This Is What Happens When Anonymous Tries To Destroy You

For about a year, Anonymous has been the Internet's greatest spectacle: raucous hacks, federal takedowns, scheming, betrayal and giggles. It's hard not to be entertained by the nihilistic marauders -- unless they're threatening your life and children.

This is the other side of Anon.

Jennifer Emick is a 40-year-old geek, living an ostensibly average-as-hell middle class life in Michigan with her husband and kids. At some point during any given phone conversation with Emick, she'll probably pause and holler at one of these kids in the same way every mother on the planet is hollering at one child or another. The only difference is that this Midwestern mum revealed the notorious Sabu's personal information (name, address, etc.) long before anyone -- perhaps even the FBI -- knew who he was.

Emick has spent the last four years battling Anonymous and it sympathisers. In the process, she's had her home, sanity, children, marriage, finances, job, and character attacked from nearly every internet angle -- what Emick calls a "group psychosis" that's sucked her right into its bilious hacker vortex.

One Of The Gang

It didn't start off as an internet slap fight. In fact, Emick recounts -- with a mix of boasting and regret -- her start as an eager member of Anonymous, not a nemesis. Emick began loitering around the early Project Chanology rallies -- Anonymous' massive anti-Scientology movement that elevated the group into the mainstream in 2008 -- as an observer. She wrote about Scientology regularly for, so naturally the internet-savvy protests against the cult intrigued her. She'd also had some "personal experience with Scientology in the family" that made these masked rallies more than an object of curiosity.

In 2008, both Chanology's activism and Anonymous itself were still rooted to mucous hell pit of 4chan, but it carried few of that site's pejoratives: the group demanded an end to Scientology's dubious status with the IRS, investigations into alleged personal and legal abuses against members, and urged generally sceptical shit-talking against the supremely creepy institution. It was anti-establishment, but the 4chan-turned-IRL group was organised, (generally) civil, and neatly principled. The rallies were rowdy, but not anarchic: "The police loved us," Emick laughs. She quickly befriended others in the community and served as a sort of PR manager for the Guy Fawkes masses. These friendly days were short-lived.

Another side of Anonymous began to supplant the crusading spirit -- the Anonymous of LulzSec, Chingra La Migra, teenage arrests, and general middle-fingers-everywhere. The principles no longer coalesced. Rather, egos took over, Emick says, who "wanted to move [Anonymous] beyond Scientology." And onto what? To this day, it's still unclear. The Anon agenda spans anti-capitalism, pro-privacy, Wikileaks, advocacy, video gaming grievances, and defaming tweens. Emick didn't want to be part of the pack anymore. But she did want to profit off it.

The Profiteer

Emick took her hacking background and close ties to Anonymous' core and spun them into a business: Backtrace Security. Backtrace, now operating under a different name, specialises in what you might call tattling. Snitching. Ratting people out. Emick expertly collects insider contacts, dossiers, and informants to use against Anonymous. Her most notable client, she says, is the FBI, but she caters to other undisclosed enemies of Anon as well. It's a simple business plan: she digs up the dirt and sells it.

You can see how she'd make enemies in a hurry. Lots of them. Lots and lots of enemies who hate her guts, and, this being the Internet and all, use everything in their (online) reach to drag her through the rankest web sludge.

And sludge-drag they have: virtually every insult has been hurled at her, every accusation, plausible and implausible. Calls, near daily, arrive on her home and phone -- the numbers were made public by Anonymous long ago, of course -- with the frequency and juvenile menace for pissed-off kids. And these aren't just strangers; her former Bactrace business partner -- a disabled veteran who goes by the name Hubris online -- has joined Anonymous in the mud-throwing after the two suffered a falling out.

Endless Attacks

The menacing calls are just the start, Emick explains, her voice surprisingly free from -- or entirely dulled by -- fear. "There's nothing stopping them. They feel like they have the right to do anything they want to anyone who gets in their way." What they want, in this case, is to hurt her and her family. Or at least to jabber at length about maybe doing it.

Jen Emick makes this harder. Jen's gotta go. So let's make her life hell until she quits.

Below is just a small salvo of what hits Emick online almost every single day. (Click to expand)

An Anonymous sympathiser posts her full address, with map, on Twitter. Emick's address is posted and re-posted regularly on sites like PasteBin.

A publicly Tweeted photo of Emick with one her children. And her social security number.

An Anon posts details of Emick's ISP account.

An Anon account repeatedly calling Emick a "bitch" and "c**t" over and over again.

A fake Twitter account posing as Emick's son, Asher.

An Anon threatens to "teabag sum anal cavities" if he sees Emick's child, which doesn't really make sense, but is still vaguely threatening and awful.

A call to steal Emick's identity.

A threatening reference to the school Emick's children attend.

A rival hacker suggests she'll "disappear" Emick.

Former LulzSec star Kayla joins in.

More threatening references to all of Emick's children.

Another threat from Anonymous.

Emick's Social Security number released, again.

Emick's home address is spammed ad infinitum.

Emick called a "stupid whore" who "needs to have her uterus ripped out".

Hubris, Emick's former partner, asks if she "feels safe" living next to a police station.

Now he threatens to call child services on Emick.

Now she's a demon who must be "purged".

Aaaaaaaand now a torture threat.

And, a cherry on top, "im gonna murder emick irl one day".

Again, this is just a sampler. Beyond this internet abuse, Emick at times gets hundreds of texts in a single week, messages threatening to put her childrens' photos on pedophile websites, and obsessively picked apart her 16 year old stepdaughter's online life, breaking into her Facebook and email accounts. Emick's even got an entire website (fansite?) dedicated to her own mockery.

Anonymous strategises about her openly on IRC:

Feb 23 22:18:33 bad news, jennifer emick may no longer be trollable -.-

Feb 23 22:18:39 f**kin gay

Feb 23 22:19:15 lol

Feb 23 22:19:18 threaten her kids

Feb 23 22:19:20 seems to work

They harassed her and her birth mother. She was deeply upset. "It shows though the lengths they'll go to," Emick regrets. The rest of Emick's children have been shielded from the abuse campaign so far, but given their age it's only a matter of time -- and it doesn't look like Anon is going to drop its persistence anytime soon, given its apparent inability to go on hacking rampages these days. "The only thing it takes for Anon to go against you is to criticise them," Emick laments. "Especially if you refuse to back down." It doesn't look like she'll be doing any of that -- when last I spoke to her, Jen Emick was working to blow the lid off of another prominent hacker, recounting her progress with a mix of joy and dread.

But the real question might be: How is this worth it to Emick? Death threats against your kids, privacy shredded, existence defamed daily? Is it worth pissing off the Internet's high school cafeteria? What can possibly make it OK to personally trudge through Anon's garbage heap every morning? She doesn't hesitate to answer: "It's challenging. I love finding stuff. Also, it's fun to outsmart criminals who think they're clever."



    She is 40... Welcome to adulthood, sweetheart. When you make a choice, you live with the consequences

      Attacking people to get to someone else is not excusable.

      +1 You choose your friends with care but you choose your enemies with more.

      ...and still nothing has physically happened to her or her family.
      People call anon arseholes but give people like Bush or Rumsfeld get out of jail free cards for human rights abuses they commit. Get a sense of perspective.
      ... oh and some journalistic integrity. Nicely lopsided article you have there btw. Spin much?

        so nothing has physically happened, so threats are okay? So if someone here were to threaten to harm your family or kids, you'd be okay with it?


      Wow, you must lead a dangerous, threat-filled life Adrian.

      This woman is hardly the shining light of truth and justice this "article" is trying to portray. I see some clown who joined a deviant group, saw a chance to make money by selling out her fellow members to their enemies, and is now crying foul at the group's reaction. The worst bit is that she (through her actions) has involved her kids and yet still continues to antagonise the group threatening her children? What a selfish moron and a terrible mother this person is.

    She sound like a &$/@ to me.. She decided to side with American Capitalism than fight it.

      So death threats and other vile shit suddenly becomes okay!?

      ...wrote Jake Spolding, on his computer that was built by American capitalism.

      But whatever, man, I remember being angry at the world too, when I was your age. You're eleven, right?

        Funny, most of my parts were built in Communist China...

          And who invented it? The first computers were invented and build by the Germans, British and Americans to calculate artillery trajectories. Later more powerful computers were designed and built by the Americans to simulate nuclear explosions.

          The components of your computer being built in China only proves what we all know. The Chinese are thieves.

            ummm... what?... thieves?

            ... no... just... no.

    What the hell did she expect? She litteratly profits from ratting these guys out and doesnt expect for some kind of reaction?

    Yep. No sympathy from me. The FBI is pure evil...ratting people out to them is the same.

    Wow, the above posters are dicks.

    Regardless of her motives towards profits, she was with anon when it was civil, organised, and about something meaningful (according to the article). They started crossing the line and she ratted them out, good.

    I haven't always been against anon, some of the hacks they do really puts people on notice for decent reasons. But this behaviour is despicable!

    So I take it you, above posters, think it would be ok for anon to do this to all the FBI agents that are doing their jobs too, huh?

      Yes, they should do it to all FBI. FBI is just there to protect the rich. When your family is sick and starving and you protest for this these agents are the people you will be fighting against.

        Yet the same poor sick yanks complain when the government tries to give them better health care? The American people are going down the drain. All the yanks ever do is kill each other in the most depraved ways. When they aren't killing each other they are trying to kill anyone who disagrees with them or their beliefs. Anon constantly indiscriminately. The result is that the governmets and business have to spend more money on cyber security. Money which could be being spent helping feed the hungry and cure the sick.

        After Master card stoped allowing donations to wikifreaks, and annon started attacking them. If they then announced that they were going to donate $50m to MSF or Red Cross or something, would Annon have stoped the attacks? No. Annon dont care about starving or sick children, they care about their short sighted narow political views. They use violence, and threats of violence, as well as causing deliberate damage to infrastructure in an attempt to bring about political change. Guess what. That is the text book definition of a terrorist. "ter•ror•ism/ˈterəˌrizəm/Noun: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
        Annon and all the little dangleberries who associate with them are by the definition of the word terrorists. They should be hunted down and sent to gitmo like all the other terrorists

      You are right. ANON should get back to exposing the secrets of Government Employees and elected officials guilty of Corruption and power abuse.

        TonyInTsv - You are a sick sick man/woman. I sincerely hope you don't ever procreate.

        Let me explain why. You've just publicly stated that as long as any large organization does a (paltry) donation to some heart wrenching cause you will allow them to continue or increase their unethical behavior... and you're just fine with that.

        You seem to be the sort of person that would smoke weed, tell your kid /partner it's bad and you would never do it, get caught and then buy them off with a toy so they won't tell your partner.

        I'd hope that one day that attitude comes back and bites you, but chances are it has, and you tried to buy yourself out of it. Sicko.

        if Mastercard gave a donation to some charity to MSF or red cross or something, Anon shouldn't have stopped the attacks. For the sole reason that the said donation doesn't wipe away what mastercard did.

        It's tempting to use Godwins law on you, but I suspect you'd whinge about it.

    This just shows anonymous for who they really are. Bullies.

      And what is the government????????

        That has nothing to do with anything here. This woman isn't the Government and I'm sure her family isn't either.

        Certainly not bullies. The government has a purpose, has a plan, is needed, is beneficial. Anonymous may have had those qualities in the past, but no longer. Do you actually understand what a bully is? Do you even understand what a government is?

      Not jsut bullies, but chicken shit bullies to. Lets see one of these retards stand up and say these things. Lets see how long they would live outside their mothers basements.

    This comment was deemed inappropriate and has been moderated.

    Who am i supposed to side with here when both parties are cocks to an equal degree, she is a snitch and anon are just juvenile arseholes.


      In the beginning she was with them. Then they started going too far and she got out. If you were a passenger in a car that was driving along and the driver decided they wanted to start ramming other cars and destroying property and you didn't agree with it, would you justsit there or would you call the cops and let them know what was happening?

        I'd call the cops... but I wouldn't try and sell them the information to make a quick buck. : / Guess I'm just naive, money money money and all that.

    She is like a mafia member who decided to turn her coat. Trouble will always follow.

      Which makes Anonymous like the mafia. Violent, self centred, egotistical.

        Anon are terrorists. They use violence and terror tactics to effect political change. Text book case.

      More like someone from a flash mob and a few people steal some crap during a flash mob so she sells out everyone there...and the cops want to make examples out of the people to stop flash mobs, so they bust everyone because its more about the message than catching the bad guy.

    I'm confused. How is she the victim? She rats people out for money. If she wants to do that, she deserves everything coming at her.

    Not only that, she's selfish too. By continuing to do what she does, she is not just putting herself at risk, but also those around her who have little or no say in what she does.

    She could have easily just left Anon without another thing done, but she chooses to piss them off by being a snitch. Again, she deserves everything coming to her.

    Whole article kinda has a Fox flavour to it now I think about it. One sided and playing the poor, innocent, law abiding conservative gets the raw deal from outlandish leftists card.

    Leaving an organisation is one thing. Deciding to make money by selling everything you know and can dig up is another. What do you expect?
    Try selling government secrets, or putting the information out for free. Hmm you will end up on trumped up sex charges and extradited to USA.

    I like that she keeps going because she likes outsmarting people. Its pretty smart to put your family at risk over something so stupid.

      Maybe it's not that dumb. She clearly regrets getting their attention like this but other than the harassment, which isn't going to go away no matter what she does, she's fine. She seems to have figured out that there's thousands of people out there willing to help rattle her cage but those people aren't invested enough to risk crossing the line and doing something serious.
      It seems like a core problem with the Anonymous concept. There's no chain of command and it's all volunteer so there's zero reason for a member to leave their comfort zone. There may be an Anonymous member who knows how to put a bomb under her car, but what reason does he have to actually do it? Nobody is making it worth his while, nobody is even telling him to do it. It's just a general alert that's can be ignored. Until it's actually his butt on the line he has no reason to step up, and by the time it is his butt on the line he'll be too heavily implicated to stand any chance of getting away with it.
      They can ruin your life with ease but they have so much trouble actually ending it. It's interesting to think about.

    She makes money selling information, I have zero sympathy for her.

    anonymous is an anarchic organization [oxymoron]. the very idea of no leaders doesn't work in human society (look at communism). as a result, as well as some leaders having quite noble minded ideals, any sh*t-rag can hijack the organization's name and use it for their own nefarious purposes. as a result, anon turns into a hodgepodge group with both unethical and ethical members.
    as cool as V for Vandetta was, it was a movie. any attempt to organize anarchy IRL doesn't, and never will work.
    while this woman may be using others personal details for her own gain, it is disgusting what is happening to her and her family, Humanity disgusts me... (myself included)

    Why the he'll would you feel sorry for this mole. If she wanted out, she should of just got out and not be a snitch. She gets everything she deserves and more. what a dog. If I saw her in the street, I'd spit on her

      And you would well deserve the asault charge you would receive.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

        No you wouldn't...and she deserves to be spat on, she decided she would make her living by selling people to the FBI for essentially protesting and uncovering government secrets.

        On the other hand the people that go after her family also deserve to be spat on, that is not cool, she is a horrible person, but her kids have nothing to do with what she does for a living.

    The general idea behind Anonymous is good, all their causes follow the same idea. Keeping people's privacy and supporting free speach (anti-capitalism*, pro-privacy, Wikileaks, advocacy). But because there is no structure people will use it for anything (video gaming grievances, and defaming tweens). Fine that she left, but destroying what Anonymous stands for the most, privacy, and selling it is utterly wrong and disrespectful. She deserves everything she's got, so far.

    *If anti-capitalism is against big business selling your information and using their money to control the government. Then I'm 100% anti-capitalism, but it's not!

      I don't care what she did. She doesn't deserve this.

    Does she make any money from the invective? does it give her more cred? There are those who yell at themselves and bark at doorknobs for effect. Is this person one of them? Could just be a part of the concentrated dismantlement and distraction operating against anon and all other non-approved activists now. Bit like how the arab spring is just getting the middle-eastern worm to chomp its own tail... for the benefit of who I wonder. Whenever you see energy expended and directed like it is here you have to wonder about who ultimately benefits... Same old culprits I guess.

    If you play with fire....

    Interesting to see what Anon are only capable of empty online threats these days lest they have to leave their keyboards and risk getting skin cancer. Good on her for getting out, at least if these hollow threats ever amount to some degree of risk to security then it will be money well spent by the FBI.

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