Security Firms Secretly Plotted to Take Down WikiLeaks
This story was updated at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 11.
Three security companies, including one that was just crippled by the hacking group Anonymous, planned a strategic attack against WikiLeaks that involved cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns.
From a Crowdleaks.org tip, the Tech Herald learned that Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary Federal met in early December and created a presentation on how the firms could deploy different tactics to go after WikiLeaks.
The three firms were brought together by Hunton and Williams, a law firm that represents Bank of America, which is rumored to be a future WikiLeaks target.
On Saturday (Feb. 5), HBGary Federal's chief executive, Aaron Barr, fell victim to a severe online attack at the hands of Anonymous the pro-WikiLeaks hacking collective after Barr threatened to release the identities of Anonymous' members. Anonymous took down his company's website and released 50,000 of Barr's personal and professional e-mails.
Contained in these leaked e-mails were the details of the strategic plan of attack, which included pressuring Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald to voice disapproval of WikiLeaks in the press.
Without the support of people like Glenn WikiLeaks would fold, reads a presentation slide released by Anonymous.
The campaign also suggested cyberattacks against WikiLeaks servers and the use of disinformation and fake documents to launch a media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of WikiLeaks activities and undermine WikiLeaks' credibility.
It remains unclear if the firms' tactical approach had any success in damaging WikiLeaks.
Its main online supporter, Anonymous , is experiencing problems of its own, however. Tomorrow (Feb. 10), a federal grand jury in California will be presented with troves of evidence taken from suspected Anonymous members in a Jan. 27 multistate raid.
Late Thursday, the head of Palantir Technologies contacted the Tech Herald to state his firm had severed all ties with HBGary Federal and the latter's parent company, HBGary. It also apologized to Greenwald for involving him in the plot.
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