2nd October 2006
Three data intelligence firms concocted a plan to attack WikiLeaks on behalf of Bank of America, according to a published report. The three firms, Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies, planned to "disrupt" Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald's support of WikiLeaks, create a disinformation campaign to discredit the secrets outlet, sow discord among WikiLeaks volunteers, and use cyber attacks to target the website's infrastructure.
The proposed assault on WikiLeaks, The Tech Herald reported, was revealed after the "non-group" of hacktivists known as "Anonymous" gained access to more than 44,000 emails from HBGary Federal's COO, Aaron Barr, after he said he had identified "core leaders" of the group. Barr also said he had information that could potentially lead to their arrest. The emails were released to the public in a 4.71 gigabyte Torrent file.
The emails show the proposal was developed at the request of the Hunton and Williams law firm, which had a meeting with Bank of America on December 3 to discuss legal action against WikiLeaks.
"They basically want to sue them to put an injunction on releasing any data," an email between the intelligence firms said. "They want to present to the bank a team capable of doing a comprehensive investigation into the data leak." On November 30, just hours after Raw Story first unearthed evidence that WikiLeaks held data exposing corruption at Bank of America, bank executives held a late-night conference call to discuss damage control, the New York Times reported.
The bank's chief risk officer Bruce Thompson has since led a team of 15 to 20 senior officials at Bank of America to probe which executive's hard drive the anti-secrecy outlet might possess. The Times reported that the investigation involved "scouring thousands of documents" and tracing computers that had gone missing or were vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The leaked emails also revealed that HBGary Federal planned to meet with Booz Allen Hamilton, the firm brought in to help manage the bank's internal review, a month after the proposal for attacking WikiLeaks was created.
The emails do not show what the fate of the proposal was, aside from a message that vaguely expressed hope HBGary was going to "close the BOA deal." Nor is there any information at the time of this story's publication to suggest that Bank of America was directly involved in developing the plot against WikiLeaks. In addition to releasing internal emails to the public Sunday, "Anonymous" also hijacked the HBGary Federal's website and associated Twitter accounts. Their website was reduced to a single page that said the company was "working with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities and redirecting internal resources to investigate and respond appropriately" to the cyber attacks against them.
"Do I regret it now? Sure," Barr told Forbes Monday. "I knew some folks would take my research as some kind of personal attack which it absolutely was not. I thought they might take down our Web site with a DDoS attack. I did not prepare for them to do what they did." Barr added that he had to unplug his home router because "Anonymous" was trying to crack it.
Raw Story attempted to contact Barr and Bank of America, but emails and phone calls to both companies' offices went unreturned at time of this story's publication. A copy of the companies' report is available here (pdf file).
29th January 2005
On one hand they got governments breathing down their necks and on the other large corporations. If the emails are indeed valid which I feel they are, it shows just how much these people are willing to smear and bribe their way out of a potentially sticky situation when wikileaks releases their bank data.
I must say, some of the stuff Anon has been doing has been interesting, but there's also been a number of arrests on them too. I believe Raw Story also had a document from a Homeland Security Fusion Center in Virginia which had listed Anonymous as a potential threat alongside other "Anarchist" groups.
Succumbing to Madness
26th May 2008
I see their ideals and the idea that Anonymous hack for, they've shown us corrupt officials in the higher ups of the world. However the way they do it isn't as legal as I'd like it.. but If it came down to a decision I'd want them to continue
Worse than most terrible
27th September 2006
IMO, 'Anonymous' is a medium in which regular people can do dirty work for the sake of other people. Read between the lines. I also believe thousands of teens want to be part of the cool club, and thus Anonymous is always linked with meme-spewing 'trolls' from 4chan. I can appreciate when things like this happen, and the only link between people in the real world and the events themselves, is a loosely-defined umbrella term 'Anonymous'. Even just the subconscious suggestion of an anonymous nature would make it harder for the law to act against these people.
Just found a nice quote from the story you linked.
Do you know what Anonymous is, Jean? It's ordinary people. People who awake each morning to a world filled with injustice and twisted evil masquerading as the norm. They're simply a large community of random people scattered all over the world, with no nefarious forethought to their union. Some of these people have talents like the ability to hack, others show support by attending protests, all in pursuit of simple justice.
Thanks to Anon, we know Scientology isn't just a kooky religion but a dangerous cult that robs and mistreats its adherents, and occasionally kills them. Thanks to Anon, numerous animal abusers who posted videos of their cruel acts online, have been brought to justice.
Anon is just people, mostly young people, fed up with bad things in this world, and doing something about them. There are essentially two forces in our world, driven by people: the force to do good, and the force to continue perpetuating evil.
Pretty much what I said =p
Also, here's where I first read about it, mainly regarding HBGary and Aaron Barr's involvment. Rather comprehensive.