The ongoing war of words between the FBI and the hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec has reached a new level, beginning with statements made last week by Steven Chabinksy, deputy assistant FBI director, in an interview with NPR. "We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable," Chabinsky told NPR. "[Even if] hackers can be believed to have social causes, it's entirely unacceptable to break into websites and commit unlawful acts."
A joint statement from Anonymous and LulzSec posted on Pastebin responded directly to Chabinsky's comments. (I’ve pasted in a screengrab of the joint Anonymous/LulzSec statement below.)
LulzSec and Anonymous have gone on a veritable hacking spree for months, with either one (or both) groups claiming at least some responsibility for hacking Sony's PlayStation Network, the websites of FBI partner InfraGard and the US Senate, and releasing information from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS).
LulzSec claimed in late June that it had called it quits, but this recent exchange with the FBI -- including a second successful hack of the InfraGard website -- seems to indicate that at least some members of LulzSec have returned to their hacking exploits.
The FBI arrested 16 people last week as part of their ongoing efforts to combat Anonymous, with the aforementioned individuals charged with contributing to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the PayPal website in December 2010 as part of a protest – dubbed “Operation Avenge Assange” – that was directed against PayPal’s decision to cut off donation service functionality to Wikileaks.
Another individual charged by the FBI last week was also allegedly involved in the first attack on the InfraGard website on June 21st, 2011. The FBI statement indicates that the individual in question “allegedly accessed without authorization the Tampa Bay InfraGard website and uploaded three files. The complaint alleges that Arciszewski then tweeted about the intrusion and directed visitors to a separate website containing links with instructions on how to exploit the Tampa InfraGard website.”
Do you think the FBI will be successful in tracking down members of Anonymous and LulzSec, or do you think the poor state of Internet security and the ease with which hackers can remain anonymous on the internet will thwart the efforts of the FBI? Feel free to add a comment to this blog post or start up a discussion on Twitter.