A Campaign to Smear WikiLeaks Supporters
Also see: “Audit Notes: HBGary Federal, Bank CEOs Stock Sales, Adam Gopnik,” | Columbia Journalism Review | February 11, 2011
truthdig | February 12, 2011
Pro-WikiLeaks hackers reportedly cracked into the security firm targeting their group, HB Gary Federal, and released 50,000 internal e-mails.
Internal documents of a California computer security firm obtained by pro-WikiLeaks hackers have been made available online, suggesting various ways companies can help undermine the whistle-blowing website as it prepares to release material that could prove damaging to Bank of America and other financial entities.
A cyber tussle between the hackers, largely grouped under the banner of “Anonymous,” and the California security firm led to the leaked e-mails.
It has long been known that Bank of America and other financial institutions are the targets for the next batch of WikiLeak materials due for release.
Also check out The New York Times coverage of the news here. — JCL
The story, first reported in the Tech Herald, has been written about in numerous places (see Marcy Wheeler, Forbes, the Huffington Post, BoingBoing, Matt Yglesias, Reason, Tech Dirt, and others), so I’ll provide just the summary.
Last week, Aaron Barr, a top executive at computer security firm HB Gary Federal, boasted to the Financial Times that his firm had infiltrated and begun to expose Anonymous, the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers that had launched cyber attacks on companies terminating services to the whistleblowing site (such as Paypal, MasterCard, Visa, Amazon and others). In retaliation, Anonymous hacked into the email accounts of HB Gary, published 50,000 of their emails online, and also hacked Barr’s Twitter and other online accounts.
Among the emails that were published was a report prepared by HB Gary—in conjunction with several other top online security firms, including Palantir Technologies—on how to destroy WikiLeaks. The emails indicated the report was part of a proposal to be submitted to Bank of America through its outside law firm, Hunton & Williams. News reports have indicated that WikiLeaks is planning to publish highly incriminating documents showing possible corruption and fraud at that bank, and The New York Times detailed last month how seriously top bank officials are taking that threat. The NYT article described that the bank’s “counterespionage work” against WikiLeaks entailed constant briefings for top executives on the whistleblowing site, along with the hiring of “several top law firms” and Booz Allen (the long-time firm of former Bush DNI Adm. Michael McConnell and numerous other top intelligence and defense officials). The report prepared by these firms was designed to be part of the Bank of America’s highly funded anti-WikiLeaks campaign.