In more news on the spying scandal, this time from the UK, the GCHQ allegedly attacked hackers associated with the loose hacker collective known as Anonymous, and the more organized group LulzSec in an attempt to take both down.
Taken from documents released by Edward Snowden, the allegations state that the British spy agency, which has come under fire for its invasive program running parallel to the US’s NSA, attempted to take both groups down.
But there was a kink in their plans. Not only did they illegally launch DDOS attacks against websites and chatrooms they believed to be hackers, but they ended up impacting the websites and communications of completely unrelated activists who were not engaged in unlawful online actions.
From what can be seen, the GCHQ’s efforts were short sighted and ineffective, many of the ‘targets’ being teenagers who were well underage and posed no national security threat. Why were they being targeted? Mostly for expressing political discontent, a worrying trend from the United Kingdom that shows the agency’s vast overreach.
Another problem with these actions is how they seem to perceive Anonymous in particular. As was stated, a lot of their targets were teenagers who did not pose a risk. Kids doing minor hacks that inconvenienced people, maybe, or did nothing at all. They were not hardened extremists.
That is proven by the fact that GCHQ chose to target Anon as a group. They aren’t one, not really. The term ‘Anonymous’ is used in many cyber attacks, hacks and even political statements. While you can trace the concept back to a number of websites (most notoriously 4Chan and other message boards where Anonymous is the tag every poster is under), it is not an organization.
With government agencies allegedly targeting these hackers, it just proves they don’t understand what they are up against. Most Anons are nothing more than script kiddies stretching their wings and being rebellious. Certainly not enough to get them on the radar of a country’s national intelligence officials. Those who are looking to create more chaos or spread a message are not likely to be putting themselves under that banner.
As our laws have not come anywhere close to catching up with technology, and since agencies frequently recruit genuine hackers for their own purposes anyway, this all seems like an exercise in time and money wasting. Unless, of course, the entire point was to be able to quietly target actual activists and dissident websites under a blanket maneuver.
But they would never do that, right?
Source: NBC News