At the same time attention-hungry hactivist group LulzSec announced it had penetrated senate.us.gov for the second time and launched what turned out to be a successful DDOS attack on CIA.gov, it also called out the hactivst group Anonymous for an adolescent king-of-the-hill competition that could distract or destroy both.
Hackers are supposed to be fractious and iconoclastic. It's one of the defining characteristics that lead them into that line of not-quite-work. Complacent, don't-rock-the-boat types aren't typically into digital vigilantism and using cyberattack as social protest.
Of course, they're also less likely to be self destructive, and to know who their real enemies are.
"Just saw a thread on [on the 4Chan.org message board from which many Anonymous members come] where they’re trying to hunt us," LulzSec tweeted June 14. "You /b/tards realize that we are everything you’ve ever tried to be?”
"We are the concentrated success of 2005 /b/, being "hunted" by the 2011 furry horde. Challenge accepted, losers. :D"
LulzSec also called "the best thing ever" this Japanese news animation portraying the rivalry between the two as one between the old guard trolls-turned-activists vs. the new turks whose (shallow) intentions are more pure.
4channers aren't complimentary in return, even in discussing attacks like the one that brought down CIA.gov briefly overnight.
"We're important please, please pay attention to us! Look we took down cia.gov, a useless website that nobody really needs or cares about! we're so hardcore; mirite guys? ... guys!?," taunted one 4chan poster.
"Just a bunch of skiddies [script kiddies], using other peoples tools that have a clear GUI so that they can be lolhackers," another post read. "I'll give it about a week or so before one of the people involved gets caught and they all bail."
Some 4channers [and/or members of Anonymous] probably are trying to expose LulzSec, if only to take it down a peg.
The bulk of the group – which claims to make decisions by acclaim rather than following one leader or agenda – appears not to be interested in reality-show theatrics or trash talking, at least as a primary activity.
Its most recent red flag in the face of the government bull is a demand that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke resign for what it calls a failure to restrict the exploitation of ordinary investors and borrowers by Wall Street and the banking industry.
"We must fight back against the organized criminal class ... We must launch 'operation Empire State rebellion.' The operation will commence on June 14th ... Operation Empire State Rebellion Engaged," according to one Anonymous blog post.
LulzSec's flag wasn't just red, it was on fire and tied to a pole being shoved into private areas that are as uncomfortable for a bull as for anyone else.
"Tango down - cia.gov - for the lulz."
By doing it LulzSec was daring everyone from the FBI and CIA to the local sheriff to stop it if they could.
So far they haven't. Until now, though, LulzSec has spent most of its energy outraging its victims, not its fellow travellers.
Going after Anonymous, even if it's just a minor flame war conducted in separate forums, takes some of the focus of both LulzSec and Anonymous off what they're doing and creates openings for law enforcement to prosecute or restrict individual members of both groups.
Police in Turkey arrested 32 alleged members of Anonymous last week; three more are under arrest in Spain for their alleged participation in a series of attacks on Sony sites.
U.S. law enforcement is also investigating Anonymous and has questioned several people the FBI describes as "leaders" of the purposely leaderless, amorphous group that originated from griefer-and-porn-site 4chan.org and coalesced into a major player protesting the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and supporting popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere.
You think either one needs to go look for additional enemies?