Has The LulzSec / AntiSec Movement Hit A Wall?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Brett Scott


The past few months have been significant. Not only have groups of hackers banded together to make a few points, but they have demonstrated just how vulnerable most organizations really are. 

All the while attacking each other and trying to take control of the group's targets and political priorities.

There can be no doubt that LulzSec and subsequently AntiSec were gaining significant momentum and new followers. In fact, they looked eager to bring on new members by offering dedicated IRC channels and resources to teaching new members new skills and tradecraft.

However, the past few days seem to reveal that their movement is losing steam. 

Starting with new followers being teased and abused in the AntiSec IRC channel, moving to many discussions about what to do next, then finally to a malaise that is now causing many to think that the movement is over before it really got started.

Many in the security industry were seeing and hearing hints of "major attacks" that were going to take place over the 4th of July weekend.

Unless you were in Turkey where over 1000 web sites were defaced, not very much of significance happened. Sure there are few exceptions like the NATO server, the Twitter account for Fox News Politics was taken, and some other smaller events.

As of today, the biggest impact may have been their absence.

If you have been watching the AntiSec IRC you will have witnessed rather cruel treatment of new followers called 'newfags'. Ranging from baiting new users to join a group called #kill which instantly kicks the unsuspecting user from the IRC server, to witch hunts for users with certain characteristics in their alias names.

Once the match is found, they kick that user off the IRC server.

Additionally, the AntiSec used to have a stringent and sometimes incoherent set of "rules" that when violated, instantly kicked the unsuspecting user off the IRC server.  Just a very hostile place to be.

These are very good ways to ensure that new followers are disenchanted as quickly as possible. In fact, several old school members are trying to counter balance this. 

The rules engine has now been mostly disabled, and many older members are trying to get renegade abusers under control. They have no doubt figured out that it is hard to find sympathy when your group behaves worse than those who they say they oppose.

I believe that this behavior represents an undercurrent of anger.  Anger at the stagnation of their movement.

Frustration during the early phases of a movement is a well known issue. It would appear that those members of the anonymous group are having a hard time maintaining their momentum with members being hauled off to jail at a frantic pace and those core members who are left over not able to effect the same level of attacks and success they had before.

I am certain that all of us in the security industry are eager to find out if this is really the final blow and the movement shatters or if this realization renews the members.  Time will tell.

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