Relations between police and protesters at the OccupyWallStreet protest have ranged from flat-out violent. Until now, less visible, more digitally destructive portions of groups supporting the Occupation – hactivist group Anonymous, specifically – have been pretty quiet, perhaps to avoid raising tensions that could get more protesters batoned, pepper-sprayed or arrested.
That ended Friday, when Anonymous spinoff group AntiSec posted more than 600 MB of personal data about police in Boston – which supports a largish, almost entirely peaceful Occupation – and Birmingham, Ala.
There is an Occupation in Birmingham, but not one large, active or consistent enough to need a lot of defending by AntiSec. Birmingham's cops got doxed in apparent retaliation for having been a center of violent protest against racial desegregation – 50 years ago.
The data dump also includes information about members of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) – a police professional organization whose annual conference began Friday, just hours after the first wave of postings from what one Anon termed a "data extraction."
In solidarity with the Occupation Movement and the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality, allied #anonymous and #antisec vessels took aim at the corrupt bootboys of the 1%: the police. –AntiSec press release Oct 22, 2011
The organization is up now, but was down all weekend due to attacks from members of AntiSec/Anonymous.
According to an AntiSec press release posted on hacker dump site Pastebin and reposted at least once to a different file on the same site, AntiSec has spent months hacking various unnamed police departments, the IACP and at least one consulting group that works for local police departments, collecting internal department documents from several police departments, membership rosters, addresses, passwords, social security numbers and other private data.
Public service, private data
The first wave of postings included a list of names and passwords from the Boston Police Patrolman's Association – attacked in retaliation for the arrest of 100 protesters two weeks ago.
That and data from IACP are only a teaser – a bit of foreshadowing designed to whet the appetites of those who want to see the info and put a little fear into those who don't, according to an Anon identified as "DMC" in a posting from DailyDot.
The attacks and upcoming revelations of private data that could expose the families of police officers to fraud and identity theft are a way to strike back at police for the beatings, arrests and abuse of the past five weeks of protests in New York City, according to the AntiSec press release.
Doxed the cops; now declare war on pervs
In an odd bit of timing that shows the Janus-like two-facedness of Anonymous, the collective attacked an underground forum called the Lolita Forum – a "darknet" – a set of sites hidden from most users through the TOR anonymous-use network.
TOR is mainly designed to aid those in countries with authoritarian governments to avoid persecution for their choice of reading material or publicly posted opinions. Its main service is anonymous-proxy-surfing, which makes it appear as if a user's location is that of the proxy server, not his or her actual location or IP address.
TOR allows for anonymous web hosting as well as web browsing.
That gives entities like Lolita Forum and other online child-porn trading rings some protection, but not enough to keep the Dutch from taking down four other child-porn forums that were also on TOR, according to Gawker.
"We have been targeting them in secret for a while now, taking down their servers as much as possible," one hacker named Arson told us in a chat. "We decided to seek media attention for this operation so that we may get the resources needed to shut them down on a more permanent basis." – Gawker, Oct. 21, 2011.
Anonymi joined the members-only forum to upload clips of "To Catch a Predator" the pedophile-baiting gotcha-TV reality show, labeled as child porn and posted more than 1,500 usernames from the site, according to the press release announcing the attacks.
AntiSec also declared war on Freedom Hosting, which hosts Lolita Forum and Lolita City and "the host of the largest collection of child pornography on the internet," according to the #OpDarknet press release.
According to Anonymi, OpDarknet crashed Freedom Hosting repeatedly and continues to do so.
This particular group of Anonymi also promised to attack and suppress any other site hosting what it considers child porn, though it's not clear what it means by that or how far it will go in pursuing or attacking child-porn rings that have been a primary target of local and national law enforcement for years, with little permanent result.
By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100GB of child pornography
We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting's server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.
------------------------Our demands are simple. Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target. – AntiSec/OpDarknet Oct 22, 2011
Hope all that personal data they posted won't distract or take off the streets any of the cops who would be doing the arresting if OpDarknet wanted to do more than down a few servers.
It'd be awkward to chase a bunch of cockroaches out of the dark and have no one around to step on them.
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.