Top

Anonymous: Heroes Or Menaces?

As PlayStation Network users continue to lament the loss of their online access, opinions over what the internet believes may be Anonymous’ doing have been sharply divided, as has been clear from the comments on my previous article on the subject. It’s not clear whether Anonymous, or rogue hackers somehow affiliated with Anonymous, is responsible at this point, but this does open up a larger issue of the motivations and reactions behind the PlayStation Network hack.

A bit larger and more complex than J. Jonah Jameson's reaction

Spider-Man comparisons aside, there are of course multiple sides to most issues, especially complex ones such as the PlayStation Network hack. To give a bit of background on the organization that many, including Sony, has blamed, Anonymous originated as an internet meme in 2003 on 4chan.org and is a loose association of anarchist hackers who use hacktivism (hacking AND activism) to take down organizations they deem corrupt while wearing Guy Fawkes masks and reading V for Vendetta.

They are both shadowy like the Illuminati and radical like the Black Panthers, without quite actually being either and have been involved in everything from exposing the corruption of Scientology, to the revolution in Egypt. Certainly, there is an air of ‘bad-ass’ mystique to them, but it remains to be seen if Anonymous actually had anything to do with the PlayStation Network hack. From what I’ve seen of user comments, there seems to be arguments for and against the external hack.

On one hand, Anonymous is a whisteblowing organization, and has been named by CNN as one of the three major successors to Wikileaks. The moral ‘grey’ area that Wikileaks operates in and all the implications that come with it also apply to Anonymous, who recently launched AnonLeaks, a website with a similar purpose to Wikileaks. Anonymous, if you can give them any sort of collective goal, believes in what it’s doing and sees itself as a righteous organization exposing corruption through hacking.

But there’s also the argument, which is also valid, that Anonymous is a cyber terrorist organization, in the technical sense of the term. Of course, Anonymous hackers are not Al-Qaeda or IRA members and don’t use bombs and wars to spread their social message, but taking down the PlayStation network is considered an act of cyber terrorism, and if Anonymous is ultimately found to be affiliated with this then they would be considered cyber terrorists. The motivation for this is clear enough. Sony recently took hacker George ‘Geohot’ Hotz to court over his hacking and spreading of the information on how to hack the PS3. According to an article from MSNBC, Anonymous had since been hacking Sony’s web domains and targeting Sony execs as a result of what they called an”unforgivable offense against free speech and internet freedom.”

George 'Geohot' Hotz, a 21 year old native of New Jersey

There’s also been a third argument made by writer Pseudonymous in an editorial for the Chronicle.su that sounds more akin to a 9/11 conspiracy theory, but not exactly unrealistic given the nature of corporate greed. In the article, the plans of scapegoating Anonymous in order to charge PlayStation Network users fees is outlined.

Despite their own miserable failure with Sony, Anonymous has not even had time to come up with a new strategy. In fact, Anonymous has entirely lost interest in wasting their time on Sony. Now with a scapegoat for all future network outages, Sony is free to mistreat their own user base without discretion. Sony currently has a plan in the works to create paid PlayStation “Gold” accounts that will not suffer from network outages which disable completely unrelated services such as Netflix and Skype. This strategy is consistent with Reddit’s current “downtime” that allows only paid Reddit “Gold” accounts the ability to log in.

Regardless of the motivations and the bigger picture behind the PlayStation Network hack, one bigger issue still remains. The PlayStation Network is still down, and theory and speculation won’t help bring it back up. This is the issue that gamers are truly upset about, and it clouds the questionable nature and ongoing debate about the ethics of Anonymous, especially in relation to the PlayStation Network hack. Hopefully, the PlayStation Network will be back online by early next week.

For now, you can take a look at this pretty wacky recruiting video that TheAnonPress left on a previous article that uses Trent Rezonr’s soundtrack from The Social Network

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • ben

    Okay first of all, anonymous has not taken responsibility for any of this. Nowhere in this article does it say so either. Besides that, if you are not familiar with sony’s history with hackers, then you should not. talk

    • http://Website Captain Bligh

      Hackers should be dealt with severely. Happiness is mandatory, Ben. The floggings will continue.

      • ben

        I agree. It is necessary

    • tboneforever1

      Thanks to the past few days, I’m more than familiar with Sony’s history with hackers. TYVM

  • http://Website Joshroxx

    Boats and Hoes! PSN no Madden Anonymous possibly damming the man! Dam the man at my and others inconvenience is better for us in the long run if it is the case and not bug on Sony’s part. Dam the Man! Save the Empire Empire Records!

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Whatever happened to them?

  • http://Website Bishop Brennan

    To the Anonymous person in the Anonymous group photo wearing the ‘Anonymous’ mask holding the “Down with this sort of thing” – Don’t dare invoke Father Ted / Dermot Morgan in your sign! That was a funny joke in the series, but you don’t deserve to use it.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      I didn’t realize that was a reference to Father Ted. Is that a good show? I’ve heard of it but never saw it.

  • psn

    Anonymous can suck it all I care.. they ruined a lot of things for average people who look forward to playing ps3…whether they did it or not…I actually hope geohots is behind this because I remember people flamed him for being a fraud cuz they donated their money to help him and they thought he settled for a job. Or compromised to his own benefits with sony..this is what the ungrateful people get…this is what happens when u piss someone off with all that power that tried to fight for u people….u get something u love tooken away cuz u jus cudnt be grateful smh….I jus wanna play…smh

  • ben

    If youre playstation gamer thats upset, and it is an office then you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re a slave that has lost sight of greater goals. there’s no proof that it is anonymous nor has it claimed that it was them. Stop believing speculation. Read about what anonymous has done in the past, and then realize it’s not random acts of menace. This article is a waste of time

    • ben

      Buy an office I meant anonymous. I’m being lazy and using speech to text. But really people, deal with the pain. maybe even go outside. Don’t let a huge corporation like sony get away with injustice

      • http://Website Goshen

        “An office”? That IS really lazy. Why are you using speech anyway, what are you doing right now that keeps both your hands….occupied….

        You know what, never mind. Whatever gets you off, ben.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      I never claimed it was Anonymous.

  • http://Website pissed off gamer

    yes i am pissed off because of this shit we gamers spent hundreds of dollars on games and playstation home, netflix and now you cant. your giving xbox more credit for there work you jerkoffs. look i know geohotz was put in a lawsuit but come on he buys stuff from sony. so im a say this once. WHO GIVES YOU THE FUCKING RIGHT TO RUIN EVERYONES FUN. please reply back people and the anonymous faggots can go fuck themselves, thank you for your time. sincerely pissed off gamer

  • http://Website Who the hell is Anonymous?

    Ok….Why is everyone going on about Anonymous? They’re just some small hacker group who happened to have been making small attacks on Sony when this larger attack suddenly happened and everyone thinks that Anonymous did it. Please keep in mind there are larger and better hacking groups who get paid by entire governments to hack other governments, who could likely make Anonymous look like childs-play. Anonymous is just a small group with a little media attention who’s been blown up (Intentionally or un-intentionally) to look like legends when they’re a small group with no real command or control. I’d put my bet at a 5% chance Anonymous did it, a 1% chance that Sony’s faking everything for some ultimate conspiracy, a 25% chance that a professional hacker group got hired by another company to hack Psn for whatever reason, and finally a 59% chance some random obscure group no ones ever heard of suddnely rose up hacked Psn attempting to get everyones credit card information and has likely disappeared.

    • http://Website SAM

      I completely Agree with you !!!

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      I think the reason that Anonymous seems to be a a possibly suspect is that they have the motive and the means to do it. Of course there are bigger and more important hackers and hacking organizations out there, but they don’t specifically target consumer entertainment networks like this.

  • http://Website Rebelmania

    Ima ps3 and psp owner and i buy countless media form th psn store and im not goig to lie i hav dlshit online uch as movie n tv shows n put it onto my ps3 via flash rive n saved it on to the disc but i mea i never pirated games or any crfazy shit i mena i unno een how to use that linux shit or care. i think its fucked up that niggas cant play what they paid for and ifthis is anonymous and i hope itisnt cuz u guysdont seem that bad i mean i wouldnt join a bunch of geeks and do all this gay hacking shit cuz honestly id rather be gettign some pussy(which i doubt they get). besides id rather tae a less pussy aproach n do shit the old school way n sandup for my freedoms in person n nothide behind a fake ass identity cuz mean damn that so pussy and all u end up doing s showing that ur afrai n no one will take u toserious and will put u in the “Terrorris” group now i know ya aint terrorizors and amn i smoked too much weed i lost were the hll i as goin with all this but yea fuck itya can all just suck my balls bitces!

  • http://Website Rebelmania

    dam my moms netbook(yea poor n use my moms shit watup i bet u i got morevagina in my teens then ya did in your whole life bitch) im not used to this lil ass keyboard n wen i type fast i miss alot of keys but ya get te pint stop crying go meet a girl n get som pussy then smoke a fat blunt n ull see none of this shit matters.

  • http://Website SAM

    It could be the Sony’s act from Back ground and scape-goating Anonymous in order draw attention as well improving the Business with “Gold” member sponsorship. Any Game-Freak would not like to have his Gaming Network down due to Miscreants but surely would like to spend few dollars to have it for 24/7 365 days.

    I own a mobile and I can break it or make it or install my own and share it as well. Nobody has the right to ask as what I do with my Personal Property, so should be Sony in case of Geohot.

    But the Question arises is “If at all Anonymous has hacked into the PSN and Sony found it, do they still require 3-4 days to Restore it from their Side.”

    This is Ridiculous and Disgusting from a Multi Billion Dollar company currently seeing the Turmoil in the Profits. This is just like a “Celebrity Stunt” from Sony to get attention and Sympathy from Government and individuals and blaming Anonymous ” Unanimously”.

    So unless they post the Details of PSN hacked annd raise the complaint with Bureaucrats, there claims on Anonymous stands Nullified.

    And Sony should be Sued if they fail to prove the PSN Hack outage and should be penalised if they had underground the process from their Side.

    This has to be taken seriously by the Cyber Bureau, act on it and bring the Culprits to justice.

    I neither Support Anon nor Sony but yes, I support Justice.

    Regards,

    SAM

  • http://Website Anon 4 life

    God fuck it Anonymous are heroes and they did whats right. Unfortunately it fucked up too fucking bad and greedy fucking Sony will ,as some of you think, probably start charging customers to make up for the loss. I hope they get that they are pieces of shit and start to treat customers right. ENOUGH!

  • wow

    To everyone saying “Anonymous hasn’t taken responsibility”, I ask you this. How can you be certain that certain members of Anonymous aren’t acting on their own accord using the tools developed by the larger Anonymous community. You can never because none of the leadership will ever take responsibility. That’s what seperates Anonymous from wikileaks. There is no leadership and no accountability and no unified message throughout its ranks. @Ben, your opinion of what the greater good is does no make it the absolute truth. We live in a society of laws and due process. If Geohot didn’t break any laws, then that is for the Courts and a Jury to decide. The actions of these hacker groups violate the spirit of due process and legal rights. If Sony wasn’t. Pressured into settling, Geohot could have potentially won the case and modding hardware would now be legal. Now we will never know what that outcome will be.

  • http://Website Jimmy Jam

    Your just a bunch of insignificant roaches who if you made yourselves known would be discarded very quickly , get a real life you morons , but that would be impossible , cause you lack the bare essentials in dealing with other people , that is why you all choose to sit in dark rooms trying to hurt total strangers , we will get through this , your a bunch of nobodies , fear these monkeys , not they are the freaks nobody recognized at school no one played with this is there revenge on society , sad people enjoy your sad little lives

  • http://Website Jim

    Anonymous should all die for being a pain in the ass. Keep crying about your dumb ass friend who broke the law and is getting sued. They should throw him in jail with the rest of the numb nut jackass from Anonymous.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      What they are doing is illegal, even if they weren’t behind the PSN attack, after all.

  • http://Website anonymous

    Anonymous did not EVER target the psn. anon attacked the corprotesites and emal servers of sony. sony feared psn user accountsmight be at risk and shut the psn down.

    Anonymous does not care about the ps3 or geohot and neiter had anything todo with the attacks on sony.

    anoymous attacked sony because sony violaed peoples rights to privacy and there collecting of personal informtion of viewers of youtube video’s.

    acording to a presedent set by a case of iphone jailbraking it is legal and a judge should have never alowed sony to collect this information.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      That’s entirely unsubstantiated, it can’t be proved either way at this point, but just out of curiosity, could you provide a link to that case and the setting of that precedent? It would make an interesting article.

  • http://Website anonymous

    i was in the irc channel before and durring the attacks on sony. i guess i’m anonymous but not a hacker and not much of an activest. i just learned of anonymous mybe a month before. i witnessed first hand the conversation and concern of gamers possible reactions after the psn went down and multiple people confirming the ip adress of the psn was not on the same servers as the targets. i didnt not take part in the attack and wouldnt know how if i had wanted too. as for the iphone jailbreak being legal here is a link from wired.
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

    i’m sure with a bit of searching you might even find transcripts or whatever.

    here is a youtube video about sony getting ip adress of everyone who watched geohots videoon youtube, followed his twitter and even google had to turn over ip adresses of anyone who googled it
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83AkZfRmBxQ
    again i’m sure with a bit of digging around you can find something more offical.

  • http://Website anonymous

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG9r7cCpk_g&NR=1

    attack of the show youtube video interview with geohot and some more info on iphone and ps3 jailbreak

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Thanks for the links Anonymous who is not actually affiliated with Anonymous :D

      I’m going to use them and do some more research to write about the legal issues surrounding this, look for that either late tonight or sometime tomorrow.

  • http://Website anonymous

    thank you for you willingness to look past the hype and hysteria. if you want first hand information you can allways join the IRC there has to be dozens of other bloggers and reporters allready there.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Well it’s too easy to jump on that bandwagon, I’m a pretty skeptical person but from a whoodunnt standpoint Anon has the clearest motive. Do you know what channels in the IRC are the ones to join? I’ve heard of it but I’m honestly not sure how it works.

  • http://Website rebelmania

    mmmaaaaaan i didnt even know wtf anonymous was until this sony bullshit happened. I mean im all for our rigts n shit but i unno i guess im pissed i cant dl my games n media frm media go to my psp but soon enough i guess ill just keep smoking weed and bangin my girl to pass the time. also its not even for sure that anonymous is behind this either way i still think they a bunch a virgin geeks.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      lol that sounds like more fun than playing COD on the PSN.

  • http://Website anonymous

    the current servers are irc.anonops.net/6667 and irc.anonops.ru/6667
    the chanel is #opsony

    if your new to irc download xchat it’s free.
    click add srver and name it then click edit change newserver/6667 to one of the 2 i posted. make a nick and click connect then type in /join #opsony

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Thank you for the source, I’ll download now and check it out

  • http://www.Facebook.com/stigweird85 Stewart Loosemore (Stigweird85)

    I don’t think that is attack was anonymous, previous attacks have lasted hours not days. Whatever caused this is too sophisticated and has required Sony to build everything from the ground up. Sony blame Hackers but IF a hacker can do this much damage then Sony has major security problems which I suspect may require new hardware to fix. I believe that if Sony cannot fix the issue within the next 7=10 days then the PSN may not return for a considerable amount of time if at all.

  • http://twitter.com/bucketHand Julian Montoya

    Congrats, this is a great piece.

  • Cajunads

    “wacky recruiting”? How about “Army Strong” as a recruiting slogan, considering they pitch this to children?

  • ANONIMUS

    AONIMOS IS LEEGUN LOL HXC HAX0RS LOLOLOL DO WANT 1337 BBQ TROLOLOL

  • Anonymous

    Chao ab Ordo