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Purported FBI Report Calls Anonymous a National Security Threat 159

Posted by timothy
from the throw-in-some-typos-bill-so-we-can-deny-it dept.
itwbennett writes "According to what purports to be a leaked psychological assessment of the leaders of LulzSec and Anonymous by the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, Anonymous is not only not a collection of individuals, it's a coherent group that poses a threat to national security. Neither the FBI nor the Dept. of Homeland Security have commented on the document, which may well be a fake, but seems to reflect accurately the thinking behind a series of DHS warning bulletins and crackdowns that have resulted in 75 raids and 16 arrests of Anonymous members just this year."
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Purported FBI Report Calls Anonymous a National Security Threat

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How would they know it is or isn't ??

  • FBI should buy more dogs.

  • how long (Score:4, Funny)

    by jbohumil (517473) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:30AM (#37388656)
    How long before they finally crack down on all those Anonymous users posting on Slashdot
    • by lucm (889690)

      And what about those anonymous ftp users, there are thousands of them based on some logs I saw.

    • by macraig (621737)

      They've already started, dude... Google's helping them. Slashdot+ will be announced next week.

    • by herks (1144039)

      How long before they finally crack down on all those Anonymous users posting on Slashdot

      They won't crack down on them. The FBI know's they are all Cowards.

  • Of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:31AM (#37388660)
    Anything the government can't understand or control is a security threat.
    • Of course it's a national security threat. It's not because the government can't understand it, it's more for the same reasons Wikileaks is a national security threat--their operations may lead to the release of secret information.

      They may also embarrass people a lot and be a good bogeyman, which doesn't hurt in terms of getting funding to go after them.

      • Re:Of Course (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:46PM (#37390926) Homepage

        More to the point, could force people in government to act like public servants when they have really gotten to like being above the law.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, Komrad, we are NOT above the law. We are the law. Please get your facts straight, before we are forced to send an education team to your house.

    • Anything the government can't understand or control is a security threat.

      Right. If there's a chance it could undermine the continuance of government, even if it's totally within constitutional an legal bounds, it will be prosecuted and found valid in the US Supreme Court. There's precedent case law from the early 20th century. The court has decided, roughly, "the defendant is correct on the merits, but his actions threaten the continuance of government, so he'll rot in jail 'till he dies."

    • by Stan92057 (737634)
      Your saying there not a threat?
      • by Hatta (162192)

        Threat to who? The entrenched powers that be? Sure. The rest of us? Not so much. The average citizen should be more worried about bankers and the cops than about Anonymous.

        • by lennier (44736)

          The average citizen should be more worried about bankers and the cops than about Anonymous.

          So you're absolutely certain your password wasn't on any of the lists that have been released? Good for you.

    • Re:Of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Andy_R (114137) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @01:39PM (#37390140) Homepage Journal

      Anything that resembles a conscience is a security threat.

    • by hey! (33014)

      Anything the government can't understand or control is a security threat.

      You mean the government views "Rachel, with Cardholder Services" as a national security threat? Sweet.

    • by lennier (44736)

      Anything the government can't understand or control is a security threat.

      Pretty much, since the role of government is to understand and control the problems which are bigger than any smaller organisation to cope with.

      Do you allow untrusted binary code from unknown sources that you don't understand and control to run on your server? No? You fascist tyrant, you. Code should be free! Romp, little botnets, romp! Replicate freely!

      • The difference being I own the server, paid for it, it is mine. The government does not own my country, nor does it own me.
        • The difference being I own the server, paid for it, it is mine. The government does not own my country, nor does it own me.

          I think your concept of "ownership" needs to be upgraded from the kindergarten variety you seem to be espousing. Look up "eminent domain" [wikipedia.org] if you need help wrapping your head around what "ownership" really means when the State is involved. More to the point, if I decided that I owned your server, and took it away from you by simple force majeure, to whom are you going to appeal to attempt a recovery? Not the government, surely -- your quaint concept of ownership effectively closes off that avenue.

          • You have missed my point completely, so your insulting response is all the more hilarious.
            Comparing the State's control of a country to a person's ownership of a tangible good is so inadequate of an analogy that it becomes absurd and not at all applicable. Whether my server is for LAN use or is open to the public, it is my property and I can decide exactly what happens on it. This black and white paradigm cannot possibly applied to a government's control of a country, no matter how much you want it to.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Anything the government can't understand or control is a security threat.

      Whats funny, is that when i was a kid and being raised by christians, i realized that everything they didn't understand or control was "of Satan".

      I think it's more that Anonymous has the power to pry into the things the government doesn't want us to know, and they are scared, because they have been very bad with the power they have be given/taken/tricked their way into.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:32AM (#37388678)

    Money is needed to fight Anonymous. Give us money. More news at eleven.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since Wikileaks popped up, and then these guys rose to prominence, it's been hard to ignore the parallels between their mission and the anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I know, I know, transparent government and pure democracy -- but transparent government is not realistic and few really want pure democracy. The result of Wikileaks/Lulzsec/Anonymous is hurting the US, and the FBI, as a US institution, is labeling them as such.

    • Government shill detected.
    • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @01:41PM (#37390162)

      The result of Wikileaks/Lulzsec/Anonymous is hurting the US ...

      How? They're embarrassing a lot of political office holders and appointees by holding their actions up to the light of day. How does that hurt the US or its citizenry? Why shouldn't US citizens know what their elected/appointed officials have been up to? They're paying for all of it (supposedly), and a lot of them question out loud whether what they're doing is the right thing.

      If you don't want to look like fools, don't do foolish things. Smiple.

      If you want your voters to become disillusioned with "The American Way", by all means keep toadying up to special interests, ignoring your citizens, and run the country into the ground via back room deals.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I know, I know, transparent government and pure democracy -- but transparent government is not realistic and few really want pure democracy. The result of Wikileaks/Lulzsec/Anonymous is hurting the US, and the FBI, as a US institution, is labeling them as such.

      Here you have it folks. The anti-Anonymous crowd is plainly anti-democratic.

    • by metacell (523607)

      I don't see how you can lump in Wikileaks with Lulzsec and Anonymous. The latter two are trying to disrupt the operations of governments and corporations they don't like, which is both destructive and illegal. Wikileaks are only doing what newspapers have been doing for centuries - exposing secrets which are embarrassing to the people in power. There's nothing illegal about what Wikileaks does, and they do it to inform the public, not out of spite or revenge. Parts of the US government have desperately trie

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yes, but compare this last year or so to the last decade.

      Over the last decade the people sat like good, quiet little individuals because the government told them if they moved or so much as dared talk about doing something different to how the government wanted they'd be shipped off to Guantanamo and the government would tap their families phones.

      Really, the era where government saw no real resistance from the people did FAR more to harm the world's vision of the US than they've suffered since people starte

  • Anonymous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:35AM (#37388740)

    Please, Wall Street and companies like Goldman Sachs are far greater National Security Risks than any conglomeration of people in their basements DDoSing websites.

    • Please, Wall Street and companies like Goldman Sachs are far greater National Security Risks than any conglomeration of people in their basements DDoSing websites.

      How do you figure? I don't see Anonymous on the list of big campaign donors.

      • by Tsingi (870990)

        Please, Wall Street and companies like Goldman Sachs are far greater National Security Risks than any conglomeration of people in their basements DDoSing websites.

        How do you figure? I don't see Anonymous on the list of big campaign donors.

        You don't see Goldman Sachs either, they are anonymous.

        • You mean Goldman Sachs hacked Sony? That's really wild.

          • by Tsingi (870990)

            How do you figure? I don't see Anonymous on the list of big campaign donors.

            You don't see Goldman Sachs either, they are anonymous.

            You mean Goldman Sachs hacked Sony? That's really wild.

            I couldn't say, I doubt it. I mean you don't see Goldman Sachs campaign contributions.

          • by Zephyn (415698)

            The name's a misprint. It's really Goldman's Hachs.

  • Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChinggisK (1133009) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:35AM (#37388752)
    I found this to be the most interesting part of the TFA:

    "The Anonymous ‘collective’ has risen from an amorphous group of individuals on the Internet to the current state of a potential threat to national security. Due to the nature of Anonymous, they believe that they are a leaderless collective. However, it has been shown that there is a defined leadership group," the document reads. "A thorough assessment of each UNSUB’s online activities, speech patterns, and general writings was collected by the FBI. Each UNSUB was individually assessed by members of the SBU (sic) and a psychological profile created from these datasets."

    (emphasis mine)

    This is what some people on /. have been arguing for some time.

    Regardless, the document itself (linked to in the first article) is kind of fun to read.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      I don't doubt that there are currently people who others rally around. But nobody can speak for the whole group. There is no real leadership. If someone tomorrow decided to do new and horrible things in the name of Anonymous, nobody could stop them. It's not owned by anyone. If every person who had ever said they were part of Anonymous died today, the group would still exist tomorrow. That's the very nature of it.

      So you can't treat them as a group and call that group 'Anonymous'. You can target certa

      • If every member of Anonymous died today then I doubt anyone would feel like being part of a similar group for a long time.

        • And the day after every member of Anonymous died of a heart attack:
          Anon: I wish I could DDoS this site
          Anon: I wish that too
          Anon with hacking skills: I have this script for it.... let me see if I can find it
          Anon: TITS!
          Anon: I wish we rather did this against X instead of Y
          Anon with hacking skills: Ok, here is the script: *pastebin link*. Just make a bat file out if it, and use it, i also know a few guys who have botnets, shall we do it?
          Anon: TITS!
          Anon: Do it faggot!
          Anon: Nice script, i think I shall use it t

      • Don't be fooled into thinking that the FBI's procedures and assessment techniques can't account for nebulous or transitory groups, and don't be fooled into thinking that because a group is nebulous or transitory, that it doesn't have quantifiable and traceable characteristics.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      People on Slashdot are easily confused by the fact that the group is called "Anonymous", which is the same as an English word with a particular meaning.

    • If there is a defined leadership group they're damn well hidden and are somehow able to anonymously steer the will of the collective despite being a minority.

      So either the FBI is ultra-brilliant and knows more than everyone else or they're just misunderstanding Anonymous as law enforcement usually does.

      Also it's odd that they'd use speech patterns and general writings to analyze a group known for speaking in memes.

    • Of course Anonymous has leaders. A leader is someone who inspires people to follow them. However those leaders normally aren't "defined" (ie have names, ranks, titiles etc) and arise out of the masses when someone feels strongly enough about an issue. There are plenty of people who organise outside the Chans on IRC etc and think themselves bigshots, but they have no more influence on Anonymous then any other anonymous poster*.

      However if you lurk on the Chans enough, and spam your message enough, you will ga

    • Remember kids, if your group declares that it has no real leadership, and is a decentralized collective of individuals that spontaneously gather together, than the FBI has a real tough case to justify to their superiors. But, if they start compiling evidence that there ARE leaders, and those leaders can be held responsible for the crimes of the followers, then they can pursue a case. That's RICO. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act], and it's a big freakin deal
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Yes it does... in the same way that the compound eye hints at a universal creator.

        Just because an elegant solution to a problem exists, doesn't mean that some person actually set out to solve that problem and devised that solution.... any more than someone devised a way to grow cells into a lens, and others into photosensors. I think it is just as likely that it started as a joke being made at the expense of someone who didn't know what "anonymous" meant as any other origin.

         

      • by lennier (44736)

        Remember kids, if your group declares that it has no real leadership, and is a decentralized collective of individuals that spontaneously gather together

        ... then it doesn't necessarily follow that the group is an entirely leaderless collective, because propaganda, slogans and sincere self-belief don't often match up with reality. Look at the history of popular movements for a bit. There are always informal circles inside circles, people more connected than others. The people who the rank and file consider spokespeople aren't always the ones who are really organising things behind the scenes. Things which appear to have "just spontaneously happened" often tu

        • by metacell (523607)

          Things which appear to have "just spontaneously happened" often turn out to have underlying organisation which might be invisible to most of the people who turn up to the rallies. Nothing is ever a simple, smooth, flat collective, even (especially) in a highly idealised cultlike environment.

          The opposite may also be true: things which appear to be planned sometimes turn out to have arisen spontaneously. One such thing is language; naive observers tend to assume that someone has decided the meaning of words and which rules of grammer we use, but they have almost always arisen spontaneously, and tend to evolve according to their own rules no matter how language experts try to dictate "proper" use.

          I agree that groups such as Anonymous have an informal structure, though; some people are more influe

      • by metacell (523607)

        Everyone calls Anonymous a bunch of childish pranksters, but creating an organization that requires the FBI to jump through hoops just to open a priority investigation hints at deeper intelligence.

        It hints at collective intelligence, i.e, that a group of people can do things its individuals are incapable of. This is why free markets are usually more efficient at distributing goods and fine-tuning production than a group of experts armed with supercomputers.

    • by WNight (23683)

      First, it's the government saying this, they'll say any convenient thing literally without regard for truth. Portraying some people as a leadership group is their way of trying to pin everything on a few people, having huge sentences, and declaring it solved. They'd never have said it truly was a leaderless collective - it would have scuppered their case.

      Second, there's a difference between a leadership group and a collective of equals, some of whom just have more enticing ideas. Nobody in Anonymous can tel

  • Of course they're a security threat. However, I feel that the flaws that grant them access to they systems they get into are an even bigger security threat. Granted, they've done some pretty dickish things with the fruits of their endeavors, but nothing so horribly wrong that would make the surfacing of the attacks not worth the end result.

    While I would prefer that they be a group of white hats informing the companies they break into of their ability to do so, I certainly prefer their gray hat, chaotic ne
    • Again we have a case where people blame the crackers/hackers for pointing out security flaws and instead of focusing on the flaws which are the actual threat. So much MORE harm can be caused but when somebody exploits that in a relatively harmless way it is a constructive lesson akin to the master smacking you down (but not easily killing you.) This blame the messenger crap has got to stop!

      They are not a real national security threat; however, they are a big threat to the corrupt and greedy... Even the more

      • Any decentralized group is going to have moments where some individuals will have a popular vision or best communicate or best organize RISE TO THE TOP but that does not make them leaders. If everybody was the leader the group wouldn't function; there is no formal leadership just those who take up positions needing to be filled - the highly successful or popular end up becoming leaders but such groups are not built upon those individuals and can sustain the loss. MLK wasn't the leader of the civil rights movement, he didn't start it either; he was just one who rose up above the others because of his communication skills to grab the nation's attention. Useful but non-essential and he himself knew this; despite the warped monument seems to project...(he'd not want it focused so much upon him...again, we repeat the mistake...)

        Reading missives from the FBI on Anonymous is like watching those poor people with the loaded for bear spaceship bearing down on The Festival in Singularity Sky by Charles Stross, as if somehow superior weaponry was the answer.

        The only clueful thing in that document is when they say that actual deaths resulting from the attacks would likely have a very negative effect on Anonymous, which is likely true. Deaths of Anonymous members may or may not have an effect. If those deaths are caused by the FBI or other

      • There are more constructive ways of informing out security flaws then publicly releasing compromised data.

        You can argue that the threat imposed by the group is relatively harmless, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously. If a small group with questionable ethics can cause a big company to go broke by sabotaging their systems, they should be considered a potential security threat.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Running around shooting random civilians will tend to show that, in general, street clothes aren't bullet proof.

        Is the common person going to take away the idea they should be wearing body armor all the time or that there's thugs running around randomly murdering people?

        • Running around shooting random civilians will tend to show that, in general, street clothes aren't bullet proof.

          Is the common person going to take away the idea they should be wearing body armor all the time or that there's thugs running around randomly murdering people?

          Depends on the "common" person, I should think:

          Common liberal: only way to stop these thugs is to take away their guns. pulls out wallet and throws money at the Democratic Party.

          Common conservative: only way to stop these thugs is to make the police more powerful. pulls out wallet and throws money at the Republican Party.

          Common libertarian: only way to deal with this situation is to make sure there is a liberal or conservative between me and the bullets. pulls out wallet and opens a bodyguard s

  • Purported FBI Report Calls Anonymous a National Security Threat

    I'm not seeing the problem here.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We're really taking this posting at face value? It's clearly fraudulent. Ars does a good work-up on just how wrong this "document" is:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/bisexual-money-grubber-with-aspergers-how-to-troll-anonymous.ars

    Garbage story.

  • Because the biggest and most dangerous enemy this nation has is the US Federal Government themselves...
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:45AM (#37388924) Homepage

    For the record, (because I know someone is reading this) I am not, never have been and never intend to be a member of anonymous. But I have to wonder what constitutes membership? To be a coherent group, there has to be leadership of some kind and/or some form of permission or acceptance in the group. I have resisted the curiosity thus far, but what if I learned where the anonymous chatrooms are and joined them just to see what's going on? Does that make me a member? Does that prove or indicate my involvement? What if I decided to 'troll' said chatrooms and started spewing nonsense? Does that make me a member?

    I worry about this because of the nebulous way people are grouped and prosecuted. The definitions need to be as clear as possible and words like "beyond a shadow of a doubt" keep ringing in my head.

    What worries me more is that they are being classified as national security threats and stuff like that. This sounds like the precursor to adding to the residents of GITMO and denial of rights under the US Constitution as well as human rights violations.

    I don't know why I am "worried" though... it's almost guaranteed to happen and I should be accepting of this right?

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      It's a practical measurement. Posit that there's a group of people who commit cyberattacks that are then attributed to the label "Anonymous". Functionally, that group of people is Anonymous. If you decided to, could you contact those individuals and work with them in the commision of one of these acts? If you performed a cyberattack and attributed it to "Anonymous", would standard outlets for "information from Anonymous" agree or disagree with your attribution?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I started going to 4chan when I was 17 maybe 16.

      Don't ask me how I found out about /b/ (the 'random' board on 4chan), but I did.
      I didn't think much of the other boards, and I was a little confused about the whole thing.

      Then I just realized it was a bunch of random people posting random things.
      There were these inside jokes that I knew nothing of.
      I was very confused but some things were interesting because there were discussions about games/politics/religion from time to time, and everyone was discussing this

    • I agree with all your philosophical questions. I occasionally check the "Post Anonymously" checkbox when I want to post some unpopular truth. Am I now a member?

      Until these problems are worked out (and they may never be), I encourage you to keep a copy of the Tor Browser [torproject.org] handy. Use it whenever you want to see the truth for yourself without having to worry about who's watching over your shoulder.

      It's sad that I have to be so paranoid in a "free" country, but at least we have tools to help.

  • Backwards. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:48AM (#37388966) Journal

    The FBI is the threat to national security. Anonymous simply reveals how insecure we are.

    • by medv4380 (1604309)
      You are insecure every minute of every day. What is to stop anyone from pulling a gun on you, beating you up, or just robbing you blind at any point in time. Your logic in defending Anonymous as "simply reveals how insecure we are." is the same as saying it's the store owners fault that the gang came by destroyed his store, took his money, and violated his wife. Oh, he should have had beater locks on his shops doors, less money in the till, and his wife locked away out of site. Is that it?
    • by kiwimate (458274)

      The FBI is the threat to national security.

      Wow. Really? Wow. Enlighten me - exactly how is the FBI a threat to national security? Spell it out for me, please.

      Anonymous simply reveals how insecure we are.

      Perhaps a little. I think it's more the case that Anonymous simply reveals the dangers of a plethora of immature kids with more powerful tools than they can handle.

      (Score:5, Insightful)

      Sigh. Dumb post boosted up by dumb moderators who think a pithy comment is automatically insightful. It's not.

  • Sounds like they are a Clear and Present Danger ... time to send in Jack Ryan.

    The Harrison Ford version, not the Ben Affleck version ...

  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:51AM (#37389028)

    They are "group" or wannabes and losers. They aren't a security threat, they are a joke.

  • by emagery (914122)
    Starting to sound like the FBI is a threat to national security. I'm sure there are some really great people working there doing really important things; and investigating criminal activity (or protecting soldiers on the battlefield) is important! But when you start being afraid of the truth, you're also doing something wrong.
    • by PickyH3D (680158)

      Hacking into police departments and releasing their officers personal details without reason or regard to whom is actually being targeted is absolutely a threat to both local and national security.

      People have been extremely ignorant of the serious problems that Anonymous is causing and, more importantly, that it has shown that it is both capable of, and willing to cause. Just like Lulz Sec, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, or a business gets crushed.

      It's important to have people reminding us

  • Anonymous makes very public hacks, generally of pretty low impact. Are we to assume that they are the only ones hacking? What about the Chinese government? What about hackers who don't spin around and start bragging about their hacks?

    How many times have credit card numbers and personal info been taken with no publication? How many times have organizations like the FBI and CIA been harangued or penetrated without public disclosure? If Anonymous can do it, it indicates a significant failure in security o

  • which may well be a fake, but seems to reflect accurately the thinking behind a series of DHS

    In other words, it probably fake, but we want to believe.

  • It opens up all kinds of legal methods to track, surveil, and identify potential Anonymous members that wouldn't be possible for a 'nuisance' group, and remove most of the privacy obstacles around getting information.

    The FBI is building up evidence against Anonymous and Lulzsec to get a National Security Letter. After that letter comes in, the FBI has all kinds of new powers to work with under the Patriot Act. They won't need a court order to subpoena ISP, internet, and bank records, and wiretaps can b
  • The real reason the FBI found Anonymous not to just be a collection of individuals can be found in this leaked classified recording:
    (Transcript below):

    Subject: Secret Anonymous Gathering 20100924 03:24:36Z

    (sound of chanting): "We are all individuals"
      "We are all individuals"
    "We are all individuals"
    "We are all individuals"

    "I'm not!"

  • The groups trying to enforce security in government systems are no doubt smiling.

    It is sad how the TLA's in charge of security standards are regularly ignored. Maybe these embarrassing break-ins will give them the power to force other government agencies to take security a bit more seriously.

  • The FBI is ass backwards at this point, they are back in the dark ages, maybe NSA or CIA would have more up to date view points on what is out there, or maybe some of the consultants that are being used by the FBI, but they themselves have been the weak link in security for government run operations for years, they are the laughing stock.

    Yes it is true any one possessing the knowledge to hack servers such as cnn, sony or even bank of america should be considered a threat, but not by this alone.
    What makes An

  • So is a mass protest or the truth or leader's liable for the (in)actions.

  • You have a group of individuals who have a proven capability to penetrate and/or disrupt computer systems including government ones, ill defined objectives and agendas and numerous political and national allegiances. Whether they are a threat in the sense that they plan to do something is up for debate. The fact that they could and most likely would is not up for debate. Even if lulzsec and Anonymous were allied in some sense with the US government they'd still be a national security threat.

  • ...after all, they don't have Bin Laden anymore.

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