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Hacking collective Anonymous alleges attack on Sony

Group claims electronic warfare in support of Geohot and PlayStation 3 piracy

A group of hackers known simply as Anonymous has claimed to be planning and perpetrating a series of hacking attacks on Sony in support of two of the hackers implicated in the PS3 jalibreaking furore.

Action, the group says, will be taken in response to the company's continued legal pursuit of George 'Geohot' Hotz and Alexander Egorenkov, or Graf_Chokolo.

Anonymous is a collection of hackers with an anti-corporate agenda and a track-record of successfully disruptive tactics. Previously, the group has claimed responsibility for denial of service (DOS) attacks on Mastercard and Amazon for their compliance with US government demands to stop doing business with Wikileaks.

You have victimised your customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information.

Anonymous

The group also claims to have brought down the website of the right wing fundamentalist Christian group the Westboro Baptist Church and infiltrated the email system of security firm HBGary.

A statement issued as a press release on the group's website announces the group's intentions to make Sony the next target.

"Congratulations, Sony," reads the announcement. "You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous. Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, has not only alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable.

"You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information on how your products work. You have victimised your customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information.

"In doing so, you have violated the privacy of thousands. This is the information they were willing to teach to the world for free. The very same information which you wish to suppress for the sake of corporate greed and the complete control of users."

As damning as the group's statement is, there also appears to be some unrest in its ranks in respect to the correct course of action. Last month, a splinter group claiming to be made up of former Anonymous members contacted Forbes and Gawker, calling themselves Backtrace Security.

That group claims that the current members of Anonymous have lost sight of the original mission statement for the group, being sidelined into 'hactivism' instead of playful mischief. As a result, Backtrace Security has threatened to release the details of several anonymous members.

The group also handed over logs from a private IRC channel known as #HQ which belongs to Anonymous, showing the group's plans to infiltrate HBGary as well as other evidence of criminal activities, information certain to be of interest to US authorities.

"The bastards are becoming arrogant sociopaths," Backtrace Security member A5h3r4 told Gawker. "Acting first, not thinking of the consequences. They're recruiting children. I am a pretty far left person - I believe in privacy and free expression, but Anonymous is a vigilante group now. A mob without conscience. And I worry they will radicalise even more. In short, I believe they're on their way to becoming a genuine threat."

Whether the group's efforts will have any bearing on the Sony case remains to be seen, but the platform holder is already heavily invested in the case, which Hotz is contesting. No public evidence of a successful attack on Sony has yet to come to light.

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