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Anonymous claims that they were not involved with recent attacks on Sony. They say someone is trying to frame the massive international hacking community for one of the worst data losses in history.  (Source: Flickr)
Is Anonymous being framed?

Anonymous seems the perfect fall guy for any malicious cybercriminals looking to attack Sony Corp. (6758).  After all, the group is one of the largest and highest profile hacking collectives in the world.  And they've already attacked Sony in recent months with distributed denial of service attacks in response to Sony's lawsuit against George "GeoHot" Hotz, who posted keys to jailbreak the PS3.

Yesterday, Sony dropped a bombshell that the internet community might have seen coming -- it implicated Anonymous in a breach that involved the loss of as many as 101 million customer files, including possibly 12 million+ credit cards.

But today several members of Anonymous have posted a response saying that the collective was not involved and claims they're being "framed".

Writes the collective:

Last month, an unknown party managed to break into Sony’s servers and acquired millions of customer records including credit card numbers. Insomuch as that this incident occurred in the midst of Anonymous’ OpSony, by which participants engaged in several of our standard information war procedures against the corporation and its executives, Sony and other parties have come to blame Anonymous for the heist. Today, in a letter directed to members of Congress involved in an inquiry into the situation, Sony claimed to have discovered a file on its servers, presumably left by the thieves in question, entitled “Anonymous” and containing a fragment of our slogan, “We are Legion.” In response, we would like to raise the following points:

1. Anonymous has never been known to have engaged in credit card theft.

2. Many of our corporate and governmental adversaries, on the other hand, have been known to have lied to the public about Anonymous and about their own activities. HBGary, for instance, was caught lying a number of times to the press, to the public, and to Anonymous itself (in this phone call, for instance, ( CEO Aaron Barr makes a number of untrue statements regarding the intent of his “research,” claiming for instance that he never tried to sell the information to the FBI when e-mails acquired soon showed that he had been set to do just that; executive Karen Burke was also caught lying to Bloomberg about having not seen an incriminating e-mail that she had in fact replied to just a few days before). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lied about not having seen the criminal proposal created by them for Team Themis; Palantir lied about not having any idea what their employees were up to; Berico publicly denounced a plan that they had actively engaged in creating; etc. There is no corporation in existence will choose the truth when lies are more convenient.

3. To the contrary, Anonymous is an ironically transparent movement that allows reporters in to our operating channels to observe us at work and which has been extraordinarily candid with the press when commenting on our own activities, which is why reporters prefer to talk to us for truthful accounts of the situation rather than go to our degenerate enemies to be lied to.

4. Whoever broke into Sony’s servers to steal the credit card info and left a document blaming Anonymous clearly wanted Anonymous to be blamed for the most significant digital theft in history. No one who is actually associated with our movement would do something that would prompt a massive law enforcement response. On the other hand, a group of standard online thieves would have every reason to frame Anonymous in order to put law enforcement off the track. The framing of others for crimes has been a common practice throughout history.

5. It should be remembered that several federal contractors such as HBGary and Palantir have been caught planning a variety of unethical and potentially criminal conspiracies by which to discredit the enemies of their clients. This is not a theory – this is a fact that has been reported at great length by dozens of journalists with major publications. Insomuch as that our enemies have either engaged in or planned to engage in false flag efforts, it should not be surprising that many of the journalists who have covered us, who know who we are and what motivates us – and who have alternatively seen the monstrous behavior of those large and “respectable” firms that are all too happy to throw aside common decency at the behest of such clients as Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – also have their suspicions that some capable party performed this operation as a means by which to do great damage to Anonymous in the public eye. Those who consider such a prospect to be somehow unlikely are advised to read about what was proposed by Team Themis in their efforts to destroy Wikileaks, and should otherwise take a few minutes to learn about COINTELPRO and other admitted practices by the U.S. intelligence community. The fact is that Anonymous has brought a great deal of discomfort to powerful entities such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Palantir, and much of the federal government; the Justice Department in particular is likely unhappy that our efforts revealed that it was they themselves who recommended the now-discredited “law firm” Hunton & Williams to Bank of America in order that the latter might better be able to fight back against Wikileaks. All of this is now public record, and anyone who finds it laughable that those or other entities may have again engaged in tactics that they are known to have engaged in in the past is not qualified to comment on the situation.

Anonymous will continue its work in support of transparency and individual liberty; our adversaries will continue their work in support of secrecy and control. The FBI will continue to investigate us for crimes of civil disobediance while continuing to ignore the crimes planned by major corporations with which they are in league.

We do not forget, even if others fail to remember.

We not forgive, even if others forgive our enemies for those things for which we are attacked.

We are legion, and will remain so no matter how many of our participants are raided by armed agents of a broken system.

We are Anonymous.

So at this point a few possibilities are apparent.  

First, Sony -- clearly no fan of Anonymous -- could have invented the accusation to try to assign an easy scapegoat for its data loss.  Second, whoever did break into the system could have planted the file to frame Anonymous and throw U.S. authorities (and Sony) off their trail (this seems the most likely scenario).  

Third, a rogue member or set of member(s) from Anonymous could misguidedly carried out the attack without informing the broader community at large (remember Anonymous is loosely organized and has no official leaders).  Finally, much like the possibility with Sony, it's possible those speaking on behalf of Anonymous aren't being forthcoming about their role in the incident.  This possibility seems the least likely, as members of the community would likely have bragged/snitch that they were involved, had the broader Anonymous community actually been the masterminds of the highly successful attack.

Until the stolen information actually starts getting used/abused, it will be impossible to track down the true offenders.  In that regard, Sony's decision to implicate Anonymous in Congressional testimony may have been as sloppy and ill-advised as its security efforts in the first place, as the new unofficial Anonymous press release indicates.

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By snyper256 on 5/5/2011 2:02:04 PM , Rating: 5
i believe Anonymous had nothing to do with it; they always publicly taunt their opponent. This would be the only exception.

RE: consistency
By FaceMaster on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: consistency
By FaceMaster on 5/7/2011 2:40:17 AM , Rating: 1
Ah that's okay, it's back to 5 again now.

RE: consistency
By Mitch101 on 5/6/2011 12:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
Since the damage keeps growing by the day and how poorly the data was secured I suspect Sony doesn't have the talent to know who pulled off the act. Great game company they obviously skimped on the security experts or management didn't listen.

Sadly I see this in many organizations where one bad so called security expert is put in place all real security experts are pushed out only to replaced with people so poor or in such a minor role to management they can out the person dumbing down all of information security. Stupid has penetrated all job titles.

RE: consistency
By TheEinstein on 5/8/2011 10:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect Sony is hiring the required talent.

As for Anonymous... It's not Lulz here, it is serious business. Your anarchy has finally made society hate you. Now the FBI is making arrests, your suffering a perm rep drop to 'arch criminal' level in most eyes.

I would be careful for a minimum of 2 years to get no more big lulz. A single news agency could sink ya if your not careful. I mean sink as in make Obama HAVE to send the agency after you to shut your active people down.

Child porn, hacking tools, and more... They could use a series of legal tools against Anonymous which they use against the Mafia.

just saying... not being malicious here, just sage advice

RE: consistency
By SPOOFE on 5/9/2011 12:03:24 AM , Rating: 3
Getting mad at Anonymous for being Anonymous makes about as much sense as getting mad at water for being wet.

And frankly, I think it's Lulzy as hell. Especially when the occasional kook like you steps up to speak for "society".

By Ammohunt on 5/5/2011 2:04:30 PM , Rating: 3
"An Anonymous Anonymous spokesman anonymously annouced Anonymous had nothing to do with the anonymous hack of sony anonymous souces tell Dailytech."

Thats the thing with anarchy there is no orginization so how can Anonymous know what other Anonymous members are doing?

RE: Drivel
By Sazabi19 on 5/5/2011 3:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
Anonymous has an informal structure that is loosly followed :), lest nothing would get done.

RE: Drivel
By wewter on 5/5/2011 4:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
This goes completely against Anonymous' mission statement. Don't waste time - it was not "the group."

RE: Drivel
By TheEinstein on 5/8/2011 10:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually when I worked with Anonymous briefly against the Church of Sucktology I found that there is a hidden command structure. I have a talent for statistics, organization, and such, and I had gotten a large following and got the attention of the leaders... then they found they did not think I was as good a match as they thought.

Trust me, they have leaders who manipulate the masses with rhetoric and popularism

RE: Drivel
By SPOOFE on 5/9/2011 12:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
People tend to gravitate to "leaders"; people with charisma or the good ideas and the eloquence to present them tend to attract listeners. Conversely, an officially sanctioned and recognized structure, with a leader or defined number of leaders at the top, seems to be lacking in Anonymous.

So here's the problem
By FXi on 5/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: So here's the problem
By priusone on 5/6/2011 6:45:29 AM , Rating: 2
From what I have read about Anonymous, they are not "super secret"; that title gets reserved for organizations that demand tax money.

RE: So here's the problem
By SPOOFE on 5/9/2011 12:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
There are several ways to destroy such an organization that depends on its Robin Hood-esque cover to keep it from being viewed fully as a simple band of thugs.

The only way to destroy Anonymous or any other group with similar traits is to destroy the Internet. No one person "thought up" Anonymous; it resulted from the various technological and societal factors that made something like the Internet in demand to begin with. I'm not praising the organization, I'm only observing. Heck, in a lot of ways, "Anonymous" predates the Internet.

By Motoman on 5/5/2011 5:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
...just watch the parking lot to see who suddenly comes into work in a shiny new Lamborghini.

News Flash!
By lightfoot on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: News Flash!
By Dribble on 5/5/2011 12:51:24 PM , Rating: 5
The only ones caught covering up so far are Sony

RE: News Flash!
By mlambert890 on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: News Flash!
By B3an on 5/5/2011 1:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
LOL @ your post. What world do you live in?

You honestly think Sony or any government is any better than Anonymous? Try counting the crimes your government and Sony have committed in comparison to Anonymous. Anon dont even remotely compare to them as criminals.

RE: News Flash!
By chick0n on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: News Flash!
By yomamafor1 on 5/5/2011 3:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Sony did not explicitly said Anonymous was behind the attack. Officially their stance is that they don't know who attacked them. However, they implied to the FBI that Anonymous could be the attacker.

I have to agree with others though, that Anonymous is likely to be framed. Usually Anonymous conducted misdemeanor stunts such as defacing the website, or launching DDoS attacks. This is the first time Anonymous is accused of stealing credit card information, which they are not known to do.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

RE: News Flash!
By Angstromm on 5/5/2011 1:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
First, I have to say, heck, what do I know!?

Have and do some of those who run corporations steal? Yeah, we all that that's happened any number of times--huge theft. Do some some hackers steal. Yeah, we know that's happened too. Do any of us know the truth about the attack on Sony? Except for those that perpetrated this act, probably no one knows as yet. Can we believe what Sony, Annon., the press, etc. all have to say is completely true? I think it naive in the extreme to assume so.

Upshot. What do any of us really know. I think it's healthy to keep this in mind.

RE: News Flash!
By Uncle on 5/5/2011 1:57:23 PM , Rating: 5
Your a joke. Name me on one hand where the government sent anyone to prison for the financial and banking melt down that they know for a fact was criminally motivated. Talk at the last presidential election was they were going to go after these criminals, I'm still waiting. Guess what the criminal financial situation was so intertwined that if they did the financial system as we know to day would have collapsed. Well look around the only people who were hurt were the people who lost their homes, jobs, etc. Who at the top of the ladder got hurt financially. All they did was reorganize , rearrange, and continued with the status quo. Ever play the three shell pea game.

RE: News Flash!
By SPOOFE on 5/9/2011 12:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
Name me on one hand where the government sent anyone to prison for the financial and banking melt down that they know for a fact was criminally motivated.

I'd mention Bernie Madoff, but I don't know how to name him on one hand. Am I supposed to be masturbating? Because Bernie Madoff doesn't turn me on.

RE: News Flash!
By Angstromm on 5/5/2011 10:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
Really amazing that the article doesnt even *consider* that the cyber-terrorist/criminal organization is *lying*

Actually, Mick does elude to that possibility toward the end of his article. You might try reading it. Let me help you: second to last paragraph, the one beginning, "Third, a rogue member...."

Do criminals lie? Sure they do. Have and do governments/corporations lie? You bet. Do people in general lie? Yep. Have I ever lied? Never. Yeah, right...

RE: News Flash!
By hiatus on 5/6/2011 2:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
You know, anonymous has jobs. They don't need to steal credit cards. What the heck makes you think their primary income is mod chipping playstations? Or that they mod chip playstations for any income. If you can figure out decent mysql injection, I'm sure you have a decent income from real work. Assuming they are a bunch of cyber thieves is just silly

RE: News Flash!
By MrTeal on 5/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: News Flash!
By SPOOFE on 5/9/2011 12:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
They went to great lengths to cover up their rootkit nonsense, that's for sure. I never got hit by it, but some people have long memories.

RE: News Flash!
By lightfoot on 5/5/2011 1:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
Sony left the door unlocked without a doubt.

However Anonymous did target Sony and encouraged their members to attack them. Anonymous thus opened the door to attack and set themselves up to be framed.

Who ever stole the data from Sony may or may not be affiliated with Anonymous.

Regardless of if Anonymous was responsible for the crime or not, they would still deny it due to the serious nature of the crime.

RE: News Flash!
By B3an on 5/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: News Flash!
By quiksilvr on 5/5/2011 1:10:12 PM , Rating: 1
Keep singing that tune until you get a phone call from your credit card company.

RE: News Flash!
By nafhan on 5/5/2011 1:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
Dude... if you do something illegal: you're a criminal. Morally, Anon may have the upper hand, but that doesn't make everything they've done legal.

RE: News Flash!
By Angstromm on 5/5/2011 1:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
That's probably true. But then why would Annon. leave evidence behind that they did this then deny it?

RE: News Flash!
By sviola on 5/5/2011 1:49:31 PM , Rating: 4
For the lulz...

RE: News Flash!
By icemansims on 5/5/2011 1:13:58 PM , Rating: 3
That's true, but Anon is closer to a terrorist organization than a criminal one. If they did it, it would have been claimed. They are, after all, anonymous. That being said, I sincerely doubt they had anything to do with it, as they have a tendency to target companies, not their customers.

RE: News Flash!
By lightfoot on 5/5/2011 1:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
The question becomes: if the attacker was a member of Anonymous, can the entire organization be held accountable? If so, it only takes one bad apple...

RE: News Flash!
By CZroe on 5/6/2011 1:34:25 AM , Rating: 1
One word: Gawker

Your and their assertion that they donot target the customers is proven incorrect by their highest-profile hack to date. No one denies Anonymous' involvement in the Gawker hack. If you've ever posted a comment on Kotaku or Gizmodo before, you were affected out of pure spite. It was not a protest or a benevolent goal. Gawker employees simply challenged them to do it and taunted them. Instead of just shaming them, they put the whole DB up on Bittorrent. Smoothe move, guys.

Anyway, why am I the first here to mention Gawker? How soon we all forget.

RE: News Flash!
By nafhan on 5/5/2011 1:36:45 PM , Rating: 3
This just in:
Most people who aren't involved in a specific crime will deny involvement in that crime when accused.

The important thing here isn't the denial, it's the fact that they actually listed some good reasons why Anonymous (as an organization) probably wasn't involved. It's by all accounts a pretty loose organization, though. Anyway, someone knows who brought down PSN, but that someone does not appear to be Sony...

RE: News Flash!
By sviola on 5/5/2011 1:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
But then, an organization that has no structure, no hierarchy and doesn't know all its members, can't really deny a crime has been committed by one of its members during an operation they were taking against someone.

It'd the same as if they stood in front of a shop to block their customers for using them, but one of the protesters robbed the stores credit card receipts (it has the cc number and holders name).

RE: News Flash!
By sviola on 5/5/2011 1:55:16 PM , Rating: 1
But then, an organization that has no structure, no hierarchy and doesn't know all its members, can't really deny a crime has been committed by one of its members during an operation they were taking against someone.

It'd the same as if they stood in front of a shop to block their customers for using them, but one of the protesters robbed the stores credit card receipts (it has the cc number and holders name).

RE: News Flash!
By nafhan on 5/5/2011 3:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Of course a spokesperson can't guarantee that some member(s) of such a loose organization didn't do anything, but they did bring up some good points about how it differed from Anon's normal modus operandi - among other things. I certainly don't take the above statements as proof of Anon's non-involvement - I just think it's unlikely.

RE: News Flash!
By Angstromm on 5/5/2011 10:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
This just in: Most people who aren't involved in a specific crime will deny involvement in that crime when accused.

Ha! I'm busing up... I love poignant sarcasm!

I Just Lost...
By Sazabi19 on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: I Just Lost...
By Sazabi19 on 5/5/2011 3:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, don't rate me down because I pointed out that you lost!

RE: I Just Lost...
By rudolphna on 5/5/2011 11:32:21 PM , Rating: 2





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