It seems Anonymous and law enforcement authorities are busy one-upping each other. Someone gets arrested, the hacktivist collective expresses its anger by defacing yet another Website. It’s becoming a never ending cycle.
In the latest round of one-upmanship, Anonymous attacked and defaced the Texas Police Chief Association Website on Sept. 1. The attackers also leaked information classified as “law enforcement sensitive” and “for official use only” that was obtained. Some private email messages between police officers containing racist and sexist content were also publicized.
The site was down for over three hours, according to a post by member AnonymousIRC on Twitter. The site came back online without the modified content during the day. The attackers went back and defaced the site later in the day.
“It seems they restored the Website somehow without removing the backdoors,” AnonymousIRC posted.
The attacks were in retaliation for the arrest in July of the person suspected to be “Topiary,” who acted as a spokesperson for LulzSec and sometimes for Anonymous operations. Jake Davis has been charged with conspiring with others to conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks against the Website of the United Kingdom’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), a law enforcement agency. Anonymous has also promised retaliation for other arrests.
Scotland Yard arrested two men in connection with a series of Anonymous and LulzSec attacks on Sept. 1. They were in custody for questioning and being held at police stations in South Yorkshire and London. The police also seized computer equipment as part of the arrests.
“We are working to detect and bring before the courts those responsible for these offenses, to disrupt such groups, and to deter others thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity,” said Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).
The Metropolitan Police said two others were charged with computer crime offenses on the same day. Two others were charged earlier this week. All four have been remanded on bail until Sept. 7 when they are scheduled to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
In a separate incident, attackers took down the Website for the United States Courts for Ninth Circuit.
“You argue civil disobedience is cyber-terrorism. We think not,” AnonymousIRC wrote.
It’s not clear if the arrested individuals are the ones organizing the attacks or supporters taking part by downloading and launching the Low Orbit Ion Cannon tool. Anonymous has claimed there was a distinction between the two groups and law enforcement should recognize the difference. Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, has pointed out several times that taking part in a denial-of-service attack is illegal in many countries, including the U.K.
“Certainly the police appear to be mopping up a lot of suspected hackers in connection with the Anonymous and LulzSec hacks. If nothing else, that should be something for other budding hacktivists to stew over and perhaps reconsider if it’s a risk that they really want to take,” Cluley wrote on the Naked Securty blog.