Saturday, July 09, 2005

 

What Goes Around...

I previously reported on the vigilante behaviour and threats of violence surrounding alleged hacking of Indymedia servers.

Now, Jeremy Hammond, described as "Political Hacktivist" has been arrested and charged by the FBI. The website - FreeJeremy.com states:
He has worked to defend the IndyMedia project from right-wing hackers by finding and fixing several vulnerabilities. While his activities have been ethical and non-destructive, he has found himself a target of law enforcement because he has been brave enough to stand up to the injustices of the political system.
The site doesn't link to the FBI's rationale or transcripts, however from what I can gather, it surrounds his alleged hacking of Protestwarrior.com who are described in most unkind terms on the Free Jeremy site. They are not happy that he has been arrested.

Protest Warrior have their own version of events:
In January 2005, Jeremy Hammond and the hacker group collectively known as the "Internet Liberation Front" gained illegal access to the ProtestWarrior server. Thousands of customer credit card numbers were then stolen for the purpose of making millions of dollars in donations to various leftwing organizations.
...
Upon discovering the hack, we immediately began collecting information on the breach and managed to penetrate Jeremy's inner circle. We then collected evidence that more than 5,000 credit card numbers had been stolen by Jeremy and the "Internet Liberation Front" and that they were planning on doing the following:

*charge hundreds of dollars per stolen credit card number as donations to various left-wing organizations by using an automated donation submission script

*send the entire ProtestWarrior HQ database (complete with usernames, passwords, and operation details) to left-wing groups hostile to ProtestWarrior (including the entire contents of our mail server)

*upload all credit card numbers and other sensitive customer information to hundreds of anarchist and left-wing sites (specifically Indymedia) as a downloadable zip file

*anonymously send press releases and material to thousands of media contacts to boast of the malicious hack and the millions of dollars defrauded, and to publish any and all sensitive information regarding the ProtestWarrior organization

*erase the entire PW server

*launch simultaneous attacks on other conservative sites

Upon discovering their plans, we contacted the FBI and the Secret Service, who immediately launched an investigation. We were able to provide them with a tremendous amount of evidence regarding the breach, the criminals responsible, and their plans to commit massive credit card fraud. We also reported the incident to all credit card companies involved to make sure that ProtestWarrior's customers were protected. With our help, the FBI was able to thwart Jeremy and his army of "hacktivists".

After contacting the FBI, we immediately hired a security consultant and removed all sensitive information from the server. We eventually moved the server to a new box, where we blocked off the system and data files from the web server and changed the online store software to a super-secure system that stores zero sensitive customer information. In addition, we hired an internet security firm to run a series of vigorous vulnerability tests on our server, which our server all passed.

The reason we haven't made this announcement earlier is that our customers were already protected and we didn't want to jeopardize the ongoing FBI investigation of Jeremy and his "hacktivist" army.

The reason we're posting this now is that Jeremy, in a desperate move, is publicly appealing to the internet community regarding his pending FBI investigation. Using his site www.freejeremy.com, he is trying to solicit donations for his defense fund and generate public sympathy while spreading slanderous disinformation regarding ProtestWarrior and the events leading up to the FBI investigation.
I can't really comment on the case as one side says he did it, one side says he didn't. It shouldn't matter, the US legal system is pretty good at examining evidence.

Compare this however to when the shoe was on the other foot and Indymedia had been attacked:
This attack against IndyMedia opened up again the endless debate as to whether it was correct or ethical that our defenders traced and discovered the intruder, and as to whether it is desirable or politically justifiable to request the FBI's help to prosecute the crime and protect us from future attacks.
...
Ultimately, of course, regardess of what the outcome of the debates will be, either law enforcement will do their job to protect our right to freedom of expression, as it is their highest and primary duty to uphold the US Constitution, or our own forces will deliver some form of Peoples' Justice by any means necessary.
Scary stuff! On the one hand, Protest Warrior, desribed by "Free Jeremy" as "an ultra right-wing group that tries to provoke and disrupt" simply called the FBI. On the other side, law-enforcement, including the FBI isn't good enough (or even the enemy) and such matters need to be handled (ahem) privately.

I loath and detest criminal activity. This includes illegally hacking into other peoples' websites. The above however demonstrates a set of double standards.

If Jeremy Hammond is foud guilty and goes to prison, he, like Jeff Luers may want to reflect on the company he kept and what role they may have had in inciting him to break the law under the delusion it was "ethical" to do so.

Update: Via the comments, Evil Pundit advises the petition on the Free Jeremy site makes for some interesting reading. It also makes a point I missed - his defence as cited on the website: "and no credit cards were billed" doesn't deny having the credit card numbers, simply not having charged anything to them yet. In other words: "Yeah officer, I robbed the bank, but I didn't spend the money".

Update 2: This post on Indymedia condemns Protest Warrior with some very serious accusations. The subsequent comments defending it make some very good points, including questioning the accusations themself. There was also evidence of Indymedia double standards:
A lot of the information in this post is unsubstantiated, especially allusions to violence. Additionally, rampant use of "quotes" was quite questionable, especially quoting words such as ‘mysteriously.’ Supplying some kind of source would help to give credibility to such "quotes."

However, I found the complaint about Protest Warriors "crashing events instead of organizing their own" to be the most amusing and hypocritical. Don't leftists commonly crash other group's events (such as the Republican convention, etc.) rather than "organizing their own"?
Update 3: 14 October 2006, Sears ultimately pleaded guilty. See here for updates.

Comments:
The petition at the FreeJeremy site makes interesting reading.

The first half of the page consists of supportive comments from his friends. Then some of Jeremy's victims and other unsympathetic people arrive to put their word in. Rudeness ensues.
 
Reb, Australia :

FBI lick eachothers' balls whilst being racist. Chris Fulton is Gay and so is George Bush and American government in general...but mostly Fulton, Chris Fulton


Michael R. Wally, Pittsburgh, PA

It seems to me that in the field of technological crimes, people are being charged solely on things they "could have done," as opposed to crimes actually committed. The term "thought crime" comes to mind. 1984 came 20 years late. God bless the USA.



K, Vancouver, BC, Canada
FBI: i have only one thing to say: screw you. What exactly is Jeremy's crime? What has he done wrong? HackThisSite is completely legal, although some members of it might not be. Go concentrate on your terrorism shit, and stop bothering Jeremy.


meta_phaze, Fuck you protestwarrior. free jeremy!


All came before any of the unsympathetic comments.

BTW: MY name, address, and CC# were stolen by Jeremy. I have no sympathy at all.
 
This dim bulb has been attending the monthly meetings for the Chicago chapter of 2600 group for about 7-8 months now. He has had some extreme problems with the caveat "nothing illegal should go on at the meetings". Thus, the poor guys who arrange the meeting have had to have words with him, and several of his pothead posse about drinking and doing drugs on-site. Even after SPECIFICALLY being told not to.

After he failed to find kindred souls, and other assorted mental defectives to go down with him, he started getting obnoxious and demanding access to projects being worked on by private groups within the mainstream 2600 setting.

When he politely got told to fuck off, he proceeded to hack his way in. Not to demonstrate he could. Not to show people the various insecurities inherent in their system. Simply so that he could circumvent what he perceived as access "restrictions" on himself.

When called to the carpet, he merely responds with "well if I'd been asked to clean it up, I would have". Patent BS from first to last. Every last problem he's ever caused, he's out the door before any chance is made to inspect the systems and ask for them to be cleaned. Causing more work for the people who own them, and now have to take them out of service for reinstallation.

About this time, it was discovered by the group at large that this idiot damn-near got mobbed off a stage at Defcon 2004 for preaching what he called "Hacktivism" or "Civil Disobedience". Nothing civil about it. It amounted to "Fuck their shit up. Hack their websites. Break their property." And he had to be escorted away by security for his own safety....you could see the feds popping out the cell phones to make the calls.

In short, this "hacktivist" is nothing more than a petulant, willful child. One for whom NOTHING is a barrier, so long as HE gets what HE wants.

He's not an activist. He's not even really an idealist, though he purports to be. He's just another dumb, selfish ass who will eventually wind up in jail.

I wish him copious butt sex....On the receiving end.
 
Wh00ps, Looks like Jeremy really pissed someone off, www.freejeremy.com is 404. :)
 
Jeremy not a dim bulb his thought hundreds of people computer skills that they normal would not know so before you go bashing some ones name at least get the facts stright so go to hell you conformist
 
People that say Jeremy is innocent or has commit no crime, have no understanding of the law or how it works. Just because he did not use the creditcard numbers, does not mean that he was not guilty of illegally breaking into a private server and stealing them. That's like a purse-thief being let off after stealing a purse, only because he hadn't spent the money yet.

and before you defend Jeremy, read this comment from a member of the chicago chapter of the hacker group 2600 found below this article:
http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2005/06/41146_comment.php#41262
 
Why is it that the idiots who post incoherent, grammar and punctuation free rants are always the ones defending some leftist shit for brains? “Conformist’, good lord. Could you be any more of a pathetic little goth nerd?

Try conforming to some basic rules of sentence structure and people might stop treating you like a petulant, ignorant child.
 
http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/74376

Jeremy Hammond pleads guilty in the Protest Warrior case.

In his August 7th court date, Jeremy Hammond plead guilty on all counts in the case regarding the ProtestWarrior break-in, ending nearly two years of controversy over his involvement.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday, December 7th for his sentencing hearing. Due to the nature of his offenses, Jeremy could receive up to twenty years in jail per count.

[...]

You also have to love what www.FreeJeremy.com looks like now.
 
Thanks, I've blogged the new developments here.
 
Sorry, your #s are wrong. There is only a single count, of unauthorized access, and even the prosecution grants that no personel shit was taken. After a complete search of jeremys and all his friends computers the FBI found NOT ONE item of personel info. At worst, Jeremy faces a max of five years, and maybe as little as 0-6 mnths, depending on how the judge reads the guidelines. And if sentanced, he will be sent to a camp, not a prison. since he DID NOT STEAL ANY INFO! Trust me, I've been at every court date. And are we all forgetting the people who hacked indymedia? Or is only leftwing hacking illegal.
 
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