Since Aaron Swartz's suicide two weeks ago — an incident largely blamed on the charges being levied against him — the 'net has been grieving. And Anonymous has been doing that in its own special way: tearing stuff up.
In the latest of several attacks, they took down the US Justice Department's Sentencing Commission site and left behind a video threatening more cyber-carnage.
The defaced website which usually contains sentencing guidelines for federal crimes instead displayed a 10-minute video and written copy of the same message posted below it. First and foremost, it reiterated characteristic Anonymous rage at the situation saying:
Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed. Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win — a twisted and distorted perversion of justice — a game where the only winning move was not to play.
It also introduces a new Anonymous operation aimed at vengeance. The first component of the attack consists of fairly harmless, but well-organised Twitter hashtag hijacking. The second involves the dissemination of a "warhead" which purportedly contains very sensitive information about the Justice Department. The widely distributed files are locked and useless as-is, but Anonymous promises to supply "heavily redacted" versions of the documents to one media outlet, and threaten releasing the keys to the locked files as leverage of some sort. To what exact end is still up for grabs.
We have not taken this action lightly, nor without consideration of the possible consequences. Should we be forced to reveal the trigger-key to this warhead, we understand that there will be collateral damage. We appreciate that many who work within the justice system believe in those principles that it has lost, corrupted, or abandoned, that they do not bear the full responsibility for the damages caused by their occupation.
It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated.
As of now, the defacement has been removed, but the site is still down. And so far, Anonymous has yet to supply any of the juicy bits of those documents. How this will all play out is anyone's guess, but there's a chance it could be interesting. [Reuters]