(thinq) NATO leaders have been warned that WikiLeaks-loving ‘hacktivist’ collective Anonymous could pose a threat to member states’ security, following recent attacks on the US Chamber of Commerce and defence contractor HBGary – and promise to ‘persecute’ its members.
In a toughly-worded draft report to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, General Rapporteur Lord Jopling claims that the loose-knit, leaderless group is “becoming more and more sophisticated”, and “could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files”.
The group demonstrated its capabilities in February, says the report, when it hacked into US-based defence contractor HBGary. Documents stolen in the attack lifted the lid on the US military’s plans to use social network surveillance software, code-named ‘Metal Gear’ by the online hive-mind, which could control an army of fake profiles, collecting data from disparate sites and piecing together an individual’s identity by analysing linguistic traits and other details.
Describing the rise of the group from its beginnings on internet picture message board 4chan, via campaigns against the Church of Scientology and, more recently, in support of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, the report continues: “Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership.”