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Did veteran member of Anonymous and LulzSec play Bendedict Arnold to his band of rogues?

No hacker group ignited controversy or captured the attention of the tech community quite like LulzSec.  Formed in May 2011, the group consisted of veteran hackers from the greater Anonymous collective, which in turn was born out of the image board 4Chan -- a landing spot for millions of internet-enthusiasts.  2011 was truly an incredible year for "pwnie" nominated LulzSec, with high profile hacks on the Japan's Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) and even U.S. government agencies [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7][8] [9][10][11][12] [13][14][15].

I. The End of LulzSec

But the defiant band of rogues began to crumble in late July with the arrest of a 16-year-old alleged LulzSec member (handle:"T-Flow"/"tflow") in South London.  Soon afterwards, 18-year-old Jake Davis (handle: "Topiary"/"atopiary") -- an even more active LulzSec core member -- was reportedly arrested in the small Shetland Islands north-east coast of Scotland.

Topiary
Jake Davis, aka "Topiary" -- a young veteran of Anonymous and LulzSec --
was among the first of last year's high-profile arrests.
[Image Source: Financial Times (left); Michael Mayer (right)]

Not long after, Darren Martyn (handle: "pwnsauce"/ "raepsauce" / "networkkitten"; location: Ireland), Donncha O'Cearrbhail (handle: "palladium"; location: Ireland); and Jeremy Hammond (handle:"Anarchaos" / "sup_g" / "CredibleThreat" / etc.; location: Chicago, Ill.) all were brought into custody.  "Anarchaos", it should be noted, was a late joiner who led the Anonymous attack on Stratfor, which stole over $700,000 USD from individual victims in the public.

But the highest profile catch yet came this Tuesday, with the reported arrest of Ryan Ackroyd (handle: "Kayla" / "lol" / "lolspoon"; location: London).  Kayla, age 23, was reportedly second in command of the group, contributing key work, such as a vulnerability discovery that allow LulzSec's hack of the U.S. Senate servers.

Those arrests only left one top LulzSec member unmentioned -- its chief, "Sabu".  Well, if reports are correct, 28-year-old Hector Xavier Monsegur -- an unemployed father of two from New York City, New York -- is "Sabu".  And according to an press release by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the leader of LulzSec has not only been tracked down by federal agents, but he was responsible for carefully snaring his underlings into federal custody in exchange for leniency.

According to Mr. Monsegur's guilty plea, filed in Southern District of New York federal court, the feds tracked Sabu to a housing project on New York's Lower East Side.

II. From Hacker "God" to "Snitch"

At the time black-hat hackers of all levels were enraptured by Mr. Monsegur alter ego "Sabu" -- a key figure in AnonymousInternet FedsLulzSec, etc.  An unnamed "law enforcement official" interviewed by Fox News recalls, "In half the world he was a god.  If he thought what you did was good, you’d rise up in the [hacker] community—once he blessed you, basically."

Sabu 1
Hacker "messiah" Hector Monsegur, handle "Sabu" was a top leader in Anonymous and beloved.  But he turned in his own, to save his own skin and protect his children.
[Image Source: Fox News]

Wikileak-affiliated New York area hacker recalls, "He's a rockstar.  All the girls, you buy them a drink, but all they want to talk about is Sabu, Sabu, Sabu.... And what really sucks is he really is that good."

It wasn't easy for the FBI to convince this cyberpunk "messiah" to play Benedict Arnold on the underlings who worshipped him.  But in the end the FBI says it was Mr. Monsegur's children who swayed him.

Recalls an official involved in the operation, "He didn't go easy.  It was because of his kids. He didn't want to go away to prison and leave them. That’s how we got him.  He really cares about these kids.  They’re young [and] he is really worried about what will happen."

So he agreed to play mole not for profit, like The Matrix's fictional "Cypher", but for his family's sake.

From there on out, he was all in, in terms of assisting the feds.  

Set to work, Mr. Monsegur spent most of his waking hours at FBI office facility.  He disguised his location by secure routing.  To avoid suspicious he stuck to his old schedule -- online between 8 to 16 hours at night, chatting with his cohorts, receiving information on vulnerabilities, and coordinating attacks.

LulzSec
LulzSec reportedly operated less like an "organization without a leader" and more like a mafia, led by its don, "Sabu".  Unfortunately for the mafioso, their don was secretly snitching on them.
[Image Source: LulzSec]

Except, now he was working for the FBI to both mitigate those attacks and gather incriminating evidence -- and more important "dox" (gain the real world identity) -- his underlings.

In June, not long after his detainment he received word that his minions were in the process of carrying out a successful distributed denial of service attack on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.  His new FBI handlers pleaded with him.  Recalls an agent, "We told Sabu to tell them to stop.  'It's embarrassing for the CIA,' we told Sabu, 'Make them stop, now.'"

It was one of the few times the FBI resorted to forcing Sabu to blatantly "404" (cancel) and attack.  Sabu told the members of LulzSec, sternly, "You're knocking over a bee’s nest.  Stop."

And like petulant children, the hackers complied, entrusting the veteran judgment of their fearless leader.  They appeared never to suspect his true motives for calling off the assault.

III. Sabu Proves a Loyal Agent to the Feds

On Aug. 15 Mr. Monsegur entered his guilty plea on ten hacking related criminal charges -- three counts of computer hacking conspiracy, five counts of computer hacking, one count of computer hacking in furtherance of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  

The charges could have landed him in prison for 124 years and 6 months.  But his extreme cooperation may earn him a sentence of anywhere from months, to a few years, with closely watched probation.

After his plea Mr. Monsegur turned over his aged laptop with missing left Shift, 'L', and '7' keys.  He also handed over encryption keys, giving the feds access to logged conversations that would help incriminate his cohorts.

Sabu 2
"Sabu" was allowed to stay at home with his children and pet pitbull in exchanging for cooperating with the FBI in sabotaging attacks and snitching on his hacker underlings. [Image Source: Fox News]

As a reward for his loyal cooperation, he was allowed to begin working for home.  He received a special FBI laptop equipped with real-time video monitoring software.  Watched at all times by an on-duty handler, "Sabu" was able to spend time with his children and his white pit bull, which he bought shortly after his arrest.

Back at home, he watched as his lieutenants continued to offer him vulnerabilities, eager to please their hacker king.  The FBI grimly allowed Sabu to carry out attacks based on the information, in order to avoid suspicion.  But the agency says that the hacker was extremely helpful in trying to save the targets from damage, before he green lit operations against them.

For example, in August he learned Anonymous was preparing to attack 70 police agencies that used a Missouri hosting company.  He worked with the serving company to explain and try to mitigate the vulnerabilities his colleagues had discovered.  The ISP was just one out 300 global government agencies and private sector business that Mr. Monsegur, under FBI guidance, secretly helped to protect.

The efforts didn't always work.  In order to protect their star witness, the FBI grimly watched as a handful of "Op Antisec" attacks succeeded with startling results.

IV. Guilty Hacker Helped Mitigate Financial Impact of His Underlings Attacks

Sabu also worked with federal agents to fact checking his subordinates attack claims.  For example, if one of them stated that they hacked Sony, he would verify the exact extent of the damage, as some attacks proved worthless dead ends, from a damage perspective, but could still swing a major corporations stock value by millions of dollars if a non-expert public took the information out of context and panicked.

Hackers didn't seem to realize his true motive in posting this information was not to spread the glory of Anonymous and LulzSec, but rather to mitigate the damage to their victims.  Likewise the FBI allowed him to post carefully engineered comments to Twitter and give carefully worded press interviews.  The interviews were designed to both dupe the media into believe that Sabu was still black hat (to protect his cover) and to lull (pun) his teammates into a false sense of security.

Prison bars
"Sabu" helped provide the FBI with the evidence needed to put over a half-dozen or more of his colleagues behind bars. [Image Source: AP]

In the end the scheme worked -- nearly every single member of LulzSec has been arrested, as well as dozens of members of Anonymous.

V. Why Sabu's Betrayal is No Great Surprise, and What it Means

Back at the start of Aug. 2011, contemplating the possibility that tflow could be a turncoat, I wrote:

The question of how police tracked Mr. Davis to the remote Shetland Islands remains a compelling one, particularly when he had seemingly been doing such a solid job in avoiding being doxed. 
....
This possibility is interesting, as betrayal from friends is one of the most common ways savvy hackers have been caught in the past.  For all their hard work to obfuscate their true identity, it can all be for naught if a trusted colleague starts to sing as part of a plea deal.

That statement proved fortuitous.

Now as we look back on the crazy story of Sabu, his betrayal, and the fall of LulzSec, we turn to examine what impact this all will have on both Mr. Monsegur, his cohorts, and the hacker communit/Anonymous.

i. Impact on the Reputation of "Sabu"

The FBI is crowing about the victory.  Says one source, "[The international charges] are devastating to [LulzSec].  We're chopping off the head."

For Mr. Monsegur the unsealed testimony and new arrests almost certainly will seal his new status as the world’s most hated hacker in the black hat community.  Comments one source, "You might be a messiah in the hacking community but you’re still a rat."

While some may disavow the developments and cry conspiracy or commiserate with Mr. Monsegur's noble instinct to protect his children, most who buy the story will likely gain a newfound hate for their once-messiah, a hatred as black as their metaphorical hats.  The community does not take kindly to former hackers who cooperate with federal agents to turn in young rogues -- just ask Adrian Lamo, who turned in Wikileaks informant Bradley Manning and for doing so received death threats and the titles of "snitch" and "world's most hated hacker".  

Now Mr. Lamo may pass on the latter distinction to Sabu.  In fact, the community may find a new level of revulsion at the actions of Sabu, given that unlike Mr. Lamo, he did not (at least at first) approach the feds out of his own vindications and heartfelt beliefs -- rather he "snitched" to save his own skin.

ii. Impact on the Arrested

For Mr. Monsegur's cohorts, they will inevitably be held up as martyrs to the "evil" of the U.S. government and global corporations.  Most face 5-10 years in prison, with Kayla potentially facing a longer sentence.

Ultimately other hackers have been in individuals like Mr. Ackeroyd's shoes -- facing spending their late twenties in federal prison after a youthful spree of rebellious hacking.  And invariably, yet more individuals to come will find themselves in this familiar position.  

Judging by past cases, most of these hackers go on to become productive citizens, many of whom end up working as security consultants for the government/businesses, or working as journalists.

The damage done by LulzSec is estimated by the FBI and others to be somewhere in the billions of dollars range.  While they may not admit it, many of these individuals may look back at this dubious distinction with a degree of pride, even as they clean up and go on to more noble pursuits.

iii. Impact on Anonymous

And speaking of pride, there are some powerful lessons to be observed here about Anonymous and the hacker youth movement in general.  First, while attacks of past and present often were fueled to a degree by individuals' political or social vindications, almost always the biggest driver was pride -- a desire for attention and glory.

Anonymous demonstrators
Anonymous claims to have no leaders, yet time and again leaders emerge.
[Image Source: Flickr]

These traits are exemplified in Anonymous's much beloved Wikileaks, a fame and fortune seeking "leaks" site brainchild of ex-Australian college professor Julian Assange who resorted to creative Hollywood editing to make U.S. attacks on armed militants look like the murder of unarmed civilians (see the scandal regarding the unedited "Collateral Murder" video).  

Julian Assange
Julian Assange doctored and manipulated reality for his own fame and glory.  The idealistic members of Anonymous must be careful not to stoop to the same lows. [Getty Images/AFP]

The site's publications -- much of which were exagerrated or doctored -- could well end up costing lives, a prospect that allegedly delights WikiLeaks founder who is quoted by a prestigious British journalist (and supported by several other journalists who were at the meeting) as stating that those who cooperate with U.S. forces in the Middle East are traitors to the their people and "deserve to die" (Assange denies saying this calling the journalists liars).

With Anonymous's favorite "hacktivist" site willing to stoop to blatant lies for fame and profit, one has to wonder whether some members of the idealist collective aren't willing to willing to go just as far.  It all comes down to pride. 

As they say, "Pride cometh before the fall."

And fall they inevitably do.

iv. Idealism Falls Short of Reality With Anonymous

Anonymous was supposed to be different.  It preached to the outside world that its members sought no glory for their actions and were merely part of a pure-hearted collectionist movement to change society via hactivism.

Among the group's more idealistic members this certainly would hold true.  However, many members privately -- within the group's IRC channels, message-boards, and their ilk -- are just as big glory seekers as blacks hats of 80s or 90s.

Likewise, Anonymous claims to be "a group with out a leader".  Again, this is a half-truth, which only holds amongst casual and more idealistic members.  Among the core hackers of the Anonymous movement, there are leaders.  

Again, the group's more idealistic members would argue that these more structured subgroups are not really Anonymous, but at a certain point you're just arguing semantics.  Between Dec. 2010 and May 2011 "Sabu" lead "topiary", "kayla", "pwnsauce", and "palladium" in attacks on government contractor HBGary, Inc., Irish political party Fine Gael, and on News Corp. (NWS) subsidiary Fox, stealing an "X-Factor" contestant database.

At the end of the day, when you look back at this amazing story, it's striking that Anonymous and its splinter group LulzSec under Sabu were not acting as "groups without a leader", but rather were behaving like the loyal subjects of a mafia don.

Anonymous
Members of LulzSec learned the hard way that anonymity is a knowledge-based illusion.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

The crushing blow of disillusionment is hardened even more by the fact that the one-time don went on to betray his most trusted subjects.  States one FBI agent, "When people in the hacking community realize their God has actually been cooperation with the government, it’ll be sheer terror."

Suddenly, some members of Anonymous may be realizing that they may not be as anonymous as they thought, and that cause still brings effect -- even in the era of digital anonymity.

Sources: FBI, Fox [1], [2]



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Doctoring a video is wrong
By tayb on 3/6/2012 4:22:27 PM , Rating: 3
Unless it's done by a politician or major news provider. Then it's okay.

Cough Al Gore.




RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 4:32:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Unless it's done by a politician or major news provider. Then it's okay.

Cough Al Gore.
Apt observation. Assange would make an ideal politician -- well dressed, well spoken, incendiary, willing to lie for his own gains, equally willing to fabricate reality. In the end he has taken a different, but ultimately similar path.

It's unfortunate that Anonymous has allowed itself to become Assange's willing sockpuppet/personal army, defending his profiteering.

To quote Rage Against the Machine, "And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control."

His actions are remarkably similar to Jude Law's fictional blogger character in the movie "Contagion" where he accuses the government of conspiracy and lies about a fake cure to make big profits at the cost of human life.

Don't get me wrong there's some interesting things in the leaks, but a great deal of it is a tempest in the teapot, hence why Assange had to resort to creative editing to try to establish the tenuous link of U.S. culpability in killing a group of clearly armed terrorists/militants along (unfortunately) with a couple of journalists who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anyone with half a brain when they learn what he did should feel sickened, particularly when you think that he's alleged bragged about the lives of U.S. allies it might cost.

Do I trust everything the Guardian's editors say? No. But I'm more inclined to trust them, than someone who doctors videos to alter reality.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By tayb on 3/6/2012 4:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
Good points but didn't his fictional character contract the virus and cure himself with Prosithia or whatever the drug was called?

I think we would all be surprised to learn how much "reality" is altered by big media. Don't you find it a tad alarming/intriguing that these big media guys can "predict" who wins primaries/elections with remarkable accuracy from "exit polls" of 2,000 - 3,000 out of several hundred thousand voters? I've seen doctored tea party photos from Fox News and doctored Occupy Wall Street photos from other places. It happens all over the place.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 5:04:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Good points but didn't his fictional character contract the virus and cure himself with Prosithia or whatever the drug was called?

If I understood the movie correctly (it was a bit confusing at points... very stream of consciousness) the whole forsythia thing was just a fraud, hence why he was going around SF in a hazmat suit -- if he was cured he would have been like Matt Damon's character -- free to safely walk around. And @ the end (unless they faked it) the government said he never had the virus.

quote:
I think we would all be surprised to learn how much "reality" is altered by big media. Don't you find it a tad alarming/intriguing that these big media guys can "predict" who wins primaries/elections with remarkable accuracy from "exit polls" of 2,000 - 3,000 out of several hundred thousand voters? I've seen doctored tea party photos from Fox News and doctored Occupy Wall Street photos from other places. It happens all over the place.

Oh sure, I realize that. I think that's the value of independent internet journalism and free thought. My point, I guess is "beware of false prophets".

Is there corruption, malfeasance, and murder in the world? Absolutely. But be careful who you choose as your messiah. They may end up just as greedy and evil as those you attack.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By tayb on 3/6/2012 5:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take you at your word on the movie. It has been a long time since I've seen it and your description matches up well enough with my vague recollections.

Julian Assange lost his way when the information he had didn't fully support his agenda. He was also a bit spiteful against the US and essentially openly excited that his leaked documents would be US operatives in danger.

Having said that some of the documents he leaked needed to be leaked. The citizens of the United States need to know what the government is up to. The media did a great job of making Assange the villain instead of the US but in my opinion neither are innocent. Assange went too far but the information he released incriminated the US in some things that general citizens should have found to be appalling.

If you are in the business of releasing those documents you probably already have a "burn the house down" mentality so for him there was no gray area.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 6:13:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The media did a great job of making Assange the villain instead of the US but in my opinion neither are innocent. Assange went too far but the information he released incriminated the US in some things that general citizens should have found to be appalling.

I wouldn't call "the U.S." the villain or even "the U.S. government", because that would be like calling "leaks sites" "villains" because of Assange's misbehavior. You shouldn't apply blanket labels to groups, that is unfair.

In reality there are certainly some villainous elements in the government, just like Assange -- one man among many in the leaks movement -- could be construed as villainous, given his misrepresentations for profit.
quote:
Assange went too far but the information he released incriminated the US in some things that general citizens should have found to be appalling.

Your commentary leads me to believe that you have not watched the FULL unedited chopper cam video or heard all of the developments w.r.t. Wikileaks clear deception w.r.t. its edited version "Collateral Murder. Even leaks sites and transparency advocates have called it out for this:
http://erratasec.blogspot.com/2010/04/collateral-m...
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c1b_1270800204

This is no "oops they dun goofed", this is clear for-fame/for-profit misinformation, with lives on the line.

I don't blame you, if you haven't seen the full video -- a lot of people haven't. I was a bit critical of Wikileaks' lack of transparency for some time now, but I admit, until I did some followup research about a month ago I had not seen the full video myself or read commentary about it. I was pretty shocked at what I found. I assumed Wikileaks prettied up the info a bit, but this was an outright lie and fatally dangerous one at that.
quote:
Having said that some of the documents he leaked needed to be leaked. The citizens of the United States need to know what the government is up to. The media did a great job of making Assange the villain instead of the US but in my opinion neither are innocent. Assange went too far but the information he released incriminated the US in some things that general citizens should have found to be appalling.

Okay I'll point-blank recap the latest developments for you and please let me know how this is anything but reckless, for-profit, anti-transparent, anti-truth effort on the part of the site.

BACKGROUND:
1. Wikileaks has a multi-million dollar budget. Assange estimated the site costs $31M USD a year to run.
2. Most of its hosting comes from volunteers.
3. Wikileaks has less than 10 paid employees.
4. The site has received a great deal of free legal representation.
5. The site does not publish even high level details of its finances!
6. Where is the money going?
7. Over 95 percent of the leaks on the site pertain to the U.S., despite most of the admins being non-U.S. residents.
8. The U.S. only spends 43 percent of the world's military expenditures.
9. The U.S. has less than a fifth the world's GDP.
10. Statistics show Wikileaks clearly to be targeting the U.S. -- why?
11. Despite its controversial objectives, the site offers no assurance that it does not accept money from nation states in exchange for engaging in for-profit espionage.
12. Assange has actively opposed other transparency sites.
13. Assange has threatened to sue sites that "steal" and publish his stolen data.

Now on to the publication:
COLLATERAL MURDER:

1. The full tape shows militants armed with RPGs and AK-47s.
2. At least one of the RPGs spotted was allegedly traced to an attack from a week before that wounded U.S. soldiers.
3. The chopper pilots surveyed the armed insurgents.
4. The soldier opened fire on the armed combatants.
5. A soldier cried "break" during the firefight.

Wikileaks:
1. Full video in hand, Assange edits out the scenes that show the RPGs and AK-47s and in its press releases and interviews says that the U.S. killed "unarmed combatants".
2. His spliced video made it look like the decision to open fire was a split second one.
3. He subtitled the soldier's cry "break" to read "prick" as if the soldier was swearing at the people he was attacking.
4. Wikileaks initially refused to release the unedited footage.

Now with that in mind my questions for anyone who still supports the site:
1. How can you construe this as anything BUT misinformation?
2. Do you realize Wikileaks profited off this misinformation?
3. Do you realize the impact that this work of altered reality had on the U.S.'s reptutation in the Middle East?
4. Do you realize that the medieval mindset of some in the Middle East encourages them to kill if they feel threatened?
5. Do you thus realize that Wikileaks' clear misinformation will likely lead to deaths and or injuries?
quote:
If you are in the business of releasing those documents you probably already have a "burn the house down" mentality so for him there was no gray area.

I disagree. Thus far Daniel Domscheit-Berg's commentary seems far more principled. He's not trying to burn anyone's house down or seeking fame (as far as I can tell yet), he's seeking to expose TRUE misinformation, rather than create more of it.

That's ostensibly why he left Wikileaks and distanced himself from Assange, who he once idolized, like many.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By slunkius on 3/7/2012 1:20:14 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Back at the start of Aug. 2011, contemplating the possibility that tflow could be a turncoat, I wrote: <...> That statement proved fortuitous.


This is getting ridiculous. Full quote, bolded and highlighted, in your face. Nevermind that nobody cares if you said it first if at all. So now everytime some part "analysis" turns out correct, we will get it dug out and presented as proof of you oracle-like insight? And does it mean there will be similar acknowledgements when you turn out wrong? Talk about self promotion.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By EricMartello on 3/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By Ringold on 3/7/2012 8:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
Haha, wow. First of all, if Wikileaks was intended to do good, the most good to be done on the margin would be to expose government abuse where abuse is still endemic, not in a relatively benign land like the US. Instead 95% of its efforts are targeted there. The EU as a bloc also represents something of an economic super-power, even if it has no military capacity worth noting. Russia is still heavily engaged, and China is in just about everyones business, doing all sorts of sketchy things in African countries and municipalities that are probably not sophisticated enough to resist their pressure. Why not shine the light there?

Tbh, your post made me think of Hitler apologists. He's got caught manipulating and what most people would consider lying, what's he gotta do, eat a baby on live TV? And a telephoto lense or an RPG? WTF? Have you ever seen the two? There's quite a massive difference in size and shape, and it also suggests you think the soldier involved would open fire on a journalist, which perhaps really betrays your misguided anti-Americanism?


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By EricMartello on 3/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By Belard on 3/7/2012 9:51:27 AM , Rating: 3
Editing of video / audio to change the facts is wrong, period. When you go to court, they (lawyers / Judges) and to see the whole video. There could be request to see a "cut down" version, as long as it doesn't change he facts.

For example: A video shows John punches Bob in the face, he goes down nose bleeding. See, proof of assault has taken place, John is bad - must go to jail.

But what about the 1-2 minutes before that. John walks in, minding his own business. Bob starts calling John names, pushing him, punching him. Laughing... he takes John's wallet. John gets up, punches Bob in the face, etc.

An edit here and there can change the story.

A good example are the ACORN videos that Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe put together that showed their audience what they wanted to see. But NOT what actually happened.

Or the "Proof NAACP Awards Racism" in which he edited the video of Shirley Sherrod speaking about not wanting to help out a white family. Watch the whole UN-EDITED video, Her father was murdered why white supremacist. She thought about it, got over that event and got help to the white family who had nothing to do with her father.

When a person does SUCH things, that is past Expressing an opinion. Its called LYING. Anyone who does such things have no credibility and people who defend such actions are just blind sheep,


By EricMartello on 3/7/2012 8:13:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:

For example: A video shows John punches Bob in the face, he goes down nose bleeding. See, proof of assault has taken place, John is bad - must go to jail.

But what about the 1-2 minutes before that. John walks in, minding his own business. Bob starts calling John names, pushing him, punching him. Laughing... he takes John's wallet. John gets up, punches Bob in the face, etc.


What if there was no video about the preceding 1-2 minutes and the recording starts where John punches Bob? For example, they were outside of a bar where there are no security cameras, and then came inside where they were on camera?

Does the lack of footage change the facts of the matter?

People need to be wise enough to take anything presented to them as "fact" with a grain of salt. If they really care, they should do their own research...but without actually being there and witnessing the entire event it's hard to definitely say what happened.

Also, as I said before, news outlets (this site included) routinely sensationalize reports to get more people reading/watching. It's misleading and deceptive, but quite commonplace. I don't think anyone can really condemn wikileaks for playing the game the same way it has been played for years.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By Belard on 3/7/2012 4:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
Editing of video / audio to change the facts is wrong, period. When you go to court, they (lawyers / Judges) and to see the whole video. There could be request to see a "cut down" version, as long as it doesn't change he facts.

For example: A video shows John punches Bob in the face, he goes down nose bleeding. See, proof of assault has taken place, John is bad - must go to jail.

But what about the 1-2 minutes before that. John walks in, minding his own business. Bob starts calling John names, pushing him, punching him. Laughing... he takes John's wallet. John gets up, punches Bob in the face, etc.

An edit here and there can change the story.

A good example are the ACORN videos that Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe put together that showed their audience what they wanted to see. But NOT what actually happened.

Or the "Proof NAACP Awards Racism" in which he edited the video of Shirley Sherrod speaking about not wanting to help out a white family. Watch the whole UN-EDITED video, Her father was murdered why white supremacist. She thought about it, got over that event and got help to the white family who had nothing to do with her father.

When a person does SUCH things, that is past Expressing an opinion. Its called LYING. Anyone who does such things have no credibility and people who defend such actions are just blind sheep,


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By tamalero on 3/8/2012 12:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
you did an amazing analysis.. thank you.

I still wonder why so many people seem to be blind by patriotism than actually try to read all sides, process the information, and make a real choice based on the information at hand.
Most people I've seen on these politics.. just go on to protect "their team", their "hero", their "candidate" or their "interests".


By RedemptionAD on 3/7/2012 2:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
The USA by virtue of it being one of the largest economies in the world has made its own enemies just by being one of the top. The published image of America abroad is not the best, we are often times portrayed as arrogant and lazy. Our population reflects much of that sentiment, as having the largest % of obesity. We go and help all over the world, but a lot of other nations do not necessarily want our help, and would prefer to handle things themselves.

Assange is a villain in the aspect that he crossed a line with publishing active duty classified footage. As far as revealing much of the other things he is a hero, that is more of an aspect of the idea of Wikileaks than Assange himself. The other sites that utilize the principles of wikileaks have done a beter job of it for certain. The kinds of things that they deal with are very sensitive and in instances where the powers that be are the cause of said problems, the public is the only counter measure. Assange should be applauded for introducing the idea that is wikileaks, and frowned on for his implementation.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By 440sixpack on 3/7/2012 12:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Just watched the movie actually, basically he was accused of faking having caught the virus by the guy with the wire, and he did not deny it.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2012 7:39:38 PM , Rating: 3
What pissed me off when this came out on DT last year, were how quickly people assumed Assange was credible. It's almost like they desperately WANTED it to be true. Because, I guess, they wanted to have their belief that America is a stinking den of evil confirmed. Confirmation bias ftl.

quote:
Anyone with half a brain when they learn what he did should feel sickened, particularly when you think that he's alleged bragged about the lives of U.S. allies it might cost.


Half a brain is getting hard to come by these days.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By sigmatau on 3/6/2012 11:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
People are jelous, man.


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By Strunf on 3/7/2012 7:50:26 AM , Rating: 1
"they wanted to have their belief that America is a stinking den of evil confirmed."

That's what most of the world thinks of the US, wikileaks is just adding more wood to the fire but in no means it's the only source of wood out there, actually there's no need for wikileaks the actions of the US itself speak for themselves. Anyone with half a brain would be wary of the US actions... but I agree with your "Half a brain is getting hard to come by these days."


RE: Doctoring a video is wrong
By tamalero on 3/8/2012 12:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
Just wondering, how do you know what is a true if both sides love to lie with Pr machines?
the difference is.. one is a huge mega country backed with huge mega corporations who all follow an agenda.. the other is a man who tried to get a name by calling the big guy for their trash.

The first step to make someone disappear is.. just make him look like a madman.. and they sure know how to do it.


Great...
By chmilz on 3/6/2012 4:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Now who's going to uncover all the gross misconduct and corruption in the world, and point out massive security breaches?




RE: Great...
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 4:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now who's going to uncover all the gross misconduct and corruption in the world, and point out massive security breaches?
There will always be independent hackers...

And I don't think the entire Anonymous movement is dead or defunct. Just look @ their Arab Spring success.

I hope my commentary is not misconstrued as hating on Anonymous unilaterally. Rather, I appreciate some of what Anonymous has done, but unlike most who either blanketly support or oppose the movement, I see the gray (it's my job as a journalist).

Has Anonymous done some good? Sure!

Have members of Anonymous stolen from hard working citizens (credit card theft), hurt individuals, sought glory at the cost of privacy, and damaged free enterprise? Yes to that as well.

If all members of Anonymous were some sort of selfless idealist Mensa superbrains, perhaps they could handle the great responsibility they're handing themselves. The issue is that at the end of the day many of them are gullible; some of them are greedy; and some of them are insecure and want attention. All of these things undermine the good that Anonymous could in theory do, by acting with greater discretion and care.

I hope the movement distances itself from its self-destructive elements, but I see no sign (yet) of this being the case.


RE: Great...
By borismkv on 3/6/2012 4:43:05 PM , Rating: 3
And some of them are unemployed welfare leeches that steal peoples' credit card numbers from their shiny new iMac (AKA: Sabu)


RE: Great...
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 4:54:17 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
And some of them are unemployed welfare leeches that steal peoples' credit card numbers from their shiny new iMac (AKA: Sabu)

Well innocent until proven guilty, of course.

That said, assuming the FBI's accounting is semi-accurate, no kidding... talk about biting the hand that feeds.

The government is paying for you to play on your computer and raise your kids and you repay them by trying to destroy them online? Nice!

At least he may yet redeem himself. Undoubtly he will now live under constant death threat of Lamo's experience is any indication. His best bet would be to keep working with the FBI/CIA and parlay his brilliance hacking-wise to take on China and help defend his nation.

At the end of the day LulzSec's actions appeared (from the outside at least) like spoiled children playing Mafia (and spoiled 20-somethings behaving like children). None of the members seemed to have jobs, a college education, or be doing anything productive with their lives... they just wasted their intellect creating chaos.

I found it particularly laughable that they tried to associate their Sony work with more principled hackers like George "GeoHot" Hotz. I'm sorry, you guys are nothing like "GeoHot". He's going to college and has a successful job at a top software company, and is contributing to the hacker movement in a productive way. Sellout? How about "adult".

Good riddance. Some people need to grow up.

Hopefully young hackers in Anonymous will heed this as a lesson of the folly of pride and brazen glory-seeking, and lend their talents to doing some good for the world.


RE: Great...
By EricMartello on 3/7/2012 4:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
At the end of the day LulzSec's actions appeared (from the outside at least) like spoiled children playing Mafia (and spoiled 20-somethings behaving like children). None of the members seemed to have jobs, a college education, or be doing anything productive with their lives... they just wasted their intellect creating chaos.


That's the peasant/commoner way of thinking. A job is for people who are too dumb/lazy to run a business, an education is for people who cannot think and being productive can only be gauged if the person is or is not achieving the goals they set for themselves.

quote:
I found it particularly laughable that they tried to associate their Sony work with more principled hackers like George "GeoHot" Hotz. I'm sorry, you guys are nothing like "GeoHot". He's going to college and has a successful job at a top software company, and is contributing to the hacker movement in a productive way. Sellout? How about "adult".


George wasn't really a "hacker"; just a nerd who wanted to run linux on his PS3. He had no "agenda" to begin with so saying he is principled is largely irrelevant. He ultimately decided to settle with sony rather than stick to his guns and challenge sony for his right to use the PS3 he paid for as he saw fit. There are no props for that course of action. What he did is re-affirm that unjust laws that companies like sony paid to pass are the new American way by becoming another corporate tool.

quote:
Good riddance. Some people need to grow up.


While others need to wake up.

quote:
Hopefully young hackers in Anonymous will heed this as a lesson of the folly of pride and brazen glory-seeking, and lend their talents to doing some good for the world.


No, it's not that dramatic. The only lesson here is: "No matter how good you think you are, if you need someone else to help you, you're not good enough." That, and what's good for the world may not be so good for them.


RE: Great...
By Solandri on 3/6/2012 5:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
People have been exposing gross misconduct and corruption for centuries if not millenia. It's helpful to have an organization dedicated towards facilitating this. But when people start believing that that organization is necessary, that's a sign that its PR has grossly overstated its importance to the endeavor.


RE: Great...
By Argon18 on 3/6/2012 6:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
How about legitimate news reporters and IT security consultants? Or would you rather place your trust in "anonymous" teenage criminals and thieves?


Nice article
By TSS on 3/6/2012 6:13:59 PM , Rating: 3
Nicely written article Jason, enjoyed reading it very much. I thought the wikileaks plug was a bit much, considering how much you've already devoted on that subject and nothing new was added. Nor does sabu's arrest really have anything to do with the website.

Other then that the rest of the story reads like the script to a goddamn gangster movie. Guy rebels against the system, works himself up to be a god in the hacker community with digital power beyond imagening, gets caught, is offered a choice between lives, chooses family over friends, spies then helps those friends get caught while helping to prevent damage (and possibly learning about the effects of his actions on others?) to finally lead a secluded life with a semi-happy end and a moral message.

That's already a better plot then 95% of the garbage hollywood puts out (the other 5% are sequels). That and we haven't had a decent movie about a hacker since Hackers 2 (kevin mitnick i belive it was?).

Wether that's actually "professional journalism" i can't be the judge of but i'll take it over CNN rehashed drivel any day :p good job.




RE: Nice article
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 6:41:26 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Nicely written article Jason, enjoyed reading it very much. I thought the wikileaks plug was a bit much, considering how much you've already devoted on that subject and nothing new was added. Nor does sabu's arrest really have anything to do with the website.

No worries!

Actually, there was something new and VERY IMPORTANT. :)

Let me clarify... the whole matter of the egregious edits to the Collateral Murder video was only recently brought to my attention by several gray-hat friends.

I only caught wind of the massive lie that Wikileaks engaged in surrounding that tape about a month ago. It's slightly old news, but I've been incorporating it into my commentary as appropriate, as I'm shocked this didn't receive broader coverage.

I think the media goes a bit soft of Assange and his lies. Some, like the Salon's Greenwald are outright adulatory in singing his praises... but I digress.

Returning to Sabu, I figured the Wikileaks comment wasn't too extraneous given LulzSec's anti-gov activity and Sabu's vocal support for Wikileaks (if you follow his Twitter commentary). The irony is that those supportive comments were likely heavily crafted by the FBI to social engineer Sabu's post sealed-arrest black hat image and avoid detection as they swooped in for the kill. So in a weird sort of way Wikileaks was involved in providing the FBI the cover they needed! Irony!

Glad you otherwise liked the piece. :D

quote:
Wether that's actually "professional journalism" i can't be the judge of but i'll take it over CNN rehashed drivel any day :p good job.
Thanks, I try to tell as accurate a story as possible, with as many first hands sources as I can find. Basically if I wouldn't want to read it myself, what's the point in writing it, ya know? :P

These longer pieces take 2-4 hours, so it's a labor of love.


RE: Nice article
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Nice article
By Tony Swash on 3/7/2012 6:38:40 AM , Rating: 1
Reclaimer77 - I fear we may be stumbling towards agreeing on something!


RE: Nice article
By Manch on 3/7/2012 9:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
As soon as I read that I looked out the window to see if pigs were flying. Nothing yet but I'l swing by hell to see if its frozen over on my way to 7-11.


RE: Nice article
By Taft12 on 3/7/2012 12:32:23 PM , Rating: 1
We need pirks to check in and also claim to be on the same page (maybe FITcamaro too?)


RE: Nice article
By Taft12 on 3/7/2012 12:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, I also quite enjoyed this piece! Like many DT'ers I don't always agree with you, but thanks for sticking with it and continuing to produce good content for DT. I know you avidly read the comments and you somehow don't let the flaming get you down.

Keep up the good work!


DOH
By toyotabedzrock on 3/6/2012 4:11:33 PM , Rating: 3
Sabu disappeared right around the time of the claimed arrest on twitter.

If I noticed this so did many other anonymous members.

The claimed recent arrests are partly old arrests so that media hacks can make a big deal out of nothing.




RE: DOH
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 4:24:36 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Sabu disappeared right around the time of the claimed arrest on twitter.

If I noticed this so did many other anonymous members.

The claimed recent arrests are partly old arrests so that media hacks can make a big deal out of nothing.

While I'm as "idealistic" and anti-corruption as your average Anonymous chap, I have to find myself a bit cynical of the movement.

How can Anonymous continue to defend a non-transparent glory-seeker (Julian Assange) who doctored footage and manipulated reality for his own personal profit and glory, possibly at the cost of life?!?

Supporting Wikileaks is just making Anonymous look like ignorant children, who are too stupid to see someone who is blatantly taking advantage of both their membership and adoring journalist in the media.

(In that regard you and the "media hacks" are mostly on the same side! Congrats! Just ask Glen Greenwald.)

I support Anonymous's efforts during the Arab Spring and I feel they should not be dismissed. But at the same time, it's important not to underestimate the attention, fame, and profit seekers who are perverting the movement for their own twisted ends, as hackers have done since the days of the very first exploit.

The fact that Sabu turned informant is significant. And the detention of Kayla is VERY FRESH. He was just detained this TODAY in England. So I disagree with your assessment that this is "old arrests" or "nothing".

It's a very interesting observation on some of the problems afflicting the movement.

Granted, I think these problems apply moderately to Anonymous itself, but moreso to its splinter groups, e.g. Internet Feds, Op AntiSec, etc.


RE: DOH
By dark matter on 3/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: DOH
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/6/2012 5:43:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Supporting Wikileaks does not automatically make you support Assagne.
Yes, it does.

Wikileaks is one site -- there are many alternatives.

The fact that the Anonymous community is not throwing its support (by and large) behind these more respectable alternatives (OpenSecrets, Cryptome) means they're part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is very disappointing.

By defending a site with zero financial transparency, a high potential for abuse -- a site controlled by a fame seeker who has purposefully use the site as a platform to promote known misrepresentations, that is a bad decision. I am sorry.

Are you for transparency? Great. Me too. But let's not dussy up Wikileaks. As long as Assange is its supreme dictator and in charge of the site's multi-million dollar donations-driven budget Wikileaks is part of the problem.

Piling misinformation on top of misinformation helps no one and serves no greater good, though it may allow Assange to buy a nice new suit on your dime.
quote:
Being part of the media yourself, and thus probably have the government hand shoved up your arse, it's understandable you don't like Wikileaks.

How so? The government doesn't own me. We are not a corporate outlet. My commentary is independent. Do you have any sort of evidence to back your accusatory hypothesis?

quote:
But please don't insult the ingelligence of your readers that because they agree with the principle of wikileaks, that they automatically agree with all the negative traits and flaws of it's previous CEO (for want of a better word)
And your reading comprehension w.r.t. to my commentary was inadequate and incorrect. My comments were SOLELY on ONE SITE -- Wikileaks -- as it CURRENTLY stands. At this point the site is the glory vehicle for Assange, and 90 percent financially devoted to that end. I have great hope for sites like OpenSecrets, Cryptome, etc. I'm a huge proponent of responsible transparency. Personally I'm a big advocate of stronger transparency laws at the federal and state level in the U.S. w.r.t. campaign finance, etc.

Please don't misrepresent my views, take the time to understand them.
quote:
GTFO, if that's a bit over your head.

Hopefully you understood my comments better as I begin to repeat myself.


Great Job Jason
By Conner on 3/7/2012 2:00:30 AM , Rating: 2
I have to say that this is the best DailyTech article I have read since first visiting the site over 7 years ago. At times DT seems to have a biased opinion (Mac vs PC). It's great to read journalism that cuts the crap and lays out the truth. In the past that some DT articles/comments have been so bad I've more than once almost deleted DT from my bookmarks. Today I'm giving it a permanent place on my bookmarks bar.

After reading a lot of your comments you should really do a follow up article on what Anon stands for today and which online communities are the true champions of freedom (twitter, EFF...).

It a shame great online journalists aren't given the same credence as those who work the 'big' names in news.

Again great article Jason!

ps do you guys ever entertain the though of doing big pieces in coordination with other sites like ArsTechnica?




RE: Great Job Jason
By Tony Swash on 3/7/2012 6:34:28 AM , Rating: 2
I agree


RE: Great Job Jason
By phattyboombatty on 3/7/2012 7:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Great article and well-written. Nice work, Jason.


Good
By KCjoker on 3/6/2012 5:36:24 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think we should call these idiots terrorists but they're clearly criminals and I hope they sit in prison for decades.




RE: Good
By EricMartello on 3/7/2012 4:21:01 AM , Rating: 1
So are many of our elected officials as well as the executives of banks like Bank of America and insurance companies like AIG, and yet it's business as usual for all of them.

Who should we be chastising?

People who hack and deface websites to make a statement.

OR

People whose greed was largely responsible for a global economic meltdown.


RE: Good
By KCjoker on 3/7/2012 5:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Call me crazy but I'll chastise both...I want those corrupt politicians(redundant I know) in prison for decades too.


Give me a break....
By WinstonSmith on 3/7/2012 9:16:28 AM , Rating: 3
"Julian Assange doctored and manipulated reality for his own fame and glory. The idealistic members of Anonymous must be careful not to stoop to the same lows."

Who cares if in fact Assange did as you claim? He and his organization has done more for the advancement of government transparency than anything the "idealistic members of Anonymous" have done thus far. And don't try to portray on-line vandals looking for "a cause" to justify their vandalism as White Rose types:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose

because they aren't. Not even close.




Shetland Islands
By ally001 on 3/6/2012 5:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
Um, the Shetland Islands are off the north coast of Scotland, not England.




Shetland islands.
By Cloudie on 3/6/2012 5:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to do a quick google of the location of the Shetland islands. :p




Just wanted to say
By Gondor on 3/7/2012 3:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Lulz.




Misleading Semantics
By kyuuketsuki on 3/7/2012 9:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
The footage was not doctored. Doctoring means altering or fabricating. No made-up footage was spliced in, and no alterations to the actual footage was done. It was simply edited, something that is done all the time by "legitimate" media outlets.

I'm not defending the editing, mind you. It was obviously hypocritical for a site devoted to exposing the truth to refuse to release unedited footage of the event. I also wouldn't disagree that Assange is a glory-seeking, profiteering douchebag.

However, your article is sadly sensationalized and points to a certain amount of narcissism on your part, for example: giving yourself a big ol' pat-on-the-back by throwing some off-hand comment you made in a previous article that happened to be somewhat accurate in the reader's face. Not to mention your misuse of the word fortuitous in the following sentence, unless you meant it was fortuitous for you in the sense that you got to throw out a big "I told you so!" in this article.




lol
By Totally on 3/8/2012 6:15:45 AM , Rating: 2
he did it for the lulz.




KILL KILL KILL
By JEEPMON on 3/8/2012 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
Hackers like this need to be given LIFE in prison and considered for terrorism charges and possible executed. Maybe they will learn.




"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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