Anonymous, LulzSec Inspire Offshoots
It was only three months ago that a few members of LulzSec were arrested for their work in carrying out distributed denial of service attacks and other hack attacks on various websites. These attacks can do damage to a website’s reputation and risk the personal information of all a site’s users. These hackers are dangerous, and we can all feel a little safer using our computers now that they are behind bars. But we are not out of the woods yet.
But rather than put a halt or hamper their activities, these arrests seem to only encourage other hackers to continue their work. After the arrests of the LulzSec hackers, a new hacker group took the name “LulzSec Reborn.” There are also other groups out there like “MalSec,” and “SpexSec,” with each new group representing a new threat to our online security.
One question that eludes many investigators is whether these new groups are legitimate offshoots of the larger hacker groups, much like LulzSec was an offshoot of Anonymous, or if these groups are trying to gain notoriety for themselves by using an established name in the hacking community.
“In our eyes, LulzSec is a disposable and reusable brand. Anyone within Anonymous can selectively pick it up or drop it as they need,” said Brian Martin, founder of the Attrition.org. Attrition.org is a security site, and Martin has been studying the activities of Anonymous for a while. “By doing so, they cash in on the name recognition, and specific actions that may not be affiliated with Anonymous can be done under this banner.”
This weekend, someone using the “LulzSec Reborn” name and the LulzSec Love Boat ASCII graphic took credit for hacking TweetGIF, which allows people to share animated GIFs on Twitter. The group had claimed credit for hacking a military dating site back in March.
A group calling itself “SpexSec” posted on Pastebin this week the passwords and visa information of more than 200 suspected terrorists following the release of names, Social Security numbers, and birthdates of thousands of Tennessee residents earlier. Death and Taxes Magazine reports that SpexSec is comprised of two members of TeaMpoisoN, which collaborated with Anonymous on Operation Robin Hood last year. Scotland Yard claimed to have arrested several suspected members of TeaMpoisoN, which the group has denied.
And in April, a group called “MalSec,” for “Malicious Security,” released a video in the vein of Anonymous announcing its debut and discussing its differences with factions of Anonymous.
This is the nature of hacking groups and large collectives of people who may agree on one cause and technique but not on others. They last awhile before they break up and form together in different bands, until those groups get arrested or go their own way.
Anonymous members leave the hive “if there is no organizing principle, if they grow frustrated that they are not having enough impact or are not satisfied with their investment of time or they’re sick of trolling,” said Josh Corman, director of security intelligence for Akamai, who has researched Anonymous along with “Jericho.” “They’ll do one really noble, principled Op and that same week there will be three or four aggressive ops that damage the brand.”