Aaron Barr of HBGary Steps Down After Battle With Hacker Group Anonymous

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When Aaron Barr, a computer security expert for the firm HBGary, announced his plans in a Financial Times article to talk to the FBI about Anonymous, the worldwide collective of hacker activists, the group quickly lashed out, publishing personal information (like his social security number) and taking over his Twitter and company's website. Then, Anonymous set up a WikiLeaks-style dump of Barr and his colleagues' emails, which could be seen in full, searched and even downloaded. After three weeks of attacks, Barr has stepped down from his role at HBGary. But the issues don't end there.

"I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation," Barr told the website Threatpost, announcing his resignation as CEO of HBGary. "It's been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I've been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I'm confident they'll be able to weather this storm."

Revealed in the piles of HBGary emails were plans by Barr and co. to launch a "disinformation" campaign on behalf of a "large U.S. bank" thought to be Bank of America, the target of the next WikiLeaks dump. (Anonymous is known to support WikiLeaks with force.) Additionally, the emails recommended similar tactics, like targeting journalists, for the law firm that represents the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It gets worse:

HBGary counted many U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense, CIA and NSA as customers. The disclosure of e-mail messages from the company poses a major security risk to those organizations, as well as individuals who had corresponded with the firm.  The breach also raises troubling questions about the direction that HBGary and other Beltway firms have taken.

All unethical -- not far from the aggressive tech tactics of Anonymous, really -- except only HBGary was seeking monetary compensation. And from the government. Anonymous, it goes with out saying, was not pleased with what they saw as corruption, and probably won't stop targeting HBGary even with Barr gone.

HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr Steps Down [Threatpost]

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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11 comments
joames
joames

The actions of anonymous were just as unethical.

And any teenager could publish someone's SS number.

And hacking a twitter account and an e-mail account are no big deal either.

Anonymous are a joke.

Blah
Blah

You left out the fact that they remotely wiped his iPad, hacked almsot 100,000 emails, etc.... but yes, exclude things to help fit your agenda if it makes you feel better......

Guest
Guest

This guy is an idiot. I am glad that his plans have become known. You would think that a security expert would be aware of Anonymous and a little more cautious about taking them on, given that he is involved in such evil plots.

Anlegion
Anlegion

Owned. What have we learned today children? Internets is in fact serious business.

Anonymous
Anonymous

By "WikiLeaks-style dump", you mean they carefully vetted all the documents with a small staff, alerted the affected parties and tried to collaborate with them to redact dangerous information and then slowly released a tiny fraction of the documents in partnership with the world's foremost news publications? Or did you mean "Very much unlike anything WikiLeaks has ever done, Anonymous simply published all the documents at once."?

Danny
Danny

That require a journalist to actually have a clue about the internet.

Robyn Ryan
Robyn Ryan

Live by the sword, die by the tweet.

Tommy Johnson
Tommy Johnson

Someday, I hope there's a published list of all - ALL - the people/bloggers Aaron Barr & his company went after/tried to smear.

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