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Anonymous Team: Anonymous Is Destroying Itself

The voice of the ATeam says Anonymous is failing in its mission and is tearing itself apart

On by Thomas Brewster 8

A member of the Anonymous offshoot that took down Theresa May’s website this weekend has told TechWeekEurope the hacktivist group is falling apart.

According to the “voice” of the ATeam, Winston Smith, there is a “huge amount of infighting” across Anonymous. He claimed to have been threatened and attacked “quite a lot” by other members of the group. The situation has gotten so bad that Anonymous is failing in its original mission, Smith admitted.

The antagonism between different factions of Anonymous is “destroying itself”. This has been caused, in part, by the arrests of various hacktivists, he said. “Because of the arrests, paranoia is destroying the organisation. I have been repeatedly threatened by anons,” Smith added.

“LulzSec left a huge hole that others are trying to fill.”

Arrested development

One of the leading voices of LulzSec, the group which claimed hit on various big-time organisations including Sony and the CIA, was arrested last year and was reportedly working for the FBI as an informant. The revelations surrounding Sabu, whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur, caused shockwaves across the Anonymous world, making trust a rarer thing in the world of the hacktivists.

Read an IRC interview with the A Team

Law enforcement is clearly making its presence felt within hacktivist circles. Other alleged members of hacktivist groups, including UK-based suspects Ryan Ackroyd and Jake Davis, were charged by the FBI in March this year.

The ATeam, otherwise known as the Anonymous Team, is launching its own campaign looking to tackle what it sees as weaknesses in the collective. Today, it kicked off an initiative designed to stamp out “black hat grooming of children within Anonymous.”

“We believe too many children are being arrested within the movement for criminal offences arising from Black Hat hacking driven by idealistic grooming by faceless individuals within Anonymous,” the group said.

“Lives of children are being ruined engaging with adults who manipulate them into activities that will almost certainly lead to jail, extremism exists within Anonymous and anonymity of the organisation is allowing the grooming for children into cyber terrorists. Being Anonymous is no excuse for allowing children to be criminalised with their lives ruined, never mind that it makes a mockery of our credibility and our standing in the wider community.”

A number of teenagers have been arrested under suspicion of involvement in hacktivist groups. Just last week, a 17-year-old  alleged to be a spokesman for hacking group TeaMp0isoN was apprehended. Ryan Cleary, a 19-year-old diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, has been charged for involvement in a DDoS on the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Cleary, who was re-arrested in April for breaching his bail conditions, is due to appear before a judge this month.

Attacks from without

Evidently the young age of those arrested is concerning some factions within Anonymous. But Anonymous’ troubles are external as well as internal. Criticism is even coming from bodies who the hacktivists claim they are supporting.

The Pirate Bay recently bashed the group for using distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Virgin Media, after the ISP was told to block access to the filesharing service. Many have pointed to the fact that knocking a site offline with a DDoS is the same as censoring that website, indicating Anonymous is guilty of hypocrisy.

Smith told TechWeekEurope the Pirate Bay was wrong to lambaste the group for its attack on Virgin. The ISP was just used as a target to make a wider point against censorship, he said. “Pirate Bay got on the wrong side of the public mood, they thought their name was being used to legitimise a protest. It was not about them directly, they were being used as a  figure of hate by the judiciary to bring in online censorship”

How can Anonymous bounce back from this nadir? For a start, the ATeam wants to see more accountability across Anonymous. “There are many anons who are actual extremists hiding behind the masks. We believe the mask has to come off,” Smith added.

“That’s why the ATeam was formed, to lead by example.”

Given the vehemence of some of the comments on TechWeekEurope’s exclusive on the Theresa May website hit, Smith and his small band of hacktivists have a mountain to climb if they are to make changes to the whole group. Anonymous, which once had a semblance of unity, is now a collective full of disparate bodies, each with their own polemical battle. It’s hard to see how Anonymous can be unified again.

Read an IRC interview with the ATeam

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Thomas Brewster
Author: Thomas Brewster
Security Correspondent, TechWeekEurope
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Last comment




8 replies to Anonymous Team: Anonymous Is Destroying Itself

  • On May 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm by Anne Onymous

    Utter nonsense. The hive is as ever united by one and divided by zero. Mr. Smith just has some rather naive ideas about the situation, such as unmasking oneself when every government agency on earth is actively trying to hunt and imprison you. Anonymous isn’t divided any more so than usual. Mr. Smith is just offended because he got called out on a silly idea.

  • On May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm by oneSTARman

    UNFORTUNATELY it Really isn’t THAT Hard to Orchestrate a DDOS Attack; like the one currently being carried out against “The Pirate Bay” – If a Middle School kid creates an Army of ‘Zombies’ – like playing a D&D game – them uses them for an ‘Attack’ the strategic effect will probably what one might expect from a Child.

  • On May 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm by DBCOOPA

    Anonymous is 50,000+ strong. Activists in Egypt, Tunisia, America, Russia, Sweden, Germany and dozens of other countries around the world support and respect the work Anonymous does to combat oppression and censorship. Expect Us.

  • On May 19, 2012 at 6:20 am by AnonymousAnon01

    Mi6 have spoken LULZ! Anon has been watching the “A-Team” you won’t break us! Anons who didn’t know about /b/ or westbro HaHa!

  • On May 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm by Anonymous

    There is no accountability across Anonymous, we don’t want or need leaders. Winston should be as anon as the rest of us but shows a blatent disreguard for anonimity, it is a wonder why he hasn’t been V&
    Seems like a Honeypot to me.

  • On June 3, 2012 at 5:22 am by musttrollall

    Wow , everytime i read this it really bothers me . I am going to keep on this . Need to drop the anon stamp . Only way I/WE will stop . I have been spreading around . Expect us .

  • On June 5, 2012 at 2:18 am by Mr.T

    James Denver Jenkins you have been warned. You’re the very definition of a failed black hat extremist. We will be visiting Mary and yourself shortly. Expect us.

  • On June 14, 2012 at 2:44 am by Mr. T

    James Denver Jenkins 37 years old
    AKA: Must Troll All
    Thomas Anderson
    Johnny Smith

    Contact info: 214 939 0253
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    Address. : 2041 montier Dr
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    Relatives: Cliff E. Jenkins
    Gordon D. Jenkins 1954
    (Garland TX)
    Janice Hastings 89
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    Jerri Jenkins 57
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    Courtney L Jenkins
    AKA CoCo
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    Mary E Silla age 31

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    Relatives: Denise Richards
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