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Did Anonymous Take Down CIA.gov? 125

Posted by timothy
from the scheduled-demolition-of-the-old-bailey dept.
jfruh writes "The CIA's website has been down intermittently since Friday, apparently the victim of a DDOS attack. One of the more interesting questions of the story is whether elements of Anonymous are behind this — a question that even prominent members of the Anonymous movement can't seem to answer with any certainty. Perhaps this is obvious, but it seems that an anarchic, leaderless grouping can be hard to keep tabs on."
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Did Anonymous Take Down CIA.gov?

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  • XKCD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:56AM (#39033379)
    I think XKCD summed up this situation best: http://xkcd.com/932/ [xkcd.com]
  • If it was a Anonymous op. plenty of people would know about it. Possibly some little group that splintered off, but Anonymous can't keep secrets.

  • Means that there is no hear and possibly no rule.

  • by Dainsanefh (2009638) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:00PM (#39033431) Homepage

    Any "terrorist" attack, blame it on Al-Qaeda.

    Any "hacking" on any government or multi-national coroporation website, blame it on Anonymous.

    Soon people will stand united against these "fringe" groups, and keep giving up their freedom in progress.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:21PM (#39033701)

      Don't forget: Any invasion of internet privacy is for child porn/piracy.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:44PM (#39034057) Homepage Journal

      Any "terrorist" attack, blame it on Al-Qaeda.

      Any "hacking" on any government or multi-national coroporation website, blame it on Anonymous.

      Soon people will stand united against these "fringe" groups, and keep giving up their freedom in progress.

      Anonymous has quite openly made asses of themselves to the point where people suspecting them is pretty justified. They've made a MO of poking angry bears with a stick to hear them growl. I'll feel not one whit of sympathy when these clowns are sitting in a courtroom getting their federal indictments.

      • by twotacocombo (1529393) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:09PM (#39034411)

        Anonymous has quite openly made asses of themselves to the point where people suspecting them is pretty justified. They've made a MO of poking angry bears with a stick to hear them growl. I'll feel not one whit of sympathy when these clowns are sitting in a courtroom getting their federal indictments.

        Anonymous. They keep using this word, but I do not think it means what they think it means. It's like assuming that every Anonymous Coward is the same person. Anonymous here is really 'anonymous', not some group with structured leadership, dues to be paid, and a secret handshake. When you refer to them, you're referring to everybody and nobody in particular, so quit throwing around 'Anonymous' as if they were Al Qaeda or the New York Mets.

        • Anonymous here is really 'anonymous', not some group with structured leadership, dues to be paid, and a secret handshake. When you refer to them, you're referring to everybody and nobody in particular, so quit throwing around 'Anonymous' as if they were Al Qaeda or the New York Mets.

          Not really. Since many people chose to stand by their action and are not anonymous, you're not referring to everybody. Since nobody cannot do anything, you're not referring to nobody. So in the end, it really is just a bunch of anonymous cowards. ;-)

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Anonymous: They use a single name to hide their numbers.

            The treat about being "anonymous" is that it lacks the initiation rites. You can come and go as you please. No one will know you were here, no one will know you have left. Do you miss out on the accolades? Yes, but freedom is sweeter than accolades. Those who do not realize this, and go out to make a name for themselves rarely end up being free or anonymous at all.

        • by jc42 (318812)

          Anonymous. They keep using this word, but I do not think it means what they think it means. ... When you refer to them, you're referring to everybody and nobody in particular, so quit throwing around 'Anonymous' as if they were Al Qaeda or the New York Mets.

          Yeah, that sounds about right. In all three cases, we have a name, and maybe a few names that we'd never heard before that supposedly refer to their leaders. But nobody has bothered to show that there was an actual organization behind the names.

          For all we know, you and I and that guy over there could all be "members" of Anonymous (and Al Qaeda and the Mets ;-). After all, if they came and arrested you, for some appropriate value of they, how would you prove in court that you weren't a member? I for o

          • So what's your defense against being Anonymous? Or Al Qaeda? Or a Met?

            You can always join the local Tea Party. It's not perfect alibi, but I'd imagine it would make you much less likely to be questioned.

          • by Sinn3d (1594333)

            "Note that, if you visited cia.gov after reading this story, they have evidence that you were part of the "attack"."

            Hah thought of that! So I first ping'ed em to see if the site was still responding, still down - so no need to visit the site and give them evidence...

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's like assuming that every Anonymous Coward is the same person.

          As the Anonymous Coward, I am fully qualified to say that I am, indeed, the same person.

        • ...quit throwing around 'Anonymous' as if they were Al Qaeda or the New York Mets.

          Actually, there are some similarities between Anonymous and Al Qaeda... both of them have a group name and "militarized" rebels, but no actual central structure, with totally unrelated groups of people claiming to be members to get their own special point across. Both attempt to use shock tactics to get the sleeping public's attention and to draw others to their cause.

          After this, the parallel breaks down.

          As for the Mets, they've got longer clubs, better uniforms, and safer headgear than either of the othe

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Any "terrorist" attack, blame it on Al-Qaeda.

      Any "hacking" on any government or multi-national coroporation website, blame it on Anonymous.

      Soon people will stand united against these "fringe" groups, and keep giving up their freedom in progress.

      A fringe group like the white hats that believe the lies have gone on long enough.

  • by Agent Z5q (144666) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:03PM (#39033459)

    Do you think I would talk about it when I hack the CIA? Uh... I mean IF I hacked the CIA!

    If these guys in Anonymous have a tenth of common sense as they have hacking skills, they'll keep their mouths shut about specifics.

    • Anonymous can't keep secrets. You can be sure most of the IRC rooms where they coordinate attacks have feds and journalists (and anyone else who cares to observe or participate) in them. That's why when they want to do something that requires secrecy they split off a private group of people who know each other, like LulzSec.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Anonymous needs publicity to achieve their goals. Keeping what they do secret kind of defeats the purpose of their goals.

        Taking down someone's website without saying anything allows that entity to say, "We're experiencing technical difficulties."

        Blabbing about it and saying it was done as a protest gets a lot of attention.

        • That's true, but for example they wouldn't want the fact that they've penetrated HBGary's email system to be known until after they've extracted all the emails they want.

    • That would have been funnier if you posted AC.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      what's the big secret? they downloaded a LION or HION and ran it, big whoop. master hackers? master skiddies is more like it
    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      I was going to point out the same thing. If I had just accomplished something like this I would immediately pack my bags and take a six month vacation off the grid.

    • by noh8rz2 (2538714) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:36PM (#39033933)

      If these guys in Anonymous have a tenth of common sense as they have hacking skills, they'll keep their mouths shut about specifics.

      but they're in it for the lulz, remember? no lulz if it's a secret.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:49PM (#39034133) Homepage Journal

      Do you think I would talk about it when I hack the CIA? Uh... I mean IF I hacked the CIA!

      If these guys in Anonymous have a tenth of common sense as they have hacking skills, they'll keep their mouths shut about specifics.

      There are two kinds of skilled hackers: showboats and pros. Showboats brag in various places and settings about how good they are ("Look what I did!"). Pros keep their traps shut, and stay in the shadows. They also tend to have big paychecks because they keep their traps shut, and stay in the shadows. Showboats end up getting their doors kicked in by black-clad law enforcement. Though they're "Anonymous", they're still showboats, bragging to the world (and even threatening it... "We do not forgive").

      Sooner or later, the Anonymous guys are going to end very, very badly.

      • by sleigher (961421)
        I don't think you get it. Of course you brag when you DDOS the CIA's servers and take down cia.com.

        You will never hear a word about them rooting all their servers though. Maybe one day but that's only because they have to do a release of information.
        • And if I were the CIA, I wouldn't have my web-servers physically on the same network as the rest of my machines.

          Hence the XKCD comic.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why does your classification matter at all? Would your family feel better knowing you where killed by a random inner city thug with his first gun or a professional CIA hit man? Does it matter who robbed your house? Your shit is still gone and the end result is the same. People can knock script kiddies all they want but "professional" hackers and killers are not someone to look up to and admire either. Why people repeat your statements and repsect one and knock the other or write them off as losers is s

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        I thought the whole point of Anon is that there's limitless numbers of them since they're part of a 'mindset', rather than a specific group. Hence by definition, they can't really 'end'.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Correct! I'm disappointed with what's happened to slashdot in the last couple of years. The level of discourse here used to be much higher, and I kind of miss the old ./. A lot of posters on this topic still can't seem to wrap their brains around Anonymous and what it is. They seem to swallow the media's view of Anonymous as an "organization." An organization implies a hierarchy with leaders and managers and footsoldiers and minions, like a corporation or an army. But Anonymous is nothing at all like

    • A DDOS attack isn't hacking / cracking a server. It's the real-life equivalent of staging a flash mob (which in of themselves are not illegal).

      A DDOS attack is simply sending so many requests for information to a server that it completely fills the server's queue. Since there are so many requests, the server eventually "gives up" trying to service them all. Hence its name -> Distributed Denial Of Service. The Distributed part implies that it's more than one machine doing it. You can achieve similar resul

      • by Maritz (1829006)

        Even with forged address headers, it's not like the CIA can't Jacques Cousteau their way up the pipes until they find their 'attackers.'

        Many if not most of whom will probably be unwitting owners of botnet infected machines..? ;)

    • Do you think I would talk about it when I hack the CIA? Uh... I mean IF I hacked the CIA!

      If these guys in Anonymous have a tenth of common sense as they have hacking skills, they'll keep their mouths shut about specifics.

      First of all, the CIA's website is inconsequential to their secret data, or their day to day business operations beyond PR. The CIA does not keep anything terribly interesting accessible to the Internet. Never have, never will. The best you might do is external email servers, and probably not advisable either. Whomever this is, they are basically barking at one of the largest honey pots on Earth, and only generating data that could be used against them. I would hope that Anonymous members would be more awar

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:04PM (#39033467)
    Seriously, who cares that they were able to overload a website with their botnet? It might be interesting if they were actually able to hack into it.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@ p ... r e trograde.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:08PM (#39033519)

    No one took down the CIA.gov website. Did users "take down" Twitter when it faltered under too much load? There's a difference between unavailable and taken down. During a (D)DoS, the servers are still there, still serving content to some, not taken down at all, it's just that there is more traffic than they can handle.

    Compare this "taken down" to when the MPAA has a video "taken down" from Youtube. The specific video is no longer accessible, even when plenty of bandwidth is available.

    That said, I wouldn't put it past Anonymous agents, that they would send a DMCA "take down" notice complaining that the CIA.gov site is infringing on Anonymous' imaginary property rights; However, I don't think it likely that such an action would result in their site being taken down (the CIA's that is).

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:11PM (#39033557) Homepage

    Perhaps this is obvious, but it seems that an anarchic, leaderless grouping can be hard to keep tabs on.

    I saw an article in the paper not too long ago that talked about the Mayor of Oakland having contacted the leadership of the Occupy movement to ask them to disavow Occupy Oakland. It made me want to smack my forehead. The hierarchy drones have a fundamental lack of comprehension of "distributed."

    When evils progress beyond what is sufferable, you pass a tipping point where there need be no rabble-rousers. The rabble become self-rousing. These are the warning signs that our leadership has overstepped its bounds and we need to re-examine our dedication to the principles that hold us together as a free nation and people. When the rabble start rousing themselves, we would do well to assume that the more civilized among us are likewise displeased, but with more self-control. The longer we fail to correct our course, the lower the barrier to rabble-hood becomes. It's just the nuttiest x% that are genuinely acting out right now. Soon it will be the nuttiest 2*x%.

    • by binkless (131541) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:15PM (#39033617)

      When evils progress beyond what is sufferable, you pass a tipping point where there need be no rabble-rousers. The rabble become self-rousing.

      And the rhetoric will be self-parodying.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Occupy movement "organically" formed a concept called "the General Committee" where they attempted direct democracy. It didn't turn out well as the worlds biggest committee decision, & one composed of homeless people. I'm sure this broke the hearts of the communist party plants who seeded the idea.

      Even anarchists will organize a government given sufficient logistics problems to solve.

    • I know. Negotiating with the "leaders" of Anonymous or the Occupy movement is like negotiating a price with the guy selling you the Brooklyn Bridge.
      • by gmhowell (26755)

        I know. Negotiating with the "leaders" of Anonymous or the Occupy movement is like negotiating a price with the guy selling you the Brooklyn Bridge.

        No, not really. That guy gave me a really good deal. I'm just waiting on a little cash from this hush-hush deal I'm working on with a Nigerian prince before I can commit to the bridge sale. Fortunately, the guy with the bridge was willing to pull it off the market for a time for a small fee.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I wonder if this has anything to do with the rejection of evolution by the hard core religious right. There are few processes more distributed than evolution, and few mindsets more authoritarian then the extremely religious. Just a thought.

  • It's a .GOV (Score:5, Funny)

    by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:15PM (#39033619)
    They all left early on Friday, came in late on Monday, and have been in a meeting ever since. It'll probably be back online sometime Thursday.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Was CIA.gov apparently a target? Yes. Was access to it blocked for an amount of time, apparently at someone other than the CIA's will? Yes. These "attacks" credited to Anonymous are like blocking the entrance to a store or government building. Noone claimed to have "terminated" the CIA website, nor to have permanently "taken down" the website. Word in the Anon circle was that one or more servers, claimed to contain pedophilia, have been hijacked and programmed to continuously attack CIA.gov. As usual
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone ever considered that "anonymous" is a wet dream for those who wish to deny freedom and destroy the net?

    It's perfectly tailored - even the name, to be a problem that those fascists who wish to legislate away our freedoms online will have the perfect solution for - and I suspect that solution is going to look like an "internet drivers license" type identification scheme. They will want to remove anonymity online completely.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:36PM (#39033937) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps this is obvious, but it seems that an anarchic, leaderless grouping can be hard to keep tabs on

    And as for Anonymous, they're even worse!

  • by Xacid (560407) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:47PM (#39034097) Journal

    Technically speaking - if they don't know the culprit(s) then the culprit(s) is/are, by definition, anonymous.

  • At its core the CIA just lays the ground work in advance for an invasion/occupation. Groups like this should be rolled into the military since that's all they are.

    RON PAUL 2012
  • if anonymous had any confidence whatsoever about the takedown, they'd be crowing about it.
    chances are, it's the chinese, perhaps attempting to mask the attack as something that anonymous would do.

    i'm starting to really dislike those communists.

  • The CIA only uses that site for public relations, they've got their own separate system for all of their real work.

    • But Anonymous did stymie those evil grade school kids who rely on the site for social studies reports. That counts for something, doesn't it?

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      Anonymous isn't exactly a crack tactical team. More an amorphous general-purpose psy-ops.

      Symbolic victory is all they really ever need. As long as public perception remains that they caused a real headache, then it was a win.

      As long as they inspire someone to take up the mantle in the future, they win. Its all about hearts and minds. Every time some random person puts on the mask and stands on a street corner, they win.

  • by BitwiseX (300405) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:20PM (#39035275)

    though it responded to port 443, a common port for VPN connections using Secure Sockets Layer encryption.

    Really IT World? *faceplam*

  • I heard they just upgraded to the latest Windows 8 Servers?

  • Who Cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bwall (2455524) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:51PM (#39035697)
    I'm so tired of hearing what Anonymous has DDoS'd now. I'm sick of them doing short sighted immature attacks that only end up giving legislators reasons to throw harsher laws on everyone else. Its just a bunch of low tech, high profile bullshit that's fucking everyone that uses the Internet FAR worse than their target.
  • It's an interesting question really. In the last years, the media have been pretty fast to put the blame of multiple take down on Anonymous. Of course, some of them were planned openly by them on website like 4chan, but let's not forget that the "victims" have other enemies too.

    For instance, how much thought did the Chinese (the 21th century bad guy) put about cyber-attacking the CIA "after" they heard about Anonymous plan? I'm no expert, but don't you think there's a great opportunity for them to take adva

  • by unity100 (970058)

    was anything of value was lost during this downtime ? I dont think such secret services have been serving their people's needs for a long time now.

  • The CIA was testing some offensive DDOS tools.

    Whoops...blamestorm...Anonymous, the CIA took down the CIA.

  • If Anonymous is going after the CIA, that probably means that Boxxy is in the clear.
  • The website is just a flag, a sign post, a Hello World, for the CIA. It's not related to operations. OOOOH! HAXORS! This is like calling someone who guesses your password a hacker.

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