Amid protests against controversial US bills that allegedly threaten freedom of expression online, the hacktivist group Anonymous is starting to target other governments that it believes are attempting to curtail Internet freedom.
The hacktivists have started working with digital activists in other countries to respond to such threats, according to a report on Wired.com.
cited the group's support for protests in Poland against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which will be voted on soon there.
The protests included setting up protests via Facebook with Anonymous mounting DDoS attacks on Polish governmental sites. Anonymous also claimed to have hacked into ministerial computers and stolen documents.
"The combination of anonymous attacks and Polish outrage has brought the obscure ACTA treaty back into the light and amplified the conversation in Poland about whether ACTA is good for Poland and the Polish internet. While the Minister of Administration and Digitization Michał Boni has said the signing of ACTA will go forward regardless of any threats from Anonymous or protestations from the Polish people, the treaty must still be ratified by the Polish Parliament to become law," Wired.com said.
It added the DDoS against some EU targets appeared to have dropped as physical protests started in the streets.
Wired.com cited reports that on Wednesday, protestors by the thousands clogged streets in several Polish cities, chanting and carrying signs protesting the signing of the treaty.
"ACTA is a secretive treaty pushed and quite possibly in part penned by the same interests that just saw their plans for SOPA go up in internet flames — the entertainment industry. It’s never been subject to any public scrutiny, but leaked versions of it revealed a requirement for provisions like a three strikes law that could cut people off from the internet and a reversal of DMCA-style safe harbors that have allowed companies like YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Google to function," Wired.com said.
It noted the Obama administration had said the treaty does not require congressional approval in the U.S., and will be implemented with an executive order.
“The whole government is basically being bought out in every facet,” said an anon on IRC involved with the anti-ACTA actions.
In France, the movement to stop ACTA was joined by more than 1,000 handles in Anonymous IRC servers. DDoS attacks were mounted against French media empire Vivendi.
In Brazil, a crackdown on a shanty town called Pinheirinho provoked attacks from Antisec.
Brazilian hackers sought help from black-hat anons who claimed to have rooted dozens of boxes in Brazil, looting documents and handing the keys to the Brazilians.
“Antisec supported the Brazilians because they asked for help. They consider themselves part of and fans of Lulzsec and Antisec,” one anon told Wired in an online chat.
Wired.com said the targets included a website of Organizações Globo, a large Latin American media conglomerate based in Brazil.
Threat to net culture?
Wired.com quoted Biella Coleman, Professor of Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in McGill University as saying the phenomenon involves a generation of people whose way of life is "inseparable from the net" see threats to their culture and are willing to fight.
“The op was rooted in some core issues that Anonymous and internet enthusiasts care deeply about: free speech, censorship, and intellectual property restrictions,” said Coleman.
FTC site defaced
The black-hat Antisec wing of Anonymous hacked and defaced OnGuardOnline.gov, a Federal Trade Commission website that distributes computer security information online.
Antisec claims to have hundreds of servers rooted, but this one sent a message to so-called “white hats,” the hacker professionals who work for corporations and governments.
Wired.com said Antisec threatened a "relentless war" against the corporate Internet if SOPA, PIPA and ACTA are passed. — TJD, GMA News