V masks Anonymous

Anonymous Hits US Justice Department In Revenge Attack Over Swartz

Anons hunting for US government scalps

On by Thomas Brewster 0

Hacktivist collective Anonymous has taken responsibility for a hack on the US Department of Justice, claiming it did so in retaliation for the DoJ’s treatment of Aaron Swartz in the lead up to his suicide.

According to reports, the DoJ website was knocked offline on Saturday, although the department has not issued an official response, or responded to TechWeekEurope’s request for a comment.

26-year-old Internet activist Aaron Swartz  helped found Reddit amongst numerous other achievements, but killed himself while facing charges brought by US officials over his part in siphoning off files from online journal archive JSTOR, using a system he set up at MIT.

Anonymous claims

Anonymous has joined a dramatic online backlash which has included petitions demanding the resignation of the prosecutor overlooking Swartz‘s case, US attorney Carmen Ortiz, and expressions of shock from people includint Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Anonymous had already hit the MIT website  earlier this month, protesting that MIT had colluded with the DoJ’s actions.

A video from the hacktivist group on YouTube, which has been viewed almost one million times, claimed the group had hacked various members of the US government, removed all traces of itself and taken down the “injection apparatus” used to infiltrate “vulnerable” machines. Anonymous said it had its hands on some interesting files, but did not go into detail on what they contained.

“Two weeks ago today a line was crossed,” the group said in relation to Swartz’s death, promising to engage the DoJ in a game in which the “only winning move is not to play”.

“We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights… we have seen how the law is wielded less and less to oppose justice and more and more to exercise control… in the interests of personal gain.

“The time has come to show the United States Department of Justice and its affiliates the true meaning of infiltration. The time has come to give this system a taste of its own medicine.”

Anonymous called for rewriting of US law dealing with hackers. “There must be a solid commitment to the freedom of the Internet,” the group also said.

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Thomas Brewster
Author: Thomas Brewster
Security Correspondent, TechWeekEurope
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