Internet vigilante group Anonymous turned its sights on security firm HBGary on Sunday evening in an attempt to “teach [HBGary] a lesson you’ll never forget.” The firm had been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to unmask members of Anonymous following the group’s pro-WikiLeaks attacks on financial services companies, and was prepared to release its findings next week.
HBGary had been collecting information about Anonymous members after the group’s DDoS attacks on companies perceived to be anti-WikiLeaks. The firm had targeted a number of senior Anonymous members, including a US-based member going by the name of Owen, as well as another member known as Q. In addition to working with the FBI (for a fee, of course), HBGary’s CEO Aaron Barr was preparing to release the findings this month at a security conference in San Francisco.
Anonymous, however, felt that HBGary’s findings were “nonsense” and immediately retaliated—but this time with something other than a DDoS attack. Instead, Anonymous compromised the company’s website, gained access to the documents that HBGary had collected on its members, and published more than 60,000 of HBGary’s e-mails to BitTorrent. They also vandalized Barr’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts with harsh messages and personal data about Barr, such as his social security number and home address.