Fake threat against Facebook dwarfs Anonymous' real attacks on Israel, Finland Portugal

Empty boasts wear out an audience so they can't hear even when you have something to boast about.

What did you do Saturday? Light of a few fireworks at 4 a.m.? Spend the day getting outside a few pints and stuffing an old scarecrow to hang? Build a bonfire so big it would burn the top off the neighbors tree?

Bring down Facebook?

No?

Neither did Anonymous.

Some Anonymi had promised to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (which is kind of quaint even in England) by standing up for the little guy. In this case, several million little guys who are members of Facebook.

These particular Anonymi don't like Facebook.

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so they can spy on people all over the world," according to the mechanized voice reading an Anonymous press release online. "Some of these agencies work for authoritarian governments such as Egypt or Syria.

"Join the cause to kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy," said the figure wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and a V for Vendetta Zorro costume.

They do have a point. Right now Facebook seems better known for the many creative ways it has found to gather the private information of its customers and trade their privacy for its gain than it is for that other service it offers.

This particular group of Anonymi – who really don't like Facebook – relented at the last minute.

Or they simply followed through with their brilliant plan of misdirection, giving solid clues that the Facebook attack wouldn't happen, but allowing the media and Facebook itself (probably) to get excited by the prospect of so much attention.

Or the rest of the Anonymi just ignored the irritating little group and went on with its business.

On Aug. 10 AnonOps tweeted an exasperated debunking of what it called a fake plan to DDOS Facebook for its alleged sins.

To Press: Medias of the world…Stop Lying! #OpFacebook is just Another Fake! We Don't 'Kill' the messenger. That's not our style. #Anonymous. – AnonOps, Aug. 10, 2011

The leaders of the largely leaderless group use peer pressure and arguments to keep a lid on some of the more rambunctious subdivisions – groups like LulzSec, which branched off from Anonymous then merged back with it for a little obscurity security. Even the leaders don't work that hard at it. Suppression isn't their style.

"Their" style doesn't include taking down social networks. It does include banks and credit-card companies and cult-like churches and police agencies and foreign government offices and electronics manufacturers and PayPal. But not Facebook.

It got a lot of press attention for that, too. Good thing it was all a fake so people could concentrate on some far more meaningful gesture to mark Guy Fawkes day.

One thing you can be sure: Anonymous spent Guy Fawkes day aggressively and specifically not attacking Facebook.

What did it do?

It attacked Israel, Finland and Portugal.

Seriously.

In Israel DDOS attacks brought down web sites of the Israeli Defense Forces (army), Mossad intelligence services and Shin Bet internal security service, among others.

In a YouTube video Anonymous warned that the siege of Gaza is illegal and that Israel was "justifying war, murder, illegal interception and pirate-like activities under an illegal cover of defense."

Portugest anonymi defaced five national websites, including the youth division of the ruling Social Democratic Party, according to TheRegister.

Anonymous Finland also took credit for the release of the private information of 16,000 people it claimed to have stolen from government databases cracked using SQL injections. It took the information down soon after.

They wanted to embarrass the government into improving its security, according to TheReg.

Attacks on sovereign countries are small potatoes, though. Hardly worth even noticing if what you were expecting was something spectacular and meaningful like an attack on Facebook.

Why try for a statement on the rights of the individual speaking in a global context and painting your meaning on the webs of the culprits you accuse?

You get so much more attention for being pissy about an insipid, unethical, ultimately doomed exploiter of people's willingness to connect with one another even with a manipulative eavesdropper present.

Even if you don't do anything about it.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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