Elinor Mills at CNET wrote a great article about what old school hackers think about the actions of Anonymous, a group of new school hackers. In December 1998, a U.S. based hacker group called Legions of the Underground had declared a cyberwar on Iraq and China to protest human rights abuse in those countries by disrupting their Internet access. However the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) and a few other groups issued a statement condemning the move.
“We – the undersigned – strongly oppose any attempt to use the power of hacking to threaten to destroy the information infrastructure of a country, for any reason,” they said in the statement. “One cannot legitimately hope to improve a nation’s free access to information by working to disable its data networks.” The Legions group got the message and backed down.
The type of actions that the Legions group almost took part of is being filled in by the role of hacker group Anonymous. Anonymous participates in DDoS attacks, data thefts, and website defacements. However Anonymous sometimes encourages positive messages like urging people to vote in the elections this year and participated in a “declaration of war” over the proposed cybersecurity legislation like SOPA.
“Anonymous is fighting for free speech on the Internet, but it’s hard to support that when you’re DoS-ing and not allowing people to talk. How is that consistent?” said Oxblood Ruffin, an old school hacker and former “chief evangelist for hacktivism” in an interview with CNET. “They remind me of awkward teenagers. I think they’re trying to do the right thing, but they’re stumbling around and doing some really stupid sh**.”
However Ruffin praised an operation that Anonymous was behind. They shut down Operation Iran, a web site that the regime used for publishing hit lists using photos of protestors for government supports to target. This essentially saved lives and gave rights to the people. “If you are saving life, then I don’t have an issue with data theft or DDoS,” said Ruffin.