Defcon Conference: Anonymous is here. LulzSec is here. They're everywhere.

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by hushpuppy, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. hushpuppy Member

    Defcon panel: Anonymous is here. LulzSec is here. They’re everywhere

    August 6, 2011 | Dean Takahashi



    A panel at Defcon that focused on the hacktivist groups Anonymous and LulzSec was as confusing, chaotic and free-wheeling as the organizations themselves. The panel included a masked man, introduced as Baron von Arrr, who spoke with authority about Anonymous, but, upon a request from the audience, he unmasked himself as a security expert and blogger who wasn’t speaking for Anonymous.
    The debate was itself a theatrical microcosm of the whole problem of identifying members of Anonymous, or LulzSec, and prosecuting them for committing various hacking crimes such as shutting down web sites. Law enforcers, some who were presumably in the audience, are faced with the question of who to arrest as the “leadership” of a groups, which have (reportedly) attacked everyone from the Church of Scientology to Sony. No one can admit to being a leader of Anonymous, since he or she would be subject to arrest for bringing down the web sites of so many companies this year. That makes the idea of putting a “leader” of Anonymous on a panel a little problematic.
    The discussion focused on whether the cyber vigilantism of the groups was justified or not, particularly when the group attacked Aaron Barr, the (former) chief executive of the law firm HBGary Federal, whose actions raised the ire of the hacktivist groups. Barr himself, who was described by comedian Stephen Colbert as finding a hornet’s nest and “sticking his penis in it,” was in the audience. Barr was slated to be on the panel, but HBGary Federal lawyers threatened to sue him and he dropped out. After Barr, the star panelist, dropped out, the panel decided to put a masked man (pictured above and unmasked below as blogging and security expert Kryptia, who was not speaking for Anonymous) on the stage to draw more attention.

    The discussion and the Q&A that followed were heated. Josh Corman, research director of the enterprise security practice at the 451 Group (market analyst firm) and a member of the panel, said he looked at the sometimes juvenile, sometimes ineffective actions of Anonymous and said he wanted to see the group “build a better Anonymous,” one that, for instance, could take down child exploitation web sites.
    “We could all get behind that,” Corman said. “Whistleblowing can be an important part of our culture. But who is Anonymous? It was hijacked.”
    But then some members of the audience felt that Corman and fellow panelist “Jericho,” a hacker at, of encouraging vigilantism that would lead to a decline of freedom of speech, rather than a defense of it.
    Jericho said,”I did not say that I wanted to limit freedom of speech.” Some of the attacks actually produce greater transparency, rather than censorship, because they expose data that the public should know about. Kryptia said, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Jericho, on the other hand, definitely said that HBGary Federal should be “taught another lesson” for trying to keep Barr off the panel — a statement that some said he was advocating an attack on them.
    Kryptia noted that the cost of hacker insurance has gone up and that might lead executives to enforce better security practices at their companies when it come to handling private information for people. That might be a good thing. On the other hand, the exposure of the private information of people such as criminal investigators could put their lives in danger.
    The discussion about Barr ranged from sympathy for him because he was attacked and had his private information exposed and because he lost his job from the clash with Anonymous. The hacking group targeted him and HBGary Federal earlier this year, eposing thousands of confidential company documents. The group was angered after Barr told the Financial Times his plans to divulge the identities of the leadership of Anonymous. The attack also exposed HBGary Federal’s plans to collaborate with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to target progressive groups with a misinformatino campaign. Barr resigned after that, but he was apparently willing to talk at the panel until he was threatened with the suit.
    The room included hundreds of hackers and well as federal agents (one who said he was from the Deparatment of Defense). And a number of times, people said there were many members of Anonymous in the audience. When I thought about it, there was no way to verify any of that.
    Paul Roberts, moderator of the panel and editor of Kaspersky Labs’, said, “It is all nebulous.”

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Dean Takahashi

    Dean is lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat. He covers video games, security, chips and a variety of other subjects. Dean previously worked at the San Jose Mercury News, the Wall Street Journal, the Red Herring, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the Dallas Times Herald. He is the author of two books, Opening the Xbox and the Xbox 360 Uncloaked. Follow him on Twitter at @deantak, and follow VentureBeat on Twitter at @venturebeat.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Saul Goodman Member

  3. Anonymous Member

    Well...Aaron Barr. What can I say?
    His threat to reveal "leaders of Anonymous" was bogus, he got some names and shit off Facebook iirc.
    His dirty little gleeful handrubbing in concert with corporations to spy on social networks sucks.
    And HB Gary got cracked by a girl who called and requested a pw.

    Barr's still trying to promote himself as a cybersecurity guy. But it's kinda like he's more of an example what not to do, amirite?
  4. Anonymous Member

    Near the HBGary booth:

    • Like Like x 16
  5. hushpuppy Member

    Black Hat, another hacker conference in las Vegas this weekend is giving out pwnies award.

    More here:
    • Like Like x 3
  6. eddieVroom Member

    Aw man, I haven't been able to get back there since DEFCON X.

    Anyone win Spot the Fed yet?
  7. WhiteNight Member

    I see what he did there!!
    • Like Like x 5
  8. Anonymous Member


    KdotCdot KC
    The #Anonymous/@lulzsec talk has totally melted down. Pedobear, namedropping, threats of law enforcement, chants of "tits or GTFO" #defcon

    • Like Like x 2
  9. Anonymous Member

    Sounded fun, wish I could have gone.
  10. Anonymous Member

    Me too. But how could they have failed to mention the WWP-WITP Anon Civil War???
  11. Anonymous Member

    I haven't been in years, but it used to be really fun. I can't vouch for it now.
  12. grebe Member

    Weapons grade facepalm.jpg, particularly at quotes from that Joshua Corman guy.

    Oh but this guy was lulzy:

    Did the author of the article get it? I think not, lol.

    • Like Like x 1
  13. hushpuppy Member

    Anonymous Clashes With Its Adversaries At Hacker Conference


    Posted: 8/9/11 10:13 AM ET

    Even by the standards of a conference of hackers in Las Vegas -- where the mohawked and kilted flaunted their weirdness like high-rollers flaunting their worth -- events on Saturday stood out. That evening, members of the hacker network Anonymous got into a rowdy argument with a pair of security researchers who said they'd infiltrated the group.
    It was one of the livelier moments of DefCon, a conference where 10,000 hackers had gathered for a weekend of talks, workshops and contests. For the average citizen, who looks upon the hacker world in roughly the same way that early humans looked upon the sea, the story of what happened is perhaps most notable in that it provides a rare flicker of insight into the social dynamics of one of the world's most prominent hacking alliances.
    One of the researchers was Jennifer Emick, who goes by handle Ashera. A 39-year-old mother of four who recently moved from California to the Midwest (she's reluctant to reveal where exactly she lives for reasons that will soon become clear), Emick had once been an enthusiastic participant in Anonymous activities. Back in 2008, when members of the incipient movement launched a protest against the Church of Scientology, she showed up regularly to the weekly picket line that formed outside of their San Francisco headquarters.
    But in May of last year, a rift opened up within Anonymous, and Emick says she got swept up in a feud between two cliques. Members of the opposing clique harassed her, calling her house at all hours, impersonating her on the Internet and leaving racist comments under her name on various websites. She largely blamed the attacks on Gregg Housh, an early Anonymous member who often acted in the capacity of a spokesperson and now describes himself as an "observer" of the group.
    Housh, for his part, says that Emick brought the attacks upon herself by doing similar things to others, but he denies that he took part in them.
    Regardless of who did what to whom, Emick watched from the sidelines over next few months as hackers operating under the aegis of Anonymous carried out digital "protests" against increasingly formidable foes, temporarily paralyzing into the websites of PayPal and Sony, for example.
    She questioned the morality of these attacks, with some exceptions, and in February, started snooping around the chat rooms and websites where Anonymous members convened, collecting information in the hopes of exposing their identities.

    She found an ally in Jin Soo Byun, a 27-year-old retired Air Force cryptologist who, like Emick, had joined Anonymous to protest Scientology. At the time, he said, he was recovering from the motorcycle injury that had ended his military career. He'd sustained serious brain damage and lost some of his memory, and Anonymous was his way of "coping," he said.
    It was also around that time that he began to make a name for himself as Mudsplatter, a "social engineer" who made the rounds of security conferences alerting corporations to their security problems by giving presentations on how he'd broken into their buildings.
    Byun says that he decided to help Emick take down Anonymous after learning that Anonymous members were planning to attack the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., where Bradley Manning, an alleged source of Wikileaks, was being held.
    He knew that Anons, as members of Anonymous call themselves, were angry about reports that Manning had been subjected to rough treatment, but says he was more concerned about the welfare of the other Marines on the base, so he and Emick adopted fake personas and began introducing themselves to people in Anonymous chat rooms. "We talked to them, and they would spew and spew information," he said, "especially if you said you were an elite hacker and you could show them a little bit of code or something to prove that you knew what you're talking about."
    At the end of March, they released a list of over 80 names -- mostly of people who didn't wield much power in the group. Nevertheless, the FBI got in touch with them, according to Emick, and Emick and Byun began sharing information with the agency. (Housh disputes the legitimacy of the list, saying most of the names were wrong.)
    And that's where the story leaves off, more or less, until 7pm on Saturday evening, when Emick and Byun took the stage in a crowded Las Vegas conference room to talk about how and why they'd gone after Anonymous. According to Emick, the talk was meant to serve as a warning to would-be Anonymous members: "Don't make the mistake of thinking people can't figure out who you are."
    Of course, it also figured to serve as good publicity for Backtrace Security, which is what Emick and Byun called the partnership they'd formed.
    Emick and Byun had barely begun speaking, however, when a group of hecklers in the back of the room started making noise. One of them was wearing the grinning mask that has become the unofficial emblem of Anonymous. Sitting among them was Gregg Housh, Emick's rival.
    Housh says that he has been in Anonymous since the beginning; in the story he tells, he was part of a kernel of just five or six people who met each other in 4chan, a hangout for hackers and others on the Internet, and first came up with the idea of protesting the Church of Scientology.
    Soon after he helped start the movement, his name got out, and partly because he was no longer anonymous, he says, he fell into the role of a sort of spokesperson. But his role is a source of controversy within the group, and he goes out of his way to stress that he speaks only for himself, not for Anonymous as a whole.
    As Emick spoke, the heckling got louder and more aggressive. Someone shouted, "Would you please do something right for once in your life?" Byun responded by repeatedly grabbing the microphone and unleashing profanity-laced disses. (He said his confrontational style was inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan.)
    If anyone in the audience had been holding out hope for a serious conversation on the benefits and dangers of online anonymity, now would have been the time to leave. The talk quickly devolved into a something resembling a backyard wrestling match or a frat party. There were cries of the venerable spring-break refrain "Show us your tits!" An Anonymous member climbed onto the stage and engaged Emick and Byun in a farcical debate. Sitting two seats over from him was a prankster in a huge, puffy bear mask (the Pedobear, for those familiar with the "meme" subculture of 4chan).
    After the DefCon staff finally called an end to the session, each side claimed victory.
    "They said nothing of value," Housh said of Emick and Byun, "and some of that was because the Anons sat there making too much noise."
    Emick felt that the Anonymous members had revealed themselves to be infantile bullies, and she wondered whether by showing their faces they'd inadvertently helped the FBI build a case against them.
    As the crowd filed out of the conference room, yet another strange spectacle presented itself: Housh and Byun could be seen walking side-by-side, chatting about which parties they planned to attend that night. It was as if they were soldiers for warring countries who had run into each other in no-man's land and were affably shooting the breeze before returning to their opposite trenches.
    Later, Byun said he had just been toying with Housh -- "social engineering" him, as he put it. "I didn't really want to hang out with him," he said.
    Housh offered a contrasting explanation, one that sheds a little light, perhaps, on his personality, if not on Anonymous as a whole.
    "I love conversing with people who hate me," he said. "That kind of debate and argument is actually invigorating to me. I enjoy it."
    • Like Like x 4
  14. AnonLover Member

    from OP article...
    i lol'd
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Anonymous Member

    "Jin Soo Byun...At the time, he said, he was recovering from the motorcycle injury that had ended his military career. He'd sustained serious brain damage and lost some of his memory, and Anonymous was his way of "coping," he said."


    As Anonymous loses credibility in the eyes of the public as being a bunch of misguided, immature hacker miscreants, you realize Miscavige is yucking this up and claiming it is all his doing. 
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Anonymous Member

    Don't get your panties in a twist about the public's generalized view of Anonymous. If you were present back in 2008, you would have already known that behavior like this has always been present. So this isn't abnormal. My experience is that Anonymous doesn't rely on generalized views of the whole group from the body politic, despite the media's attempt to paint a generalized picture to do the audience's thinking for them. Anyone who understands the Anonymous idea can figure out that credibility is based on the content of information we are conveying and on an individual basis from one Anon to the other. Dumbasses who can't comprehend this fail to understand how Anonymous works. Scientology has tried and after 3 years, has not succeeded.
  17. Anonymous Member

  18. Anonymous Member

    I was roundly criticized some time back when I suggested the same thing. I believe it has gotten to the point that putting on a guy Fawkes mask is no longer seen as necessary to protect the wearer from retribution by the cult, but rather to protect the wearer from identification by law enforcement.
    It also seems that various anons have done more harm to themselves with their personal attacks and outing of each other than the cult has. The protective fog of anonymity is being lifted by the very people who have used it to engage in illegal acts. It may well be that those engaged in illegal activity are doing the rest of us a favor by committing collective suicide. I, for one, would much rather have the cult as my enemy than the FBI.
  19. Anonymous Member

    First quoted anon responding to the response bolded: you are about to get your ass kicked with that sort of thinking, grasshopper. The point is to educate the public and right now (unlike what it was like in 2008), the point of what Anonymous stands for is being hijacked. At this rate, the Guy Fawkes masks will have no credibility anywhere, even less when protesting in front of an org.

    Anyone who understands the Anonymous idea can figure out that credibility is based on the content of information we are conveying and on an individual basis from one Anon to the other

    Are you aware of the obscene American Idol viewership? Already you ask too much for most.
  20. Anonymous Member

    I'm skeptical of the idea that wearing GF masks makes anyone credible, but I agree that it's possible that it may be on its way to obsolescence as an overused symbol. Can Anon evolve beyond GF masks? Interesting question.
  21. Wasn't there a rumor that the jester was attending anyone got any info on that?
  22. Anonymous Member

    Look at his twitter feed.
  23. Anonymous Member

    Actually, I didn't think it was an issue of credibility to begin with, but it WAS a demonstration of solidarity to make a point... until a few hacker fucktards stole the meme.
  24. Anonymous Member

    Okay, fair enough. But a lot of people have now 'stolen' the meme, so... Anonymous = GF mask (real life or online)? It could really become an issue.
  25. Anonymous Member

    Hence my post at 11:17 ITT. :)
  26. Anonymous Member

    Ask me to unintentionally double-quote again and I bet I couldn't.
  27. Anonymous Member

    First, who exactly is hijacking Anonymous? Also, please elaborate on the point of Anonymous so I understand your context in that first part.

    Second, are you implying from the American Idol reference that Americans are generally dumb and have a habit of being too simple to understand a different concept like Anonymous? Even if its true, why should we give a shit about what they think? If your protesting and not involved in the hacking, then whatever a group of dumbshits think about you doesn't really apply, does it? For example, Scientology as a belief system dictates that we are terrorists and as bad as Hitler, but we know as a protesting group that isn't correct, is it? So why should it make a difference if another group misconstrues what Anonymous is about?
  28. Anonymous Member

    When the media talks more about Anonymous hacking than anything else, I call it a hijacking. And it is/was my understanding that the point of Anonymous was to inform.

    If the shoe fits...

    There's no point in talking if no one listening. So it does matter to maintain an audience receptive to what you say. It's not limited to honking if Tom Cruise blows, you know.
  29. Anonymous Member

    Okay thanks for clarifying. There is a fundamental flaw in thinking the point of Anonymous is to inform (once again, speaking from my experience): as a whole idea, Anonymous does not necessarily adhere to any one or more set of principles. Cabals, groups, and individuals might, but it is still not mutually exclusive. That is kinda what makes Anonymous how it is, it comes with lacking any management in Anonymous (a key component in leadership). Even if we were to try to apply a set of principles to Anonymous, one could say hacking is more mainstream to Anonymous, while we, the protesters, are the odd people out. Hacking has been part of Anonymous much longer than the protests, fyi.

    To address your second issue about the simplistic American, and I might come off as biased in this, but I think it would be a pure waste of time trying to reach out to a simple-minded audience, whom would judge based on association and misinformation anyways. How would they understand our message(s) in the first place if they are not smart enough to not generalize a group before doing more research? Back to Scientology as an example; there is a lot to understand when it comes to the Church of Scientology. It takes an abstract critical mind to know and understand the information I present about it. If some douche decides he/she doesn't want to listen to why I protest cause the dick/pussy thinks I share the responsibility of Anonymous hackers just by association, then I would not think the fool would understand why I protest in the first place. A waste of time better spent interacting with smarter individuals, IMO. Best not to panic about them.
  30. Anonymous Member

    Thank you for the constructive discussion. A lot of issues have been approached and before a complete derail, I will address just this one.

    You basically say that it doesn't or shouldn't matter to you how the public perceives Anonymous' message. But let's go to an extreme and look at the Westboro Baptist Church. They are completely discredited, but say they are suddenly inspired by divine conscience and really pick up an honest to goodness fight for some little guy. No one would listen and the little guy involved would probably ask them not to bother in the first place. It's an extreme example but not one I hope would be analogized (is that a word?) with Anonymous.
  31. Anonymous Member

    Excellent job by the author in examining Backtrace's key players, Emick and Co., and their history, actions, and general fucktardedness. Oh, and magic spells. Faggots.
    • Like Like x 3
  32. SwordofTruth Member

    Both sound super butthurt, the guy even more for going all battledroid at an Op against Manning being held illegally. And i'm curious if them being out there publicly at Defcon bragging about trapping "anons" was the best thing to do, especially when the woman is already concerned with keeping her location hush.
  33. SwordofTruth Member

    I would go with this if we were out there fucking up property and vandalising it, but we are not. So I don't get why anyone protesting Scientology needs to hide from law enforcement since we all protest peacefully within the law, Anonymity from the cult and also being part of a message and informing without a face or ego still stands. A strange joining together for sure.
  34. Anonymous Member

    I wonder how the anons who went to her going away party feel right now.
  35. Anonymous Member

    this discussion is too intelligent
  36. hushpuppy Member

    more beer !!1!
  37. Anonymous Member

    Sorry I drunk it all, burb.
  38. SwordofTruth Member

    Knew it lol, Kayla is out for blood on twitter and it's quite amusing to watch it play out, and to see people distance themselves from Jen.

    She also put out both her and Jin's personal contact info. Karma ouch ...
  39. cfanon Member

    I really wish I could have gone defcon. I'm making plans for next defcon/black hat already.
  40. Anonymous Member

    Nice shoop

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