Last week NATO's General Rapporteur Lord Jopling produced a draft report for the Parliamentary Assembly which stated that the rogue hacktivist group known as Anonymous "could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files."
"It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted," the report stated.
Anonymous has responded in kind to the NATO threats with an explanation of their operational intentions, as well as some veiled threats of their own.
An Anonymous press release states in part that the collective does "not wish to threaten anybody's way of life. We do not wish to dictate anything to anybody. We do not wish to terrorize any nation."
Anonymous attempts to position themselves as a sort of 'people's watchdog' group seeking to blow the whistle on covert operations and what the group characterizes as illegal activities by government entities:
"If the government must break the rules, they must also be willing to accept the democratic consequences of this at the ballot box. We do not accept the current status quo whereby a government can tell one story to the people and another in private. Dishonesty and secrecy totally undermine the concept of self rule. How can the people judge for whom to vote unless they are fully aware of what policies said politicians are actually pursuing?"
The statement goes on to make the point that it is not the disclosures themselves made by Anonymous and other whistleblower groups such as WikiLeaks that are scandalous, but the revelations of surreptitious activities on the part of government agencies and affiliated private companies that are the real headline makers:
"The government makes the law. This does not give them the right to break it. If the government was doing nothing underhand or illegal, there would be nothing "embarassing" about Wikileaks revelations, nor would there have been any scandal emanating from HBGary. The resulting scandals were not a result of Anonymous' or Wikileaks' revelations, they were the result of the CONTENT of those revelations. And responsibility for that content can be laid solely at the doorstep of policymakers who, like any corrupt entity, naively believed that they were above the law and that they would not be caught."
The press release concludes with Anonymous issuing their own warning to NATO and other government entities, stating: "Finally, do not make the mistake of challenging Anonymous. Do not make the mistake of believing you can behead a headless snake. If you slice off one head of Hydra, ten more heads will grow in its place. If you cut down one Anon, ten more will join us purely out of anger at your trampling of dissent."
Among other activities, Anonymous had recently launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website with mixed success, as well as targeting Sony with a DDoS attack campaign in early April. Anonymous is also known for having breached the systems of HBGary Federal and for target DDoS attacks against the RIAA over copyright enforcement issues.
Previously, Anonymous gained attention for DDoS attacks against PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, PostFinance Bank, Amazon, Bank of America and others who had halted business relations with WikiLeaks.