Is There a Civil War Raging Within the Hacker Group Anonymous?

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The internationally known hacker and activist collective by the name of Anonymous -- which we've watched with equal parts appreciation, horror and befuddlement -- may have broken into warring factions this week when a dissenting hacker by the handle "Ryan" hacked the hackers. Ryan seems to have stolen the IP addresses and passwords of Anonymous members he thought were getting too big for their britches on the sites AnonOps.net and AnonOps.ru, two of the many hubs the loosely affiliated group uses to organize, before crashing the sites. The infighting comes in the wake of a large scale hack of the Playstation online gaming network, outing millions of users' information and possibly credit card numbers, thought to have been carried out by some arm of Anonymous.

Thinq_ reports that Anonymous administrators urged their followers not to visit the affected sites after Ryan's successful attack:

We would STRONGLY ADVISE all users to STAY AWAY from AnonOps.net and AnonOps.ru, and they should be considered COMPROMISED. Using or connecting to any service on those addresses may put your computer, and by extension your person, at risk.

Ryan and his side were seemingly pissed at the leadership of a few in a group that's supposed to be nonhierarchical: "That's not how things were set up," he said.

But no matter the tensions, no one is copping to Playstation takedown.

"I don't believe Anonymous people were responsible for the Sony PSN outage," said another dissenter. "Even if they were, it was planned behind closed doors. No one's going to admit to that. It's way too hardcore. The FBI will be involved. I doubt if that will ever come out."  

But the main aim of the recent inner-turmoil disruption seems to be to scatter the group, thereby keeping their ideas fresh and not giving law enforcement anything to grasp: "I hope that people will spread out," said the hackers' hackers. "Users should find new groups, new causes." For more info, read Thinq_'s exclusive interview with the "splinter group."



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