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Palin Hacker Group’s All-Time Greatest Hits September 20, 2008

Posted by cyberpatrol in 4chan.org, Anonymous, cyberbullying, cybercrime, Cybercrime groups, cyberterrorism, Hacking, stalking.
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Wired, 19 Sept 2008

By Ryan Singel September 19, 2008 | 3:04:51 PMCategories: Hacks and Cracks

Anonymous isn’t so anonymous anymore.

At least not after one “member” of Anonymous, the loose confederation of online troublemakers, broke into the personal e-mail account of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and then posted the new password to Anonymous’ online message board.

From there, others slipped screenshots and family photos to the leak-releasing website Wikileaks, launching a maelstrom of media coverage and widespread speculation as to the e-mail hacker’s real name.

For those unfamiliar, Anonymous is a group you can’t join, except by hanging out for a long time in the internet’s most juvenile corners — usually one of the image boards where everyone posts anonymously. 4chan’s /b/ board — or random — seems to be the main hangout, though other chans and IR channels seem to serve as adjunct clubhouses as well. The hangouts have almost no rules —  though using some variation of the terms fag, nigger and jew seems mandatory in every post.

The self-identified Palin-email burglar who uses the online handle Rubico said he got the idea while hanging out at 4chan — specifically its random or /b/ board (NSFW).

After watching others on the board temporarily lock up the e-mail account by trying primitive ways to break in, Rubico decided to call on the power of Google. With a combination of answers found through searches and an educated guess, Rubico was able to reset the account’s password.

Though Fox News famously and hilariously called Anonymous “hackers on steriods,” in large part they have little skill besides knowing how to use a web proxy to mask their IP addresses.

Instead, Anonymous keyboard miscreants combine online Fight Club-like bravado, inside jokes documented only on the world’s stupidest wiki, and harassment tactics that sound funny in theory but in practice are streaked with cruelty. The point? Fun at other people’s expense — otherwise known as Lulz.

The basic repertoire? Prank phone calls, ordering pizzas to someone’s house, flooding a message board with obscene ASCII art. Advanced techniques include finding a way into someone’s MySpace account in order to send messages to their friends saying they are gay.

What are Anonymous’ greatest or worst hits?

The Epilepsy Attack — In March, a group of internet griefers flooded an epilepsy message board with flashing images that caused migraine headaches and seizures in some users. While it’s not certain whether it was properly the work of Anonymous, the assault was rumored to have started on a thread at 7chan.org — another Anonymous hang out — and much was blamed on eBaumsworld, an online site often derided by Anonymous.

The FBI is reportedly investigating what may be the first computer attack that physically harmed people.

The Scientology War — In January, Anonymous decided to take on a real target — the Church of Scientology — which its members considered to be an overly litigious cult. Soon, anonymous pranksters were ordering pizzas to Scientology offices, using denial-of-service attacks to scuttle its web servers and posting previously unseen secret Scientology documents.

They also briefly pointed denial-of-service attack tools at the wrong IP address — which happened to be a Dutch school.

The publicity drew hordes who wanted to participate, and soon many longtime Anonymous users found themselves annoyed with the new converts who thought Anonymous was a crusading organization.

The Habbo Hotel Raid – Anonymous has staged many minor incursions into other people’s online playgrounds, but one of the most storied involved a virtual world known as Habbo — a frequent target for bored Anonymous lurkers interested in ruining other people’s fun.

In 2006, hundreds of Anonymous users showed up using identically dressed avatars: a black man with an Afro in a grey suit. They blocked off the pool to other users, claiming it was infected with AIDS. They also formed swastika-like formations and flooded the site with stupid internet sayings. When users were banned, they claimed it was racist.

The Mitchell Henderson Harassment — The suicide of Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader, stirred Anonymous, who gleefully decided that Henderson shot himself because he had lost his iPod, a fact he’d noted on his MySpace page. Anonymous grabbed onto a badly written message on an online memorial page for him, and turned the phrase “an hero” into an internet meme.

For more than a year, Anonymous kept up the fun, calling Henderson’s parents, pretending to be his ghost.

The Hal Turner Campaign – In late 2006 and early 2007, Anonymous had much fun with Hal Turner, a small-time white supremacist who ran an online radio show. Anonymous flooded one of his shows with prank calls, which then escalated in mutual internet stupidity.

Anonymous eventually flooded his site with too much traffic for his web host to handle. Turner tried suing the image boards — unsuccessfully — and finally he closed down his show after a hacker managed to unearth correspondence suggesting Turner was an FBI informant.

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