Anonymous, Occupy, Cyber Terrorism, and Jingoistic Rhetoric

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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Just Don’t Be Naïve: Anonymous, Occupy, Cyber Terrorism, and Jingoistic Rhetoric

Don’t Be Naïve…Or A Conspiracy Theorist

A post from rjacksix, a.k.a. Robin Jackson caught my attention on Infosec Island today and given my past history with him, and the subject of the post, I feel compelled to respond.

The post: Don’t Be Naïve about Anonymous or the Occupy Movement” is full of logical fallacies that assume a lot about the organization as well as it’s followers that indeed beg the idea that there is a darker cabal at its heart.

While there may be a few out there who might fit this description within Anonymous and Antisec, I doubt that the contention that there is larger cohesive operational command and control afoot is the case.

Frankly, the post comes off as full of dark conspiracies verging on the loopy-ness of New World Order that tag the main stream media as a part of this vast “conspiracy” against America.

*blink blink*

Really? You just moved into Detective Munch territory… And, you ain’t on TV, mmmkay?

He starts off the post with the dark territory of conspiracy and then dismisses it as just a minor plot point, to go on and argue the malice against America Anonymous has. Well then why mention the conspiracies at all? You wanted to make a point there but you don’t want to back up the argument? C’mon man, give us more than links back to your own site for reference. How about some other kinds of say, oh... Evidence?

I guess you just kinda want to gloss over that huh?

Anonymous vs. Antisec vs. Other Forces At Work (giving too much credit to Anonymous)

So, the post goes on to claim that Anonymous is a threat just as General Alexander (NSA) says. Well, Alexander did not say that Anonymous was a threat “now” in fact, if you read the comments, he said they may be in the future and that they “could” do something like attack portions of the grid.

Ayup... Well, yeah sure... They could. But then again, so could I and a couple of other guys I know. So what?

The fact of the matter is that Alexander was projecting a bit there wasn’t he? I too have seen the Pastebins and talk about SCADA systems and yeah, I would be concerned that some of these morons might actually go out there looking for a grid or a water system PLC to mess with it.

I am pretty sure they already have in fact, but I cannot prove it, can you? Got some real proof? Documented… Not hearsay on the IRC man. Show me screen shots or it didn’t happen.

The fact is, Alexander did not say they had already been in systems and that this was a problem NOW. He said in the future they could gather enough cohesion to do something. So, this is all quite speculative really but ok, let’s go with it, say certain factions of Anonymous want to do this for the Lulz, ok, they could do it now I think on the scale that the general was speaking of.

What he was saying in the end is that there could be pockets of outages “if” someone like Anonymous monkeyed with systems. This could happen today with a single intruder as well as a group, whether or not they are Anonymous or nation state actors.

The net/net here is that the general is worried about Anonymous because of their actions thus far. Though, he failed to really make the point that thus far, Anonymous nor Antisec have done anything spectacular in hacking nor in damage to the country as a whole. They have managed to embarrass a lot of people, cause some financial pain for some, and others have had lulz at their expense.

It’s not that I condone any of it... But… Really? This begets a a substantial threat to the nation and needs the attention of NSA?

It’s not a problem for NSA on the face of it. It is the problem of the NSA underneath it all, which Jacky does not talk about. It’s the idea that Anonymous could be used for False Flag operations by other governments and or terrorist organizations across the globe. Something he did not mention at all but I wrote about Tuesday.

By this I also mean that some Anon’s may actually play a part in the actual hacks, but, more than likely, it would be others hacking for said countries or terrorist organizations under the name of Anonymous.

There is a specific difference there and once again, Jackson blows it all out of proportion. Does he infer that perhaps the core hackers that comprise Antisec/Anonymous are in fact the working at the behest of these other entities?

No, I don’t see it in his post... Do you? Nope, he just once again glosses over the fact that this could be the case, instead he just claims that Anonymous and OWS have “malice towards the United States” (while draped in the flag).

Malice Against America!

Malice toward America.. Hahahaha wow. Doesn’t that just sound like an existential threat to the country huh? I bet general Alexander wishes he had said that! Look, yes, there are some now within the collective who likely hate the US. Yes, there are likely terrorist sympathizers if not outright members of certain terrorist groups in the mix as well.

However, I would say that on the whole, Anonymous is comprised of witless stooges in their tender youth who have no clue what they are doing other than being counter culturally cool in their minds eye.

Once again Jacky is giving them too much credit on the whole. The use of vile language and humor that is tasteless as well does not mean that they are a threat to the nation. After all, /b/ has been around for a long time and, while they may be crass and base, they aren’t out raping and setting fire to their neighbors homes like “The Class of 1984” I just see the offensive nature once again being spun to mean that they are a “clear and present danger” which is pointless. One does not mean the other, you have to look at actions not just the words Jack.

Are there people within the collective who may in fact be a danger? Sure. Do they have that much control over the ADD masses that are “Anonymous” No. Once again, Jackson over dramatically plays the rhetoric to make his case, a flawed one at that.

OMG THE GRID IS IN DANGER FROM ANONYMOUS!

As I have written and posted (with actual evidence and backup fact checking) Anonymous has in fact (factions of) dropped Pastebins of alleged PLC/SCADA systems. When checked though, they turned out to be HVAC systems all over the country. The Pastebins all touted that this was EPIC and bad.

Well, not so much really from the perspective of any kind of “cyber” warfare or infrastructure protection standpoint. So, once again, any mention of this is aspirational to be sure, but, in practice turns out to really be just FUD generating material for the likes of Jackson or the main stream media that he seems to think are in a cabal with Anonymous.

*shakes head*

What the NSA (via Alexander) was a little presumptive really and it sure made the headlines. Anonymous (someone claiming to be speaking for them) said that they had not considered this type of action and that this was all just a smear. Well, yes and no. I can see the concerns that NSA has but as I wrote Tuesday, I think it is from the perspective that anyone can claim the name Anonymous and do bad things now. Not just that the Anonymous core will mandate that the masses should attack the infrastructure.

Frankly, I think many of the foot soldiers would probably say no to this in the end for fear of really being branded terrorists. And that is what would happen. It would be an official mandate from the government should someone claiming to be Anonymous took out a city or a town by hacking its SCADA systems.

I frankly think that with the rhetoric today about cyber warfare AND the insecurity/permeability of the Anonymous model, that someday this very thing will happen. It won’t be the end of the world as we know it, but, it will give the government the excuse to take liberties with laws and go after “Anonymous” with everything they have.

This is where I have the MOST problems with the likes of Jackson and his rhetoric in these posts… It’s just verbal diarrhea without any real backing by facts other than “I know secret things”… But that too will be talked about soon in another post.

Let’s REALLY Think About The Differences Between Nuisance Attacks vs. Warfare

Finally, lets look at the problem of what Anonymous has really done as opposed to real damage. Jackson uses the term “kinetic” improperly in the top of his post. A kinetic attack would be in tandem with a digital attack. First off, I have not seen anything like this happen. In fact, OWS has very little to do with Anonymous. Anonymous came to their party after the fact really as a support mechanism. To date though, I cannot recollect an actual attack in the digital realm where a physical one was carried out in tandem with OWS.

Fact is, OWS has just made lives difficult by “occupying” public spaces with their right to protest… You know, something in the Constitution? Yeah, remember that? It’s our right as citizens to protest and this is what they are doing. Do they have a real cogent agenda and plans to do it? Not so much as I have seen really, but they do give it the hippie college try.

In short... OWS is not a problem... If anything they are just another nuisance for law enforcement. They are not an existential threat to the USA.

So, once again we go back to Anonymous and the existential threat that Jackson would have you think they are. I say to you all, that ANYONE could be that threat. APT are that threat! Lone Wolf hackers out there with the right talents and access ARE that threat!

In the current modality of thinking that Jacky and others have and this is the fundamental problem. I have also written and ranted about this in the past as well. I am sorry, but none of this adds up to the Die Hard movies in these people’s heads:

  • Richard (Dr. Cyberlove) Clarke
  • Gen Alexander (NSA)
  • Senator (Droopy Dawg) Lieberman
  • Senator Jay (Moneybags) Rockefeller

All of them think that the world is going to end because the grid will be attacked by the likes of Anonymous or China. Zombies will rise from the grave and flesh will  be eaten as the sun implodes! Sorry, no, it won’t.

To really have an attack that merits all this hand wringing you would have to have considerable money, time, and effort. Never mind the access that one would need to innumerable systems that would have to be taken out in such a way that they would not come back because they ate themselves (think fire and explosions) and this is not Anonymous even if they made boasts that they could or would do it.

Nope, there might be nuisance blackouts and FUD would abound, but, it would not be the end of the world as we know it. Frankly, this has been around so long and we have had systems like these connected to the internet so long it begs the question “Why hasn’t this happened already?”

Well? Why hasn’t it? Is it that the false flag operators just needed an excuse like Anonymous? Or was it that perhaps the contention that the effort to pull this off is so huge that no one wanted to invest the time?

I vote on the latter.. AND if someone wanted to do this, then they have been planning and working on it for a LONG LONG time now. They have just been waiting for the day when all of their troops are ready to swoop in and take over like “Red Dawn”. Yeah, I went there…

In the end Jackson, I put it to you that you are confabulating a lot here. I think you might be better served by getting a sandwich board with “The End Is Nigh!” on it and raving at the passers by.

K.

Cross-posted from Krypt3ia

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