UK Anonymous Hackers Get Jail Time

Even though I have just written a post, I came across this article and I am completely mind blown. Anonymous, probably the most popular and well known hacker group in the world, is basically an independent hacker organization that seems to run on their own morals. Basically, they want an open internet, and they stand for a lot of other things, but they are famous for hacking into websites and exposing people’s sensitive information. They are known for launching DoS (denial-of-service) attacks on websites to shut them down, most notable being the FBI’s website, Government websites in the UK, and GoDaddy domains, among others. They have threatened Governments around the world, criminal organizations, even religious groups. Recently they attacked the Westboro Baptist Church, a religious group that acts as a hate group that had plans to picket the memorial service for the Sandy Hook Elementary School, by launching a DoS attack on their website to shut it down, exposed sensitive information of the WBC members (addresses, full names), and even hacked a member’s Twitter page. Anonymous seems to live above the law, and is very successful at it too.

The reason for such a length summary of Anonymous is because of what this article means. Four members of Anonymous have been arrested in the UK for attacks on websites as part of actions carried our by Anonymous. Guess what the longest prison sentence received was? 18 months. Honestly I am confused. These members launched DoS attacks on websites owned by Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, and the British Recorded Music Industry, and are receiving pretty lenient sentences, considering what Anonymous has done in the past. Anonymous’ actions have put many people’s lives in danger, security at risk, and ruined people’s lives, as in the case of Michael Nodianos, who even though was in the wrong for saying what he said about a rape victim in the video, the video surely was not intended to be made public and has made it dangerous for Nodianos to even walk around in public in Ohio. Why is it that some members of the secret Anonymous organization have been found out and given such lenient prison terms, when they can get out sooner than 1.5 years and continue working for Anonymous?

3 Responses to UK Anonymous Hackers Get Jail Time

  1. Anonanonamous

    That mostly depends on what country they’re being indicted in and what their actual role was. For instance, Sabu, leader of the infamous LulzSec faction of Anonymous, is facing up to 124 years in prison, even though, as an FBI informant, he helped bring in at the very least the remaining five members of LulzSec as well as two botmasters in control of ~1oo,000 computers and 1,000,000 computers. Also, it depends on what site is being attacked. Anything .gov or .mil is going to dish out a much heftier prison sentence than hitting any .com or .net. Also, DDoS and DoS attacks really aren’t that damaging. In the worst cases, companies just lose out on advertising, access to their sites from legitimate customers, and maybe loss of customers from anger at the lack of service. True damage comes from legitimate hackers, that can take over a website through various vulnerabilities and do anything from defacing, to stealing databases or credit cards, to deleting the entire site.

    The real story on that page was further down, about Jake Davis and Ryan Cleary. Jake Davis went by the name Topiary online, and is famous for being the voice of LulzSec as well as other Anonymous factions dating all the way back to Anonymous’s roots in 4chan. He doesn’t really have any hacking skills, but he is a great social engineer. If you’ll recall the HP Gary hack during the super bowl a few years back, he was the one in charge of destroying the entire firms credibility through his access to the Twitter feeds, Facebook, etc., but he is also the one that found what started the whole WikiLeaks show down. The 75,000 emails they stole contained information about the CIA and other government bureaus performing espionage on nearly every online Americans in various forms – mostly related to hijacking social media. There’s a lot of documentation on it if you care to read up. Basically, Jake Davis (if Anonymous had a face) would have been the face of Anonymous.

    Ryan Cleary, if I recall correctly, was in possession of a rather large botnet (~1,000,000 machines) that he used carelessly, eventually bringing it’s full might against cia.gov. Obviously this is a bad idea. He also played a large role in attacking the FBI, PayPal, Amazon, and other banking institutions. He was one of the real hackers. He was also only 16 when he started and18 when apprehended.

    There’s also a very short reference to Ryan Ackroyd, a.k.a. Kayla. Kayla is a legend in the hacking/Anonymous world – one of the most elite. Ryan posed as a teenage girl for many years online (inspired by his younger sister, Kaitlyn) and maintained his facade convincingly enough that when Topiar, Sabu, and Ryan Cleary found out a man had been apprehended as Kayla, they didn’t believe the authorities. And with that, the five main members of LulzSec, the most notorious and elite of all of Anonymous’s factions, have all been arrested.

    Seeing the prison sentences of these five will tell you just how seriously the authorities are going to take future black hat criminals. Four are British and Sabu is a New Yorker, so we’ll get to see how the U.S. and U.K. differ on sentencing later this year.

    I think a crash course needs to be given on what Anonymous actually is though, because it’s not an organization, as the media says it is. There is absolutely no hierarchy outside of these small little groups. Anonymous is a mob and no real control can be gained over it. In the last year though, the “movement”, if you will, has really died out. There are still active hacktivist groups, hackers-for-the-lulz, malevolent hackers, etc. out there, but membership is nowhere near what it was in the late 2000’s. Anyhow, I greatly recommend the book We Are Anonymous for further information an/or a much more accurate description.

  2. First of all Anonymous is not a group. It is a collection of decentralized individuals that act independently. Just because they call them self part of anonymous doesn’t mean they are related or responsible for any attacks done by Anonymous.

    Just want to clear that up because the way you put it it sound like that person was responsible for every pass action Anonymous has done which isn’t true. It would be like saying if someone published a book under the name anonymous they were also responsible for writing all other books written anonymously.

    Michael Nodianos rape video was released by KnightSec (one of many “anonymous” internet groups)

    Second DoS attacks are the modern version of sit-in protest. Since you can’t physical occupied a online store / business. DoS are peaceful and shut down business just like tradition sit ins. The reason why people are getting in trouble is the method of lanching a DoS attack which could be done with 1000s people just hitting refresh over and over again on a website (see slashdot effect) but are instead done with bot nets taking over computer without people consent (which is the action people are going to jail for). There are even petitions to make it a first amendment right.

    The main issue here is anonymous only choice is vigilante justice because government have to protect hate speech (in the case of Westboro Baptist Church) and religious freedom (anon vs church of scientology) and when the governments go bad people can’t exactly sue or change the government. In your story the person arrested was 17,18, 22,25 so some didn’t even have the right to vote. Anonymous for the most part is acting as global checks for example in wikileaks protests protecting whistleblowers against governments and business.

    However in any group of people you are going to have bad apples in Anonymous case having people leaking too much information, police have police brutality, doctor medical malpractice, Congress has congress people etc.

    PS Also (in a half joking tone) you may not want to say bad stuff about Anonymous online you may tick off the wrong people.