Anonymous Vigilantes Expose Finnish Neo-Nazis' Real-World Identities
November 9, 2011 10:55 AM
Internet justice has been served, but as usual the debate over the ethics of Anonymous rages on
-- The report initially correctly identified the hack as targetting Finnish Neo-Nazis via site Kansallinen Vastarinta. Additional information has since arisen revealing that the 16,000 citizens who had their personal information published were actually part of a second attack and were not involved with the Neo-Nazi site as
Anonymous is sort of like the "
" of the online world. For those non-comic book nerds out there, the Red Hood's latest incarnation was as the (fictional) resurrected ego of the second Robin (Jason Todd) of Batman & Robin fame. Like the Red Hood, Anonymous practices a merciless brand of vigilantism, which blurs the line between online frontier justice and reactionary behavior [
I. Anonymous Hits Finnish Christian Neo-Nazi Extremist Group
The group -- loosely affiliated with the image board
, which some of its members frequent -- has made Finnish Neo-Nazis its latest victim. The group has released the usernames, real names, social security information, and more of 16,000 Finnish citizens to a publicly available online database. Anonymous alleges the private information was gathered from an attack on "patriootti.com" the website of extremist hate group Kansallinen Vastarinta.
In plain speak, Kansallinen Vastarinta are commonly referred to as a Neo-Nazi group.
Neo-Nazis preach a philosophy of hatred towards people of non-Nordic races. The movement is quite popular in the Nordic countries, thanks in part to the influx of Muslim immigrants into the region in recent years. The Nordic Neo-Nazi movement also takes on somewhat of a religious tone as most of the group's members label themselves as fundamentalist Christians.
Purported Neo-Nazis counter-protesting at an anti-racist demonstration in Scandinavia.
[Source: Tundra Blog]
While the Nordic countries typically have been very liberal in allowing even the most extreme forms of political and social expression, the Neo-Nazis have been under extreme scrutiny ever since one of the movement's members carried out
a massive terrorist attack on the Norwegian federal government
on July 22, which included the murder of dozens of children at a liberal political camp. Ironically, initial reports pointed to an Islamic extremist hand in the attacks, when reality the attacks were by Christian extremists angered at the growing Islamic population.
In July a terrorist attack by a self-proclaimed Christian Neo-Nazi "activist" murdered 77 citizens, including many children. [Source: The Nordic Page]
Anonymous explains its motive for the attack in a
. While it is impossible to verify the authenticity of the post, the commentary does match the details of the attack. In the post members of Anonymous write:
On Monday 31.10 We have successfully and easily hacked Kansallinen Vastarinta website and published the database of its membership application database containing personal datas of some applicants from all around the country. The release is available to everybody at the following URL: http://pastebin.com/ScTSdZPt
We strongly recommend and invite You to check it out. You may find out Your neighbour or best friend is a dumbass Neo-nazi.
We have no tolerance for any group based on racial, sexual and religion discrimination as well as for all the people belonging to them and sharing their ideologies, which is the reason why We decided to carry out last Monday's attack. That said, We demand SVK to cease its social and net activities and dissolve immediately: should it not happen, We will continue to carry out attacks to its website in the form We will find more appropriate for our intentions.
We are Anonymous Finland and We have been watching over You and our country for long time.
Finland is a great and beautiful country and We know that at the eyes of a foreigner it may well appear as a place almost close to perfection: excellent welfare, health and education systems, low crime rates and almost absent corruption, a place without stains, "white" like the snow covering it during winter time. Yet, We know that under the snow lies a smelly, dark puddle of mud that is making it less white, little by little, day after day.
Unlike most of You, We do not live on clouds and We do not believe at all that this country is white.
We can see see this dark mud pretty much everywhere and We do not like it. We are sick of it and We cannot take it anymore.
II. Politicians Humiliated by Published Applications to Hate Group
But evidence that the Pastebin posting's claims are valid appears to be stacking up. After a politician -- Tuomas Okkonen, a Perussuomalaiset (PS) party board vice president in Oulu -- was exposed as being on the list, he
that he did indeed apply for membership with the Neo-Nazis, but blamed substance abuse, commenting, "I was drunk."
Perussuomalaiset (PS) is a populist and nationalist party, which is currently the third largest in Finland. While it combines a mixture of "liberal" and "conservative" beliefs ("far right" by Finnish standards), it is not typically associated with the Neo-Nazis in any way.
Despite his claims of intoxication, Mr. Okkonen seemed pretty vocal about his support for the hate group. In his application, leaked by Anonymous, he wrote, "I am a city council member of the Perussuomalaiset party and I understand your ideology. You have my support!!!…After you hear what we (Perussuomalaiset?) have planned, (you’ll see that) we are both fighting for the same thing…I sent you my contact information. Please do not distribute it if you are fighting for the fatherland."
Several Finnish politicians have already been embarassed by the leak. One claimed he pledged his support to the Neo-Nazis due to drunkness. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]
And he's not alone. Ulla Pyysalo, an aide to True Finns party Parliament Member (MP) Juho Eerola, was also found to be on the list. The embarassment is second in recent months for Pyysalo, who in July was forced to apologize for making homophobic and racist remarks against left-leaning Green party Parlimentarian (MP) Jani Toivola.
Ms. Pyysalo has
that she will be resigning, apparently in response to the embarassing revelation. She asserts that she never really planned to join KV or its affiliated hate group, Suomen Vastarintaliike.
For those unfamiliar with Anonymous, the organization is a loosely affiliated "group without a leader". No one member dictates activities, rather those who identify themselves as "Anonymous" propose activities in an ad-hoc fashion over IRC chats and other communications means. Anonymous members are free not to participate, so any given Anonymous campaign does not necessarily reflect the views and desires of the greater collective. Anonymous has no official spokesperson, though community organizers assume unofficial ad-hoc spokesperson roles in order to publicize the group's activities.
[Source: London Diary]
The group is symbolized by the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, which was popularized by the anarchist movie and graphic novel
V For Vendetta
III. Second Hack Targets General Population
Additionally a second attack occurred, targeting the general Finnish population. This hack included the release of 16,000 Finns' private information. It is unclear whether any of these individuals are related to the KV hack. Some reports have said there is a link, other argue that there is no link.
from the Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at the computer security firm F-Secure identified the information as being stolen from the Work Efficiency Institute (TTS), Student Alliance Osku, WinNova Länsirannikon koulutus Ltd, and Aducate - Centre for Training and Development at the University of Eastern Finland.
The Anonymous Pastebin post appears indicates the attack was designed to motivate the government and various organizations to adopt stricter protections of public data. States the post:
We care about digital security and We decided to see whether Finnish authorities, companies and institutions offer their users a proper security and safely treat and store their info.
Sadly, We found out they never did. Getting into websites and databases was as easy as cutting butter with a knife: all We have used were elementary SQL injections, something everyone can do by simply searching for an SQL injection manual on the web.
It's unclear why Anonymous would allow 16,000 citizens to be victimized by publishing their details. It's also unclear whether all of Anonymous Finland supported that publication.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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