Anonymous Calls Bulls#%t on FBI’s Claims of Victory

In a report published earlier today which we’re loath to attribute to The Huffington Post, an official from the FBI claims the agency has crippled the capacity of the ”hacktivist” network Anonymous to mount the large-scale cyber attacks for which it became renown.

Referring to the arrests last year of “the largest players” in the affiliated LulzSec hacker collective — and the cooperation gained from one particular member who turned informant — the leader of the FBI’s cyber division in New York, assistant special agent Austin P. Berglas, says a chill effect on major cyber attacks has resulted from distrust and operational incapacity within the organization.

A member representing Anonymous jibed to RYOT News in an e-mail, “So the FBI took out a handful of hackers. It’s funny that they’re bragging about it like they actually captured a terrorist or something — which we’ve learned over the past decade, especially 2013, they aren’t very good at.”

Antagonism of Federal agencies isn’t new to the organization which, through LulzSec, shut down the CIA’s web site for over two hours through denial of service attacks in 2011 and mounted a coordinated series of incursions themed “Fuck the FBI Friday,” which included infiltration of IRC Federal, a company that contracts with the Bureau.

“Agent Berglas clearly has no understanding of what Anonymous is,” the organization’s representative told RYOT News, claiming that the majority of people who invoke the language and imagery ordinarily attributed to Anonymous (e.g. Guy Fawkes masks, etc.) are using the organization to advance their own causes.

But that hasn’t reduced the vigilance with which Anonymous is viewed by governmental agencies. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander warned of the looming capability of the organization to cause mass power outages via cyber attack. Anonymous, at the time, responded via Twitter, “Why would Anons take out power grids when lives depend on them?”

As for Berglas’ assertions, he didn’t disclose specific supporting information beyond the anecdotal observation of reduced hacktivity claimed by Anonymous, stating “they’re still yacking [sic] on Twitter and posting things, but you don’t hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches.”

Anonymous’ representative suggested that, rather than dispersing, organization members have simply gone further underground. “Agent Berglas and the rest of the FBI have to know that if the federal government doesn’t reverse course soon (which it’s not, they’re becoming more corrupt), people are going to retaliate, to protect themselves and their communities, and the FBI will start seeing plenty of these ‘large breaches’ they mentioned.”

Nevertheless, the FBI has been successful in prosecuting hacktivists to date, the most recent affiliated hacker to be sentenced being Raynaldo Rivera, a.k.a. “neuron,” a.k.a. “royal,” on August 9. His participation in attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2011 resulted in a 366-day jail term and $605,663 in restitution.

Still, if Anonymous’ representative is to be believed, recent victories scored by authorities have been largely hollow.

“It’s sad that the FBI’s claim to fame right now is locking up a bunch of kids that have never endangered anyone’s life. Maybe in the future they can have more to brag about. That is, if they ever figure out how to read their own intelligence reports. On behalf of the people of Boston, we sure would appreciate it.”