Ever since the death of Aaron Swartz, hacktivist collective Anonymous has been on the warpath against those it blames for his death. MIT’s Web site was immediately taken offline and defaced in the wake of his death, but now Anonymous is going after a much bigger entity – the U.S. government.
Over the weekend, Anonymous hacked and defaced ussc.gov – the U.S. Sentencing Commission Web site. ZDNet reports that the hack left the Web site unavailable for a number of hours. The Web site has been intermittently down since then. Anonymous also obtained a wealth of classified information that it’s now holding ransom.
The ransom is the central part of #OpLastResort. Nobody knows what the 900 MB encrypted file contains, but Anonymous says that it holds particularly sensitive information. In fact, the group has taken to calling it a warhead, and says it will release the decryption keys if its demands for legal reform are not met.
Here’s the statement that comes with the “Anonymous Warhead:”
Citizens of the world,
Anonymous has observed for some time now the trajectory of justice in the United States with growing concern. We have marked the departure of this system from the noble ideals in which it was born and enshrined. We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights, the usurpation of the rightful authority of courts by the “discretion” of prosecutors. We have seen how the law is wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control, authority and power in the interests of oppression or personal gain.
Since the release of the encryption information, Anonymous has been attacking the Sentencing Commission Web site non-stop. ZDNet reports that Anonymous defaced the Web site a second time, but this time turned it into a game of Asteroids that visitors to the site would play to reveal a message from Anonymous. There was no new information in regards to #OpLastResort as Anonymous is still focused on spreading its “warhead” to the corners of the net.
All of this is still a little unreal. It’s hard to believe that Anonymous was able to obtain any kind of classified information since the group has threatened similar information releases in the past, but never came through in the end. That being said, Anonymous was responsible for the Stratfor dump on Wikileaks so the group has proven that it can grab sensitive information when it really wants to. It seems that Swartz’ death has proven to be quite the potent catalyst for extreme action on the part of Anonymous – extreme action that we’ve not see in quite some time.
We’ll continue to follow this story, and let you know if Anonymous does anything else. The ussc.gov Web site is still down, and it looks like Anonymous isn’t quite finished with it just yet. There’s also reports that Anonymous may be targeting other U.S. government Web sites as well. It seems that #OpLastResort is going to get far more interesting before all of this is over.