The international script-kiddie movement known as Anonymous continues their pursuit of online lawlessness, this time hacking and defacing the website of security firm HBGary Federal.
The attack resulted in the unauthorized access of private information regarding the company's clientele, and as many as 60,000 company emails have been posted on the Internet by the assailants.
The company's head of information security, Aaron Barr, last week had claimed to have infiltrated the Anonymous network seeking to uncover the identities of those in leadership rolls who worked to coordinate a series of distributed denial of service attacks.
The attack by Anonymous supporters was precipitated on the notion that Barr planned to share the results of his research with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while other reports indicate that the results of the investigation would be made public in a presentation next week at the Security B-Sides conference in San Francisco.
Anonymous issued a press release of sorts that outlined their motivations for the attack:
Exploits such as this attack against HBGary Federal underscore the criminal nature of the Anonymous movement, as well as their willingness to use open threats and intimidation as a means to their political ends.
Followers of the movement claim to champion free speech and freedom of information, but their actions more closely resemble the kind of thuggery employed by criminal networks who seek to silence a free press.
The attack also undermines any credibility garnered in some of the movement's more noble efforts, such assisting Egyptian protesters in establishing communications during the recent state-instigated Internet blackout.
The FBI recently executed multiple search warrants in their investigation of Anonymous activities, and several arrests made in the U.K. were likened to an "act of war" by the group in a subsequent press release.
A free and open Internet can not, and will not, be fostered by illegitimate acts of blatantly lawless intimidation such as the attacks on HBGary Federal.