PP BLOG POST NO. 1,500: ‘Anonymous’ Data Cannons, The Conscription Of The Unwitting Public To Wage An Electronic War On Law Enforcement — And Google And The ‘C’ Word

Dear Readers,

This PP Blog post is No. 1,500 since we switched to the WordPress platform in December 2008. Two years later, in December 2010, we commemorated our 1,000th post in this letter to readers, which rued the lionization of fools and hucksters on the Internet and questioned whether criminals and anarchists hold the upper hand.

God help us if they do.

Our concern that they might only was heightened last week with the DDoS attacks in which electronic data cannons were aimed at the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, other U.S. government agencies and well-known recording-business entities after an indictment was unsealed in the Megaupload racketeering and copyright conspiracy case. There now are reports that a government site in Brazil was targeted, as well as the site of a Brazilian entertainer and other U.S. sites.

Yes, electronic cannons — specifically Low Orbit Ion Cannons that had been fired from secret bedroom and home-office bunkers in a contemptible display of criminality that had been trained on sites paid for by taxpayers and legitimate business entities and designed to knock them offline.

There are reports that Anonymous, the hacker’s collective that took credit for firing the electronic cannons, duped people who did not want to fire cannons at sites paid for by taxpayers and consumers into firing those cannons. Otherwise law-abiding folks reportedly were drafted into a conspiracy to attack government property, also known as taxpayer property, by computer code placed by Anonymous that turned their machines into information-killing weapons.

Putting it another way, Anonymous reportedly orchestrated an attack on U.S. government servers and conscripted unwitting participants to fire electronic weapons at websites operated by agencies whose mission is to keep the public safe from criminals: alleged would-be presidential assassins such as Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho; Ponzi schemers and six-time felons such as Anthony Ray of Georgia; securities schemers such as Jenifer Devine of New Jersey; scammers who target seniors internationally such as Dennis Bolze of Tennessee; alleged con men such as Andy Bowdoin of Florida; purported “sovereign citizens” such as Kenneth Wayne Leaming of Washington state.

Read more about Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom in the DailyMail. Anonymous apparently is putting him forth as a role model.

The attacks in which unwitting participants reportedly found themselves unwillingly married to committed anarchists occurred within hours of Wednesday’s civil protests of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills by Google, Wikipedia and others.

‘Anonymous’ Rains On Google’s Civics Parade

Neither Google nor Wikipedia got much of a chance to take a victory lap and marvel in their abilities to enlist the public to cow lawmakers and stop legislation in its tracks. That’s because the Justice Department announced the Megaupload copyright prosecutions under existing law on Thursday, a day after Google used the “c” word (censor) and Wikipedia staged its blackout. The Anonymous cannon attacks on public and private websites soon began, and the attacks quickly darkened and short-circuited the afterglow and PR bonanzas Google and Wikipedia had enjoyed during the 24 hours in which their presumptively utopian protests unfolded.

After being shown by Google and Wikipedia that Internet users practicing viral civics can freeze politicians during a U.S. Presidential election year in which 33 Senate seats and all 435 House seats also will be up for grabs, some lawmakers did manage to scrape up enough courage to allow that something specific needed to be done about online piracy.

But whatever needed to be done could be done later, the cowed politicians ventured, apparently after even more jobs, wealth and creativity get stolen by pirates who know that law enforcement’s battle against piracy is constrained by budgets, Congressional disputes, international borders, masked IPs and unthinking or downright criminal consumers who buy stolen property from pirates whose sympathizers include the anarchists who wield Low Orbit Ion Cannons.

Although Google and Wikipedia were hardly alone in their negative views about the proposed legislation, the opportunistic cannon attack by Anonymous that followed provided a stark reminder that extremists can hijack a presumptively well-meaning online civics lesson in a heartbeat and turn it into an international-security drama.

And because Anonymous is a loose coalition, the opportunity for “lone wolves” with their own destructive agendas to emerge from within the ranks of Anonymous is high. If someone in Anonymous decides he or she is opposed to, say, Sunday church picnics, then any church that hosts such an event and promotes it on the Internet could have its website targeted by Low Orbit Icon Cannons.

The PP Blog is feeling less free today on the Internet, the purported last bastion of freedom of expression. Although this Blog champions the First Amendment, its does not champion instances in which criminals hide behind the First Amendment to cover up or rationalize their crimes as a lawful expression of protected speech.

We wonder if our advocacy for law enforcement and content creators could invite Low Orbit Cannon-firers to train their sights anew on us, thus subjecting us to the mercies of a mob that empowers itself to silence our voice while it champions its own with the conscription of a viral mob. At the same time, we wonder if our publication of certain court documents could cause cannons to be trained on judges and prosecutors and investigators and crime victims, thus delaying or derailing prosecutions and putting the government and individual officers on the defense against criminals.

What happens, say, if an autosurf or HYIP with 500,000 members who purport to be Christians spreading the word that Jesus wants them to be rich decides the best way to derail a prosecution is to share a Low Orbit Ion Cannon among all members of the enterprise — or to create tens of thousands of websites designed to obscure or bury government and consumer-reporter warnings about international mass-marketing fraud?

And what happens of Congress decides to author specific legislation against HYIPs and autosurfs after learning that the largest sports stadiums may not be big enough to accommodate all the victims of a single scam — and an army of Bible-toting scammers start crashing servers or waging a disingenuous PR war against public servants and calling it free speech or an exercise in civics or civil disobedience?

This is not the America we knew in the first 20 years of our journalism career. Something has gone horribly wrong in the past four or five years — and much of what has gone horribly wrong is attributable to viral criminals and their disingenuous cheerleaders and abettors on the Internet.

A PP Blog companion site that featured news about Ponzi schemes was destroyed by pirates hiding behind servers on the other side of the world. The site’s content was scraped 100 percent and monetized. The thieves used us as their free labor force. It killed our site and our desire to keep it online.

The PP Blog itself has survived DDoS attacks and has received a claim of responsibility — not from Anonymous, but from a purported advocate for HYIPs and online money schemes. It’s hard to count all the threats or bids to chill us that we’ve received, and we long ago reached the point that only a machine can count the bids to spam the Blog with offers for obvious scams or solicitations to visit piracy sites.

For each published post, the Blog — on average — has received 100.09 spam communications. Looking at it another way, 100 scammers (or perhaps a smaller number with the ability to create the impression of scale) try to take advantage of the Blog’s work and ride its bandwidth and brand for every post we publish. Their business model is to flood antiscam sites with advertisements for individual scams.

At the moment, the scammers appear to be concentrating on PP Blog stories involving the emerging OneX scheme.

We are doing our best to keep you informed and are trying to out-think the scammers and criminals. Please help keep us around for Post 2,000.

 

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4 Responses to “PP BLOG POST NO. 1,500: ‘Anonymous’ Data Cannons, The Conscription Of The Unwitting Public To Wage An Electronic War On Law Enforcement — And Google And The ‘C’ Word”

  1. CONGRATULATIONS on reaching this milestone! Awesome work over these past 1500 posts. Keep the light of truth shining on these criminals, and here’s to 1,500 more. Job well done!

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  2. I’m impressed!

    I’ve been playing with the numbers: 1500 articles over three years is an average of almost 10 per week. Researching, writing, editing and the other tasks involved in producing that output has to have been a significant challenge!

    I’ve read all 1500 of them. If I and others donate, for example, $100 to the PP blog, it will have cost us not quite 7¢ per article. Not a bad deal!

    Thanks, Patrick, for your outstanding work!

    – PWD

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  3. Quick note:

    Sen. Grassley gets hacked:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71828.html

    Patrick

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  4. Lynn and Pat,

    Your kind words and readership are much appreciated. Thank you.

    Patrick Dunn: I’ve read all 1500 of them.

    I’m happy to know this, Pat. I’m not sure how many readers have read all 1,500, but I do know the Blog is read nationally and internationally.

    One of the great untold (mostly) stories is the vast reach of criminals in the Internet Age and the extraordinarily complex nature of the financial webs.

    I’ve seen individual cases that involve dozens of companies and bank accounts. Reverse-engineering such schemes is no mean feat.

    Members of Congress read the Blog. Here’s hoping they are gleaning a keener understanding of the incredible challenges confronting law enforcement.

    A case I reflect upon a lot is the Imperia Invest IBC fraud, which targeted deaf investors and appears to have had extremely mysterious offshore components and any number of criminal shills on the Ponzi boards.

    One of the biggest challenges is the mass production of GIGO, coupled with serial disingenuousness and willful blindness — often married to religion or religious zeal. The most alarming thing is that vast sums can be gathered in the shadows and moved at the speed of an electronic impulse.

    The security situation it creates is untenable — and not just for the United States.

    Patrick

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