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The conference call discussed evidence and plans to arrest Anonymous members

The government just can't seem to sneak around hacker group Anonymous no matter what it does. Anonymous has managed to eavesdrop on a FBI conference call concerning strategies to arrest members of the famous hacking collective.

On January 17, an FBI agent from the Los Angeles FBI office and a Scotland Yard investigator engaged in a conference phone call regarding new ways to arrest members of Anonymous. Invitations to the conference call were sent out to law enforcement authorities all over the world in an email. As they chatted and joked while discussing specifics, the two investigators, named Stewart and Bruce, had no idea that the group they were talking about was listening in on that very conversation.

Last Friday, Anonymous posted a 17-minute clip of the conference call as well as the email sent by an FBI agent to other agents around the world, which contained a phone number and password for obtaining the conference call.

"The FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now," said AnonymousIRC, a Twitter account connected to Anonymous.

The call between the two investigators detailed plans for setting back arrests regarding suspects linked to Anonymous known online as Kayla and Tflow. The real names of these online suspects were mentioned in the conversation, but Anonymous bleeped them out. The investigators also talked about Jake Davis and Ryan Cleary, two other suspects linked to Anonymous.

"We've set back the further arrests of Kayla and Tflow, that being [redacted] and [redacted], until we know what's happening," said the U.K. investigator. "We've got our prosecution counsel making an application in chambers, without defense knowing, to seek a way to try and factor some time in that won't look suspicious."

The FBI agent then asked how much time is considered reasonable, and the U.K. investigator replied with eight weeks.

"I've gone and said eight weeks, if they come back and say they'll only give us six weeks I think it still helps you guys out," said the U.K. investigator. "We have got Ryan Cleary's indecent images, which have been found partly by our guys and partly by the USAF team who looked at his hard drive. So what we're going to propose is that they get dealt with first, historically they're the older offenses, and then that would take six to eight weeks before we then rolled onto the second half of that. But it's down to the trial judge."

The investigators also discussed a 15-year-old suspect who is known as Tehwongz online, and was arrested for a DDoS attack on his high school as well as allegedly attacking a Manchester-based credit union's website.

According to the FBI, no FBI systems were breached during the eavesdropping of this conference call, but an anonymous law enforcement official added that the message could have been intercepted from the private email account of one of the invited parties, since there were dozens.

"A law enforcement agency using unencrypted, unsecure communications is a major fumble," said Marcus Carey, who now works for security-risk assessment firm Rapid7, but used to secure communications for the U.S. National Security Agency. "What if this event was talking about some terrorist plot to blow up something and 'they' were listening in? It could've been much worse if it was related to an al-Qaida plot or this is a lesson learned."

Anonymous has been responsible for several hacks over the past year alone, such as California's San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, the U.S. Department of Justice's homepage, and intelligence company Stratfor.

The following is the clip Anonymous posted:

Source: Huffington Post

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Anonymous made a mistake here
By tayb on 2/6/2012 3:01:39 PM , Rating: 5
Anonymous wasn't thinking very clearly when they/it decided to brag about this and post it online. They supposedly had a clear channel to listen to private calls and instead of continuing to listen undetected they've let the cat out of the bag and warned the FBI about subsequent calls. The details of this call aren't even very "juicy" much less embarrassing. They should have waited to announce this.

Anonymous is interesting. Sometimes I'm on their side and sometimes I think the stuff they do is deplorable.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By icemansims on 2/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Goty on 2/6/2012 3:39:44 PM , Rating: 4
There were no "protections" in place, the password for the conference call was intercepted from an unencrypted email. That's some high-skill hacking right there, let me tell you!

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By kleinma on 2/6/2012 3:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
For all we know the UK investigator (or someone else on the call) is the one whose stuff was hacked/spilled. If these guys had a direct line to FBI internal emails, my guess is we would have seen things before this latest news.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By threepac3 on 2/6/2012 3:50:32 PM , Rating: 3
I completely agree. Big deal they intercepted an email with instructions to get on a particular call.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By SPOOFE on 2/6/2012 6:35:38 PM , Rating: 3
Which just means that the real power of Anonymous isn't necessarily "hacking", but a much more generalized "how to get into someone else's shit".

You wouldn't have been able to intercept that E-mail, nor I. Don't be envious. :)

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Pneumothorax on 2/6/2012 4:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
The other possibility is that the FBI already has discovered the way they tapped into the conversations and closed it off. At that point it's moot.

By umop apisdn on 2/7/2012 7:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
You can only mitigate the human element at best. Whoever created the mailing for distribution probably neglected to encrypt the email. Either that or the same could have happened at a lower level forwarding to some new guy that has yet to be added to a distro list or the like.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2012 4:40:46 PM , Rating: 4
Or it was a double blind. They purposefully lead Anonymous to the conference call with believable breadcrumbs in order dunno. Get something tangible on them about their whereabouts and methods.

OR I watch too many movies :P

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Jaybus on 2/7/2012 4:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that is entirely possible. Note that the posted clip had the real names bleeped out. Obviously, the FBI and/or Scotland Yard already knows who some of them are, but it is not so obvious that they obtained that knowledge in a way that a judge would deem above board. Therefore they have been phishing for enough "legal" evidence to convince a judge to issue arrest warrants. For example, if the e-mail said something along the lines of "this conference call code may only be used by the intended recipient of this e-mail"... then a judge is likely to see it as an invasion of the agents' privacy. It would be a quite clever legal trap.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By nafhan on 2/6/2012 4:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's also possible that spilling the fact that they were listening in to the conversation is a lot "juicier" than any information they may have gotten out of the channel.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Argon18 on 2/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2012 7:55:15 AM , Rating: 1
I'm never on their side. They have yet to do anything worthwhile and furthermore, legal. Breaking the law to act like the Robin Hood of the digital world isn't commendable. They have done nothing but jeopardize US security, informants for the US, and exposed things that have no business being brought to light.

When terrorists are applauding a group's actions because it helps them hunt down informants, I have no respect for that group.

Nothing but a bunch of spoiled kids who instead of using their skills for something meaningful and worthwhile, they try to satisfy their delusions of grandeur.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Egglick on 2/7/2012 10:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. The fact that a bunch of kids are able to make fools out of the FBI, et al. shows that we have major security problems at very high levels. If anything, hopefully this will embarrass the right people enough so they get their issues fixed before REAL criminals (or other governments) make fools of us with much more serious results.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 1:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
LOL what? So they are just helping people figure out security holes? How noble of them.

I think I'm going to rob a bank. Oh wait, did I say rob? I mean "help the bank fix their security problems".

I understand the appeal of cheering for these guys. But don't convince yourself they aren't illegal and unethical. And very misguided.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By mmatis on 2/7/2012 6:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Keep on suckin', bro! I understand you think the coffee and donuts taste better when filtered like that?

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By VahnTitrio on 2/7/2012 10:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
This made me wonder too. I would have kept this secret as well. I could see them keeping this secret, and then when these agencies came in for the two arrests; they find nothing but a sign "Way ahead of you FBI", then the FBI would really be scrambling to find out how such a thing happened.

This of course all assumes that this is all they know. Perhaps they do know more (unlikely though) and are keeping those under wraps.

RE: Anonymous made a mistake here
By Jaybus on 2/7/2012 4:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they bleeped out the names in the clip that got posted. If you were one of Anonymous listening in on the conference call and you heard them say your name, (gulp!), what would you do? May as well post it, I guess.

Well Done...
By mmatis on 2/7/2012 6:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
Anonymous! Keep up the good work against the damnable swill passing itself off as "Law Enforcement" in the US!

By anandtech02148 on 2/6/2012 8:47:17 PM , Rating: 1
awsome, can they listen to every shady deal the fbi is doing and release them like wikileaks. that would be great for the general public.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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