A hacker who disabled the website of a New Zealand company dedicated to helping feed poor children could face legal consequences in his home country of Spain after his attack spurred a Facebook/Twitter posse and incurred the wrath of members of Anonymous, who he may have been trying to impress.
Anonymous, a loose-knit hacker group that's been the bane of governments and corporations worldwide, apparently doesn't take kindly to those who pick on charities or organizations devoted to helping children, such as Bryan Bruce's Red Sky Film & Television, which produced a documentary about the effects of poverty on kids in New Zealand. Proceeds from sales of the film go to the cause.
Red Sky's site, where such sales occurred, was attacked July 25 by someone using the Twitter account @AnonVoldemort and name The Lord of Darkness:
The Spanish in parentheses translates to: "Not on behalf of Anonymous."
While the hacker would close that Twitter account and erase much of what he left on the Red Sky site -- including a boastful "Hacked by @AnonVoldemort" -- there remains a not-at-all-funny "LOL," highlighted by me below:
Once Bruce realized the extent of the damage, he posted a plea for help in finding the perpetrator to Facebook. Among those stepping up was a friend who via Twitter enlisted the aid of an Anonymous member already familiar with the charitable work of Red Sky Film & Television. Here's an exchange between that Anonymous member, @DomainerAnon, and the alleged hacker.
While Bruce does not know who exactly identified the suspect, within a few days he received via email the name of a 35-year-old man who reportedly lives in Madrid with his mother.
While credit appears due to Anonymous in this case, it remains unclear whether the story can be considered to have had a happy ending, given that the Red Sky site remains inoperative and faces expensive corrective work (apparently no backup exists) ... and there's no guarantee the Spanish authorities will be bringing anyone to justice. Yet Bruce tells me via Facebook that he remains optimistic that justice will be done.
"The Madrid Police have already replied to my request and I am in the process of making a formal complaint through the Embassy here in New Zealand. ... I have hopes that if supplied with compelling and accurate information they would act. Why wouldn't they if it is handed to them on a plate? It's not a good look for Spaniards to be bringing down a charity site that feeds poor kids in New Zealand is it?"
In an interview with The Herald of New Zealand, Bruce provides additional details about what he's learned through this trying episode.
"Apparently, one of the (Anonymous) rules is you don't hack charity sites, you don't hack sites of people trying to help kids. This guy was trying to impress them, to try and get into their group and boasting about what he'd done - but they turned on him, they chased him."
Mr. Bruce said it was good to see Anonymous doing the right thing.
"This is the other side of this group. I'm not going to make comment about what they do in other areas, but this was a real Robin Hood thing. They just decided this was not good. It's extraordinary."
It'll be even more extraordinary when someone is charged with the crime.
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