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Building a Better 'Anonymous?' 119

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the start-by-photocopying-drivers-licenses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A hacktivism panel at the DefCon hacker convention was conspicuously missing its star member Aaron Barr, who dropped out under legal pressure from his former company HBGary Federal, debated how Anonymous could channel its efforts for the greater good. Members of Anon attending the discussion chimed in, too."
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Building a Better 'Anonymous?'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    is channel it for the greater "corporate good"

    we long since passed the greater good he envisions and you can look at how we all are treated with caps and costs of the interenet

  • by DoktorSeven (628331) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:34AM (#37022866) Homepage Journal

    Anonymous won't do anything productive. They're too busy trying to get doubles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:41AM (#37022970)
    Will try to keep it short to please the tl;dr crowd.

    Whatever they are discussing, it is not Anonymous, the good old "Internet Hating Machine". Wikipedia is defining it as "(...) a group initiating active civil disobedience and spread through the Internet while staying hidden, originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan" but it couldn't be farther from the truth.

    Check the origins and the unofficial mottos of Anonymous. "Doing it for the lulz", "Because none of us is as cruel as all of us".

    Trying to pass anonymous a dark side vigilant group, a collective of Batmans fighting for justice in the shadows is part of the mythology some of these misfit teenagers would like to believe. In reality, the only thing the so called "Anonymous" is capable to do on its own volition is to troll camwhores on Omegle and to ruin teenagers lifes.

    All the rest of the stuff that is pinned on them can be divided in two opposite movements:
    1. Highly capable individuals, cloaking themselves in the unwashed masses
    2. Naive and idealist youngsters in need of a banner to follow.

    The first group is responsible for most of the high profile hacks you see, Sony being the most visible example.

    The second group is responsible for all the PR you see going around, and the most likely to go down when it finally hits the fan. They would be on Greenpeace, PETA or any other of these protesting groups but choose Anonymous because it doesn't require socialization.

    tl;dr: there is such thing as Anonymous, but it is not doing what people are pinning on them. There are hackers wreaking havoc and blaming it on them, and there are naive idealists pretending to be internet superheroes. The real original Anonymous is still busy hacking facebook accounts and tracking down camwhores based on the EXIF of their pictures.
    • No true Scotsman, eh Anon?

      This is sort of like complaining that there are no 'real' Democrats now that the Democratic Party no longer supports slavery or the Chinese Exclusion Act.

      Being able to critically evaluate and improve the purpose of both individuals and groups is one of the most fundamental drives that has improved the quality of human lives and is the motivating force of civilization itself. So yeah, I don't have any sympathy for all the butthurt oldfags that are all made because Anonymous has
    • by sigxcpu (456479)

      dude, I think your confusing "anonymous" with "anonymous coward"

    • by bughunter (10093)

      They would be on Greenpeace, PETA or any other of these protesting groups but choose Anonymous because it doesn't require getting shot at by Russian Whalers while freezing your ass off in the bow of a 12' Zodiac bouncing around in the Bering Sea, or having CS sprayed directly into your mouth while chained to the gate of a meatpacking factory in the blazing Texas heat.

      As much as I dislike the "FTFY" method of replying, in this case it seemed to work... One can perform "hacktivism" in one's jammies while munching on a mound of Pizza Rolls.

  • by BitwiseX (300405) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:54AM (#37023196)

    "If you leave Anonymous because you don't agree with something it did, then you don't belong in Anonymous," Housch says.

    The problem with Anonymous being so unstructured, (which isn't a bad idea) is that anybody can do anything under that brand. As much as I like the thought and the idea of Anonymous, when they attack innocents I can't be associated with them. That's off target. Oh, they don't attack innocents you say? Well you look at those massive password dumps and tell me that all those folks are "wrong doers". I guarantee that MOST of those users are regular Joes (possibly even members of Anon!) who are just trying to make a pay check. Guilty by association doesn't work for entire corporations from top to bottom. Hell, I saw a mySQL dump of passwords for a nudist colony tweeted by Anonymous. Really? A corrupt nudist colony? When you're THAT off target, that's the kind of BS that's going to be used against you. "Chaotic" is the perfect description of Anonymous, and I don't see how it will be anything but. It's unfortunate.

    This is why I don't call myself a member of Anonymous, and don't see myself being a "member" anytime soon. Good messages, poor execution.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, anonymous is just anonymous.

      it's not like you can blame one anon coward on slashdot for something that another anon coward contributes to the thread.

      but it's essential for how slashdot differs from many tech blogs to have that "post as anonymous" possibility - simply because then you get more possibility for truth that's logical on it's own.

      if you want to put it into context of the old copy-scene.. sure, there were few groups which distributed warez effectively - BUT the majority of (illegal)sw copyin

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You are not a member of Anonymous because you do not think like Anonymous. Lets look at those massive password dumps, would you rather have your password posted publicly so you can see it and change it, or would you rather Anonymous have kept the DB to themselves (as the majority of hackers do.) See the thing is, by publicly posting their hacks Anonymous is foiling the hacks of better more hidden hackers. If an anon can get your password you can be sure that some other hacker probably already has it.

      • And how many people are going to go looking for their accounts and passwords? Wouldn't it be better to contact the site owners to point out the issue and have them deal with fixing the bad passwords by changing them and/or alerting the users that there is a potential problem? If they at least did that and allowed a reasonable time to fix (where reasonable is not a matter of a few hours or even a few days), they'd get a much better image. I know a number of security professionals who see them as no more t

        • by horza (87255)

          where reasonable is not a matter of a few hours or even a few days

          A few hours might be pushing it, but a few days is reasonable to plug a gaping security hole that compromises all your users and can enable the identity theft of up to millions of users. As for wouldn't it be better to contact the site owners, didn't they warn in advance last time that they would be dumping the database of passwords? (was it NASA?) I would say it is fair to assume that if Anon have it, then more shady characters will already

        • by innerweb (721995)
          Wouldn't it be better to contact the site owners to point out the issue and have them deal with fixing the bad passwords by changing them and/or alerting the users that there is a potential problem? If they at least did that and allowed a reasonable time to fix

          I would have agreed if the predominant position of companies had not been have them arrested. At that point, I don't think anyone with any smarts is going to contact a company to let them know that the person(s) discovered a security hole and here i

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Chaotic" is the perfect description of Anonymous

      The real question then is whether they are chaotic good or chaotic evil

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Chaotic Neutral. Chaotic Good or Chaotic Evil would imply an agenda beyond luls.

      • by MWoody (222806)

        "For the lulz."

        I.e. they do things specifically because it amuses them, regardless of the damage it causes. That's pretty clearly not good, and I'd say it goes well past neutral and down into chaotic evil territory.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The idea of Anonymous as a brand is stupid to begin with as anyone can use it champion whatever cause they want. If they can find enough other people to go along with it, it might pick up some steam and get something done. Otherwise it just fades into obscurity. For everything that's been done under the Anonymous banner, there's probably only a small overlap in participants. The people who went after the Scientologists probably aren't the same as the ones that defaced some Facebook page or hacked into some

    • by operagost (62405)

      Hell, I saw a mySQL dump of passwords for a nudist colony tweeted by Anonymous. Really? A corrupt nudist colony?

      A Slashdot nudist colony... now THAT would be corrupt.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anon does it for the lulz. Doing things for the greater good? Fucking moralfags.

  • Anon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:02AM (#37023338) Homepage Journal

    Isn't Anonymous kind of synonymous with progressive anarchy? Here are ten things Anonymous could do if they wanted to really be recognized as a positive force for all of humanity:

    1. Develop a manner where a person could support themselves legitimately anywhere in the world. (ie: generate legit income from fair labour)

    2. Develop a manner where a person could know what organizations to support and which to avoid.

    3. Help inform people about what they do that is positive.

    4. Cultivate talent.

    5. Grow numbers.

    6. Maintain their own security.

    7. Shun asshats.

    8. Give and get some lulz that are positive. Remember sometimes the lulz are funny

    9. Create some technologies and give them away to the planet.

    10. Develop a future for Anonymous. What is Anonymous in 20yrs? Is it still an underground group of loosely affiliated people? Is it every human being on the planet? What are the goals of this group? What should the goals be? What shouldn't the goals be?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Progressive Anarchy? Possibly, but really everything I've seen so far regarding the Anonymous movement seems to indicate that they're the left's equivalent of the Tea Party. Only difference being that the political left has all but been entirely marginalized and shut out of policy discussions while the hardcore right now has a bit of a choke hold on government, as the default fiasco showed.

      Anonymous is supposed to be an idea, a "feeling" and not a centralized movement. It's the crystallized form of the poli

      • by mfh (56)

        Chaos cannot crystallize, so therefore chaos dissipates. Seriously watch SLC Punk! and you'll see what I mean. The guy figures it out. It's all bullshit.

      • by operagost (62405)

        Progressive Anarchy? Possibly, but really everything I've seen so far regarding the Anonymous movement seems to indicate that they're the left's equivalent of the Tea Party.

        The members of the various tea party groups are, on the whole, known. They also don't do anything illegal in the name of the group. Bizarro tea party, maybe.

        • by operagost (62405)
          Oh wait, I missed this:

          loud cockbacks of frothing fecal matter like Santorum

          You're losing your mind over Santorum? I rescind my reasoned reply to your trollish post, you stupid douche.

    • by symes (835608)

      You are asking a paranoid bunch of very high performing individuals to cooperate with one another and write a mission statement. I like the idea... but... er... oh look, shiny things!

    • by rwv (1636355)

      1. Develop a manner where a person could support themselves legitimately anywhere in the world. (ie: generate legit income from fair labour)
      2. Develop a manner where a person could know what organizations to support and which to avoid.
      3. Help inform people about what they do that is positive.
      4. Cultivate talent.
      5. Grow numbers.
      6. Maintain their own security.
      7. Shun asshats.
      8. Give and get some lulz that are positive. Remember sometimes the lulz are funny.
      9. Create some technologies and give them away to the planet.
      10. Develop a future for Anonymous. What is Anonymous in 20yrs? Is it still an underground group of loosely affiliated people? Is it every human being on the planet? What are the goals of this group? What should the goals be? What shouldn't the goals be?

      1. This currently falls under the jurisdiction of education / apprenticeship / schools. There are too many varied industries that any advise you get from a single one of them is going to end up being terribly biased.
      2. http://www.charitynavigator.com [charitynavigator.org].
      3. Anonymous has carried a good track record of punishing groups who sorta deserve it. That's a good thing, to me.
      4-7. Gonna skip these b/c they are too general.
      8. Practical jokes are actually really hard to pull off without causing damage... so this would in

    • to your #1 point, it's called software development.

    • Isn't Anonymous kind of synonymous with progressive anarchy?

      More like a creeping mold.

      1. Develop a manner where a person could support themselves legitimately anywhere in the world. (ie: generate legit income from fair labour)

      Wut

      2. Develop a manner where a person could know what organizations to support and which to avoid.

      Read Wikileaks?

      3. Help inform people about what they do that is positive.

      Project Chanology, anyone?

      4. Cultivate talent.

      Ha. Good one.

      6. Maintain their own security.

      Not an issue for an all-inclusive anonymous group that by nature keeps its borders open.

      7. Shun asshats.

      You miss the point of Anonymous.

      9. Create some technologies and give them away to the planet.

      Already happened. I don't know why people don't appreciate free DDOS scripts.

      10. Develop a future for Anonymous. What is Anonymous in 20yrs? Is it still an underground group of loosely affiliated people? Is it every human being on the planet? What are the goals of this group? What should the goals be? What shouldn't the goals be?

      You're overanalyzing Anon here.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:06AM (#37023388) Homepage

    How do you know they were members? Did they produce membership cards?

  • As the widom of Facebook and Google+ will tell you people are more likely to do good when they reveal their real names. Therefore, I theorise hactivists would be more likely to do good in their hacking if they used their real names!
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:44AM (#37023898)
    Did they wear Groucho Marx glasses or Guy Faukes masks?
  • "Star"?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Monday August 08, 2011 @12:15PM (#37024304)
    On what basis is Aaron Barr a "star" anywhere, much less a conference about computer security??

    When your (former) company is the poster child for how not to do security [arstechnica.com], I would think your main reason for showing up at DefCon would be if you wanted to be publicly humiliated.
  • There is an initiative in somewhat the same general direction taking place in Europe right now called ' Internet Activism Infrastructure Organization '
    http://iaio.eu/ [iaio.eu]

    It's people from the clusters WeRebuild.eu and Telecomix.org that are behind this new initiative.
    http://werebuild.eu/wiki/Main_Page [werebuild.eu]
    http://telecomix.org/ [telecomix.org]

  • Subby,

    Stop using these asinine question headlines. It's not clever. It's trite.

    Anonymous isn't a force for anything other than it's own amusement. If they did something good it was out of caprice.

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