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A Twitter account tied to hacking collective Anonymous is telling followers not to be discouraged by news that “top members” have been arrested thanks to an FBI informant. It also provided tips on how to retaliate against the FBI.
The messages came from @YourAnonNews, a source popular with hackers and tech journalists for its regular updates about hacking activities. In response to news of the arrests, the site said Anonymous would continue because it was an idea not a group.
The arrests were first related in a Fox (NSDQ: NWS) News report this morning that quoted an FBI official who said law enforcement officials in the US and UK were “chopping off the head” of hacking group LulzSec. Fox and other news outlets like Wired have portrayed the arrests as significant because they were based on information supplied by the group’s reported leader, an unemployed father living in a New York City housing project.
An indictment unsealed today accuses LulzSec and Anonymous of a “deliberate campaign of online destruction, intimidation and criminality.” It cited attacks against governments and businesses that led to loss of data and the the exposure of people’s personal information online (a practice known as “doxing”).
In response, the Anonymous Twitter site said “Love all, trust few, do harm to none” and downplayed the significance of the informant and the arrests. But this afternoon, it also retweeted a message proposing a “black fax” attack on the FBI along with a link to phone and fax numbers for the agency. Black faxes are a nuisance prank that tie up fax machines and drain them of toner.
The site this afternoon also warned members to beware of another as-yet unidentified informant described in the indictment.
The activities of Anonymous have become a source of growing popular interest in the last year, and the subject of books and documentaries.
Critics of the hackers portray them as nihilistic vandals while defenders say the tactics they use, like denial-of-service attacks, are akin to sit-ins and other forms of civil disobedience.