that is another issues. Those kind of crimes warrant stronger punishments. And I know there will be those who consider the disruption of business to be a very serious crime. We're just going to have to disagree on that one.

I'll point out again that I don't condone this type of behaviour. I don't think what those DDoSers did was right, and I don't think anyone has the write to basically shut down something just because they don't agree with their actions. But treating it as a very serious crime is scary. There are many levels of cybercrime, just as there are many levels of regular crime. If people are portrayed as being "evildoers" just because they're engaging in minor cybercrime, I'd say it's not much of a stretch to say this is bad for anyone who knows anything about computers. You can already see cases in the courts where someone who is knowledgeable about computers is portrayed as an evil hacker. Or you just have to look at cases where if someone infringes copyright online, they'll get charged for a crime a lot more than if they were shop lifting (which most people would consider a more serious crime). Hackers who steal and commit fraud should be seen as "evildoers", whereas a hacker who DDoSes Mastercard should just be seen as a virtual vandal. I don't think the FBI needs to deal with virtual vandals.

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Silver badge

So predictable

Bu-bu-but they're anonymous! It's one thing to go after religious cults. It's quite another to go after major financial institutions and not expect repercussions.

Visa / Mastercard et al probably had log files filled with IP addresses of the attackers, people who rather foolishly allowed their machines to be bots in a DDOS attack. Idiots basically. Whether they are pawns or not, they are still on the hook. I expect the feds have some of the ring leaders in their sights too.

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Pirate

I predict a new version of LOIC soon

which does a better job of concealing the user's IP etc.

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Education is the key

They make mistakes, they learn.

Next time the tools may well be better and we won't end up with a poor game of hide and seek.

It may even get 'anonymous' off thier once smug arses and protect themselves. The game has now grown up from just trying to bitch-slap Tumblr.

Pride comes before a fall but the fall may be worth it in the end.

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FAIL

And how many arrest warrants did they serve on people DDOSing Wikileaks?

That would be none.

American justice. Up there with British (expletive deleted) justice.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

What would you be saying if Wikileaks had handed logs of IP addresses which have accessed their servers to the FBI? In fact, what would you say if wikileaks allowed access to their servers to the FBI's IT forensics people, in order to secure a prosecution?

This is nothing to do with justice being in some way corrupt.

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FAIL

LOIC

Purely for research purposes, you understand, I had a little Google around when LOIC was first mentioned. I did notice that all sites offering it made abundantly clear that *it did not hide your identity*. I think these foolish buggers are being hauled away for not RTFM[ing?]. Whoopsey.

Seeing as current arrests stand around 60, that seems about okay. Kids not knowing the interwebz seems to have led to these arrests, as I assume there were a lot more people using LOIC to take down Mastercard, etc. Reports of "botnets" aside...

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