You all remember Robin Hood right? Fictional English character who was maligned by Mel Brooks and recently played by Russell Crowe?
Yes, This One.
Mythical or not, Robin Hood represented to many the quintessential struggle between the weak and powerful, between the rich and the poor. In reality, far from being a dashing figure supporting the poor by stealing from the rich with a smile, Robin Hood, if he even existed, was nothing more than a thieving ruffian, not too dissimilar from a guy rolling a 7-11 for loose change.
And yet, the legend of Robin Hood has come down as a man fighting against evil, Robin Hood, the criminal, is now Robin Hood the hero. With a growing tide of welfare funded and bored teenagers trying to find an identity in protesting against whatever power structure they can see, the ghost of Robin Hood is returning. From completely insane attempts to blatantly steal from banks through the so called “Robin Hood Tax” to the spirit of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, a concept of stealing from the rich to give to the poor is one which appeals to the anarchist supporters who criticize society from the air conditioned lecture halls of liberal arts degrees and Starbucks cafes.
I have no idea of how the banking system works!
But the Robin Hood Tax and Wall Street have to wait for another day.
The topic for today’s article is that of the new breed of vigilantism, aka “blatant theft and destruction of property”.
And, not surprisingly, this concept of anarchism against all power and authority began with an attempted terrorist attack and a Hollywood Movie.
In 1605, the so called Gunpowder Plot, an attempt by Guy Fawkes and supporters to blow up the English House of Lords, was thwarted by English authorities. This terrorist attack was planned by Guy Fawkes in the name of the Catholic Church and the Pope, as revenge against Protestant England. Guy Fawkes hoped that the blow would trigger a major uprising of English Catholics against the Protestant government, bringing down the political structure.
While the attack was apprehended, and Guy Fawkes was hung as a traitor, his spirit lived on, and now, the Bin Laden of his day is now lauded as a hero by those who share his spirit of anarchist rebellion.
The revival of the Guy Fawkes plot into modern society began with the comic book series “V for Vendetta”, which was later unfortunately made into a major motion picture. The motion picture, which seems to have inspired much of the stupidity surrounding protests in recent years, tells the story of a criminal and terrorist err freedom fighter “V” who wears a “Guy Fawkes” mask, commits acts of terror, murder, and insurrection, and then finally dies a hero fighting against a corrupt government which crumbles through popular resistance and protest.
The persona of this character has been taken on by both the Occupy Wall Street protesters
and by another, more mysterious, but equally menacing entity: The apply named Anonymous (Anon). Anon is a misunderstood entity, like a virus or bacteria, it is constantly moving, spreading, and growing, without a central nervous system, goal, or even strategy. Anonymous is the name of a band of internet activists or vigilantes. With the World Wide Web being the new Wild Wild West, Anonymous fills the role of the new modern day outlaw or bandit.
And we are all worse off because of it.
We are also retarded
Anonymous members are a secretive bunch, always hiding behind, you guessed it, a Guy Fawkes mask, engaging in hit and run attacks on their targets, and then bragging about doing so on Twitter, Youtube, and Internet message boards.
Loosely associated with the infamous message board 4chan (seriously, don’t go there unless you like making friends with Federal Agents), Anonymous have engaged in a variety of high profile raids and attacks upon websites and servers belonging to companies or governments they decide are oppressive.
A partial list of their exploits:
- Organising protests and attacks against the Church of Scientology
- Invasion and Attacks on the Epilepsy Foundation message boards (for reasons best known only to Anon)
- Iranian election protests in 2009
- Attacks upon the Australian government websites including the webpage of PM Rudd, the Parliamentary Homepage, and others in response to the Australian resolution to censor ISP content to block illegal materials
- Operation Payback : In response to the backlash against Julian Assange, Anonymous launched a fullscale assault upon companies they saw as opposing Wikileaks, including VISA, Amazon, Paypal, and Sony which included Denial of Service Attacks upon corporate websites.
- Operation Arab Spring: In this attack, Anonymous took down the website of the Syrian Ministry of Defence as a token of support for the insurrection by the Syrian people.
In all of these attacks, Anonymous is little more than a cross between a high school bully and a vandal who spraypaints graffiti on the wall of a building. They look upon themselves as the modern day Robin Hoods, fighting against oppression, but they come off looking more like a screaming chimpanzee flinging mud and sticks.
One of the largest, and possibly the most far reaching attacks by Anonymous, however, has been the recent attack on Stratfor.
Stratfor has been called the “Shadow CIA”, and is a global open source intelligence firm which both provides free intelligence updates, intelligence reports and briefings on a daily basis, along with research articles for their paid subscribers, and finally intelligence services for a number of government agencies and corporate bodies.
The site has been in existence for a number of years, and is highly regarded both in and out of government for their intelligence analysis and reports on economic, military, law enforcement, and counter terrorist topics.
In December 2011, Anonymous, in association with other cyber criminal units attacked Stratfor, claiming that the website was part of the oppressing elite by supporting the US intelligence bodies. At the end of the attack, up to 200 GB of data was stolen, along with the credit card numbers and personal information of 860,000 subscribers, including my own.
It was a rude shock the day after Christmas to learn about the attack. I am a paid subscriber to Stratfor, as I find their research and analysis extremely useful in my studies. To then find that the site had been compromised by Anonymous, a group I have long held in derision and contempt, and that my personal data had been stolen by this gang of thieves, was most galling.
By the way, the mental state of these monkeys can be see at the following, where they have uploaded to the internet the entire contents of their theft.
Take a moment to read through their post, I urge you, and then ask yourself if this is the rantings of a rational and intelligent mind?
After the theft of this information, Anonymous proceeded to drain as many credit cards as they could, donating the money to charities such as the Red Cross. Little did these modern day Robin Hoods think, but receiving stolen funds isn’t really in the Red Cross’s bag of tricks. The end result were increased charges for the Red Cross, as every single donation had to be returned and the Red Cross was charged individually for every one. Along with the associated time and expense required to track down every donation and return it, Anonymous may just as well looted the Red Cross.
To this date, Stratfor remains closed, with all subscribing members given a year’s free subscription to an online identity protection program.
However, hopefully anonymous has finally stepped on enough toes to justify a swift response against these idiots. Along with people such as myself who lost personal information, other subscribers include Malcolm Turnbull, David Smorgon, former US Vice President Daniel Quayle, Henry Kissinger, and former CIA director Jim Woolsey.
Stealing the credit card details of the man who ordered the bombing of Cambodia and a director of the Central Intelligence Agency? If Anonymous are lucky they will find themselves on an express trip to a certain US Navel Base in Cuba.
But what is the real result of such internet theft? How many of the 860,000 people who had their credit card details stolen were evil people bent on world domination and suppression? These would include academics, law enforcement officials, think tanks, students, and journalists. What is the justification for attacking them? What is the justification of costing banks millions of dollars as they cancel and replace credit cards, as my bank as done to mine (so don’t go looking for my card information!).
If the truth be told, Anonymous is little different than a shadow criminal organisation. Theft and extortion is just that. It is not couched in the romantic notion of good vs evil. It is not a struggle of the rich against the poor. It is the struggle of the criminal against the rest of society. And unfortunately, the rest of society has to pay the price for this.
Anonymous can bleat as long as they can that they are only attempting to protect people’s identities by exposing security holes. But at the end of the day, let us call a spade a spade.
I think that Michael Lee said it best:
I like hearing when companies pay the price for lax security, but in the case of Stratfor, proving that someone’s security is weak by spilling everyone’s details is like peeing your pants to prove your parents aren’t supervising you. It might feel good and warm at first, but you ultimately end up being the loser.