Anonymous Exposed: Hacker Group Infiltrated, Chat Logs Leaked

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Late last week Gawker posted a story outing correspondence between users thought to be "leadership" members of the internet hacker and activist group Anonymous, one previously referred to in the press as non-hierarchical. In the chat logs, a clear chief can be seen giving orders to his fellow "anons" as the small group takes credit for hacking the emails of computer security firm HBGary and ravaging the security of Gawker.com back in December. The chat logs have since been revealed in full, leaked to the press by both dissident Anonymous members and journalists working to learn more about the group. With its profile raised amid fervent support for Julian Assange's WikiLeaks and rebellion in the Middle East, plus battles with the Westboro Church and appearances on The Colbert Report, Anonymous is having something of a moment. But for a secretive group working illegally, that may not be a good thing.

Anonymous was born of the chaotic message board 4chan, which not only received an in-depth profile in the April issue of Vanity Fair, but will also be the subject of a book announced this afternoon by a young New York City writer. The sect known now as Anonymous broke away in 2008 after a much-lauded attack on Scientology and has since exploded, resulting in both a spate of media coverage and attention from law enforcement, which arrested a few (usually teenage) hackers worldwide.

But never has the group been exposed like in the recent Gawker post, which uses internal chat logs from a channel called #HQ, where a few key members discuss future attacks, debate how they should handle the media coverage and congratulate one another on a jobs well done. The discussions corroborate facts long known by outsiders, but they also clear the air on some misconceptions, like the aforementioned leadership claims, and the belabored point that Gnosis, the group that took down Gawker, is in fact Anonymous-affiliated.

In its support of WikiLeaks, Anonymous has worked to crash the websites of PayPal, Mastercard and anyone else hindering Assange's operation. But for their part, WikiLeaks has always worked to keep their distance from the hackers, a relationship further complicated in the leaked chats, where an Anonymous member is revealed as also being a WikiLeaks volunteer.

In a distinctly un-Gawker move, the site opted not to publish the real identities of the users in the chat, provided by the Anonymous defectors, because they "couldn't connect the handles to the names provided with any certainty." Still, the FBI reportedly has the same information, so a doomsday could be looming for the group.

"The bastards are becoming arrogant sociopaths," said one dissenting Anonymous member to Gawker, justifying his leaks. "Acting first, not thinking of the consequences. They're recruiting children. I am a pretty far left person -- I believe in privacy and free expression, but Anonymous is a vigilante group now. A mob without conscience. And I worry they will radicalize even more. In short, I believe they're on their way to becoming a genuine threat."

If they're as amorphous as they've always claimed to be, Anonymous will easily weather any coming crackdowns and their new, higher profile. But if efforts are more concentrated, as these leaked conversations indicate, they might just be battening down the hatches. For now.

The full chat logs are available here. For more reading on the group, check the links below:

Inside Anonymous' Secret War Room [Gawker]
4chan's Chaos Theory [Vanity Fair]
Statement On The Exposure Of Anonymous Hackers By Gawker [Producer Matthew]

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]

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31 comments
Nick
Nick

i will be back tomorrow around 4:30-N


Nick
Nick

is this site dead or is everyone just asleep-N


Nick
Nick

i want to join or follow or whatever how can i do so-N


Anon12345
Anon12345

Anonymous doesn't have leaders simply several people sharing the common goal against scientology. They can't be stopped by arresting people because there will be more people to take there place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...If that isn't enough then i don't know what is. The group can't be stopped and they are some of the most influential people in the world. 

Christina Sutcliff Schrott
Christina Sutcliff Schrott

I love how idoits like this believe they can destroy Anon. You can't, their are anonymous members that probably work for these guy and they have no idea XD 

MarcusW
MarcusW

actually anon is everywhere its everything and everyone...they are in your universities they are also in your neighborhoods, they read your energy meters and they work at the stores you shop at...anon exists and can never die....anon is an idea something in which u cannot kill 

Anonymouse
Anonymouse

Lawl, sekrit internet club is rulan teh worldz. Seriously though, it's not that big of a deal. The Media Coverage is only worsening the issue. . .

Guest
Guest

Anonymous is nothing more then a bunch entities for the elitists to hide behind. The real fear comes from an entity known as Ultimate or also known as the man behind the curtain. Of course for those who can't figure it out it's best they not know.

Ssgdelta
Ssgdelta

fuck them anon punk ass bitches hiding behind their computers.......they want to fight for the poeple step into the light you bitches like the rest of us....and come on hacking the ps3 now wtf.....you're sounding youre own death rattle since the people wont care about ya message...you are killing their game time in return they will kill you

Alex Cacioppo
Alex Cacioppo

It is very difficult to get to Anonymous people, by definition, except for dissidents like the one quoted. I also could not get to any of the HBGary folks, but I did talk to Glenn Greenwald. Tried my best with this strange incident: http://bit.ly/g4O1Fv

/b/
/b/

This is clearly another attempt by the thugs at ebaumsworld to push attention away from themselves.

G
G

This is a hoax perpetrated by an unstable group of conspiracy theorists/pagans.

fail v. failed, fail·ing, fails v.intr.1. To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately.2. Getting pwned by unstable nutjobs.

js
js

This has got to be the stupidest article ever! IRC is completely open for anyone to join so there was no leak it worked as it should. Also knowing what they said or even the IPs they SEEM to be using means nothing as they are still ANONYMOUS. You think if you were able to get this information that could lead to their arrests the FBI might be able to aswell and they wouldn't still be out there?

Monitoruser
Monitoruser

You always seem to know A LOT about anon Coscarelli. Normally, I would say something harsh about you writing about them. However, I felt this article was well done.

Dickbutt100
Dickbutt100

"Still, the FBI reportedly has the same information, so a doomsday could be looming for the group."

doing it wrong

Chicana
Chicana

anon is civil disobedience. Anon cannot be taken down it is an idea. Anon has no memeber everyone is anon. GOP that kills civilians and claims democracy is far more self rightous.

Ardiva
Ardiva

Anonymous can be ornery, but also kind and considerate. I support them.

Joe Sturtz
Joe Sturtz

anon is everywhere, at your job, filling your gas tank, cooking your food, passing your laws, giving your children health care, fighting your wars. from the bottom of the social ladder to the top, anon is there.

panagiotis G.
panagiotis G.

not true.they have been framed for it.

they don't have the skills for this op.

Jallen9827
Jallen9827

Get your info right troll.. they did not take credit for the hack...

A5h3r4h none
A5h3r4h none

Civil disobedience isn't enacted by cowards who attack innocents without accountability.

Jimmy
Jimmy

Fuck. You. Anonymous can suck a big one they are probably a bunch of wow nerds

Brad F.
Brad F.

They're in Times Square, knocking down rotating stands full of tourist maps too.

anon
anon

@panagiotis G. we have more than enough skills for that op.

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