Hacker Group Anonymous Threatens Drug Cartel with Exposure

November 12, 2011

Anonymous has once again targeted a despicable group, and like the hacker group’s recent attack on pedophiles,[i] I find myself reluctantly cheering. It’s hard to feel sorry when a bunch of drug running thugs who dabble in other crimes like extortion get the tables turned on them.

It’s almost like Anonymous really is evolving into a band of digital superheroes – clear down to their masked appearance (as Guy Fawkes) in their YouTube video.

Unfortunately, like the superheroes of fiction, they’re operating as vigilantes – imagine the good that could be accomplished if their considerable skills were applied more directly towards collaborating with law enforcement.

According to the Anonymous YouTube video, it was the kidnapping of one of their hacktivists that triggered their threats against the Zetas, an ultra-violent Mexican drug cartel that in addition to their drug trafficking is also involved in extortion, assassinations and kidnappings.

The hacktivist group also set a Nov. 5th deadline for the release of their member timing it to coincide with Guy Fawkes Day, the anniversary of the discovery of the 1604 plot to blow up the British Parliament.

Anonymous threatens to release photos and names of everyone involved with the Zetas – from taxi drivers and journalists and on up the chain and says they want “the army and the navy to know that we are fed up with the criminal group Zetas.”

If the hackers really can pull off the exposure of the cartel’s participants – and given their track record the threat doesn’t seem idle – the cartel appears to be in an untenable position. Giving in to Anonymous’ threat makes them appear weak and leaves them vulnerable to other attacks in what is already a brutal struggle for dominance in the drug trade. On the other hand, ignoring the threat and being outed by name and with pictures leaves their entire cartel exposed in an open hunting season by law enforcement and competing thugs.

It will be curious to see how this unfolds. My hope is that the kidnapped hacktivist is returned safely AND the cartel is still served up on a platter.



I Can’t Support Hacktivism- But When The Targets Are Pedophile Websites I Really Want To…

October 26, 2011

A ZDNet article reports that the Anonymous hacktivist[i] group has turned their focus to pedophile websites and will, according to sources, target anyone hosting, promoting or supporting child pornography.

Though Anonymous has yet to formally claim their role, the ZDNet article says those associated with the Anonymous say the group takes credit for “taking offline over 40 websites used for sharing pedophilia – and for exposing the names and identifying information of more than 1500 alleged pedophiles” all were active members of a site called Lolita City.

Apparently some of Anonymous’ came across the child pornography websites when some members were browsing a darknet[ii] site private network of computers used for file sharing site called Hidden Wiki.

Here’s a post on Pastebin.com relating to their cleanup under the name “operationdarknet”

#OpDarknet Press Release – 10/15/2011

————————    Timeline of Events   ————————

At apprx 8:30 CST while browsing the Hidden Wiki we noticed a section called Hard Candy which was dedicated to links to child pornography. We then removed all links on the website, within 5 minutes the links were edited back in by an admin. For this reason, we will continue to make the Hidden Wiki unavailable.–

At apprx 8:45 CST we noticed 95% of the child pornography listed on the Hidden Wiki shared a digital fingerprint with the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting.–

At apprx 9:00pm CST on October 14, 2011 We identified Freedom Hosting as the host of the largest collection of child pornography on the internet. We then issued a warning to remove the illegal content from their server, which they refused to do.–

 At apprx 11:30pm CST on October 14, 2011 We infiltrated the shared hosting server of Freedom Hosting and shutdown services to all clients due to their lack of action to remove child pornography from their server.–

 At apprx 5:00pm CST on October 15, 2011 Freedom Hosting installed their backups and restored services to their child pornography clients. We then issued multiple warnings to remove all child pornography from their servers, which Freedom Hosting refused to do.–

At apprx 8:00pm CST on October 15, 2011 despite new security features, we once again infiltrated the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting and stopped service to all clients.

————————      Our Statement   ————————

The owners and operators at Freedom Hosting are openly supporting child pornography and enabling pedophiles to view innocent children, fueling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape, and death.

 For this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One.

 By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100GB of child pornography.

 We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting’s server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.

 ————————        Our Demands   ————————

Our demands are simple. Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target.

The takedown and exposure of websites and users dedicated to hosting, viewing, sharing, selling, swapping, trading or otherwise exploiting minors is a cause I can really support, though I still can’t condone hacking or vigilantism.

While these activities make for great stories they generally destroy the opportunity to prosecute rendering these pedophiles immune from prosecution.

I have personally worked with law enforcement agencies to help take down child predator rings in the past and have found law enforcement to be remarkably keen to prosecute and in need of top technical skills. I’ve also seen how the wildly popular ‘To Catch a Predator’ exposé series made prosecution of many of the men caught impossible.

If Anonymous really wants to make a positive impact by bringing these perverts to justice and rescue the children being exploited – and God Bless them if they do, –  they need to volunteer their services to an international law enforcement body so that the world can truly benefit from their unquestionable skills and from the prosecution of these child abusers.


[i] Hacktivists are activists who hack websites to further their agenda

[ii] A darknet is a private network of computers used for file sharing that cannot be searched or reached by other computers on the internet