back to article Anonymous hunts down Voldemort for hacking hungry kids' charity

A Harry Potter fan's attempt to impress hacktivist collective Anonymous by defacing a charity's website has backfired and his alleged identity handed over to cops. RedSky, a video production firm that produced a documentary to help raise cash for underprivileged kids in New Zealand, was done over by the black hat hacker who …

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  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    I can't help thinking.....

    ...that; "Our tactics are not reprehensible unless they're used against someone we like, then they are." has a touch of two-facedness about it.

    Likewise deciding who gets to be anonymous, rather than who gets to be "Anonymous", feels like crossing the line between being hacktivists and "teh internet police".

    I happen to think they've done the right thing here, but I'm not sure that my opinions are suitable as a substitute for a legal framework and due process.

    1. Jedit
      Stop

      "deciding who gets to be anonymous"

      They don't. Anyone can claim to be Anonymous, and frequently does. The idiot who hacked the website didn't understand this, and so hacked the website to try and "get an in". This caused another group of Anonymous to expose him because he was making them all look bad by associating himself with them.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous"

        OK, so "vereyone" is Anon, they have no "leaders", the "99%", blahblahblah. So who set the rules if they don't have leaders? Face it, the whole Anon thing is just one big herding exercise, with the core Anons playing at building a zombie net made up of real people.

        "....a 35-year-old man who reportedly lives in Madrid with his mother...." Oh just so LOL! How typical - single male, lives with his Mom, probably a serial underachiever. Tragic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

          >"....a 35-year-old man who reportedly lives in Madrid with his mother...." Oh just so LOL! How typical - single male, lives with his Mom, probably a serial underachiever. Tragic.

          Tragic? Not necessarily. It is not that uncommon in Madrid for a 35 year old to be still living with their parents.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

            "....It is not that uncommon in Madrid for a 35 year old to be still living with their parents." Sorry, but it is tragic. It is not only a very grim statement of the state of the Spanish economy, but also how this Spaniard decided to pass his time instead of looking for something useful and productive to do.

            By the time I was thirty-five I had been living on my own feet for over twenty-five years, was married with kids and was onto my second house, despite the usual cycle of economic booms and busts. Yes, despite all the wailing from today's youth, it's about time someone pointed out to them that they are not the first to hit hard times. At one of the worst points in my life I held down three pretty sh*tty jobs. Yes, some of my generation did spend a lot of time moaning about their lot and even rioting, but the rest of us knuckled down and got on with life. I don't think I ever considered anything as stupid as trashing a charity, let alone thinking such an activity might impress someone. Time for some of the metrosexuals out there to grow a pair.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Re: Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

              "....I had been living on my own feet for over twenty-five years...." Oops! Mustn't try maths whilst ranting. Make that fifteen years.

              1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                Coat

                Maths while ranting... Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                Come on, downvoting a Mea Culpa?

                Matt Bryant, you sound rather full of yourself, flaunting your own independence and ignoring all the probable and possible reasons for a 35 yr old still living with their parents, but I was very taken with the image of a ragged Dickensian workhouse Matt, aged 10, eking out a meagre existence.

                Icon - you didn't work for a guy called Fagin by any chance?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

              "By the time I was thirty-five I had been living on my own feet for over twenty-five years, was married with kids and was onto my second house"

              Haha, judging from your posts I seriously thought that you were just some bored teenager. The fact you're in your 40s just makes this all the more tragic.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                "....judging from your posts...." I'm guessing your post was from your Mum's basement? Seriously, it's about time some of the entitelement brigade realised they have to get off their backsides and make an effort.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                "Haha, judging from your posts I seriously thought that you were just some bored teenager"

                Couldn't have said it better. Though judging by the vile and self-righteous comments he comes out with consistently on El Reg I was wondering if he was actually a member of Anonymouse.

            3. Flatpackhamster

              Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

              D'you mind if I ask what house prices were like when you bought your first and second? If you hail from a time when someone on an average wage could afford a suburban 3-bed semi then your comparison is a touch unfair. Here in a nice, but unglamorous corner of SE England a suburban 3-bed semi now costs 10x the median wage.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                "D'you mind if I ask what house prices were like when you bought your first and second?...." Well, when I wanted to I couldn't afford a house in London and had to commute in. Now I could probably afford a house in most parts of London but don't actually want to live there, thanks. The first house I bought was over twenty miles from where I worked and my wife had grown up because we couldn't afford a house in her home town in the SE. So this whole idea that it's only difficult for the current generation to get on the housing ladder is a load of male bovine manure. As for "how hard it is now", the unemployment figures were worse and they stayed worse for longer in the 1980-82 recession. In the early '90s recession we still had ridiculously high mortgage rates from Black Monday in 1987. At one point in the small town we lived in over 50% of the houses had been repossessed in the '90s recession, all due to the crippling mortgage rates. So I think you can skip trying to lecture me on difficulties in the house market.

                1. Flatpackhamster

                  Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                  First, I wasn't lecturing, I was asking.

                  Second, what you're trying to avoid admitting is that you bought houses when the ratio of median salary to house price was considerably lower. That ratio is key to saving up a deposit. If you need £10k for your 25% deposit and you earn £15k a year, that's achievable within a few years. If you need £50k for your 25% deposit and you earn £25k a year, that's achievable shortly before you turn 50.

                  It's far harder to get on the ladder now than it was back when you were buying.

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    Boffin

                    Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                    "....what you're trying to avoid admitting is that you bought houses when the ratio of median salary to house price was considerably lower...." It certainly wasn't in London! And as for other south-east towns, they were the reason we had 5-times-your-joint-salaries mortgages appear back in the late 80's. And even noob admins are starting on a massively larger wedge than I got as a graduate. I rented for many years before scraping together enough for a deposit despite being employed from degree onwards. Having worked through several cycles of boom and bust I can see why those new to the experience might think it's some gawd-awful and new calamnity, but truth is the politicians are very good at cooking the economy to a boil, spending all the savings when times are good (to buy votes), and then pointing fingers at each other when the markets dip. When the next recession comes around (and it will) you can tell the youth of that day how hard you had it now, etc, etc, "lived in a cardboard box at the bottom of a lake", etc, etc.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

              Oh my dear Matt, you really are a jumped up full of yourself little pillock. Are we all to be judged by your achievements? I'm sure many people could claim that by the age of 35 they had lived and worked on numerous continents, made and lost millions, created business empires employing hundreds of people if not all of those and many other achievements. That would make your existence pretty humdum.

              And living at home in Spain is more of a cultural thing nothing to do with the economy (at least not previously although this is becoming a factor) and certainly not tragic.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous" @Matt bryant

                "....Are we all to be judged by your achievements?...." Nope, you should be judged by your actions, and sitting around whining "I'm entitled to more, I should get better toys" is what is wrong with a lot of the "protesters" today. The have been recessions before, there has been periods of high unemployment before, quit whining and get on your bike.

      2. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "deciding who gets to be anonymous"

        So you completely missed the difference, which I thought I'd got pretty much black and white, between anonymous as in "Anonymous Coward" and Anonymous as in operating as part of the Anonymous collective?

        The point I was aiming for is that any group of Anonymous (big "A") definately has a right to question whether someone else has the right to claim to be part of Anonymous (big "A"). What I have a problem with is their right assumed here to decree who is and who is not allowed to hide their identity online, or remain anonymous (small "a").

        So, saying; "AnonVoldemort is a scumbag, a lying sack of shit and nothing to do with us.", fine. Saying; "AnonVoldemort is actually Terence Smith of 28 Acacia Villas, Ealing, London[1]", is where the problem lies.

        We capitalise proper nouns for a reason and that reason is to distinguish them from plain old nouns.

        [1] If you are reading this, happen to be called Terence Smith and live at 28 Acacia Villas, Ealing, London, I apologise unreservedly for the analogy collision.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. unitron
      Big Brother

      Re: I can't help thinking.....

      "I'm not sure that my opinions are suitable as a substitute for a legal framework and due process."

      Of course not.

      For that we rely on my opinions!

      : - )

  2. cyclical
    Trollface

    I think it's cute how the press keep trying to assign organisational concepts like 'Rules', 'Leadership' and 'Planning' to the ADD hivemind that is Anonymous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The fact they went after him as a 'hive mind' process, shows actually some good in this group, and if it really is a hive mind rather than leaders, then they are a democracy... Personally I think the world needs Anonymous...

  3. DvorakUser

    Glad to see...

    ... that even Anonymous has a set of morals that it is willing to follow. I don't care who you are, or who you're trying to impress - hacking a kids' charity site is just in poor taste, period (or full-stop).

    1. Crisp
      Trollface

      Yeah, you don't mess with kids, or cats.

      Anonymous seem to really hate that.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, you don't mess with kids, or cats.

        >don't mess with kids, or cats

        Dennis Publishing used to know that... there was once an advertisement of a kitten with a gun to its head - "Subscribe to PC Zone or the kitten gets it!"

        (it might have been Game Zone... I can't remember, the 1990s were a long time ago)

        1. unitron
          Headmaster

          Re: Yeah, you don't mess with kids, or cats.

          Except I seem to recall National Lampoon did it years earlier, but with a puppy.

    2. Paul McClure
      Go

      Re: Glad to see...

      Anon has shown restraint and judgement before and will probably will continue in the future. Note they outed the person to authorities, anonymous tip? It's up to the authorities to charge or not and apply penalties as needed. Anon was just acting as a citizen would act. Actually Anon giving the person an option to undo is more considerate than most.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anon Morals?

    I think they have them. Sure they don't have many but from what I can tell its along the lines of

    Be nice to kids

    Be nice to animals

    **** the rest.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh sure, break the law

    But not OUR laws!

    Idiots, all.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most people

    have morals. And that includes anonymous. Considering their hacktivistic nature I would assume they are mostly in line with hurt the people that abuse others(be it politicians, corporations(hey they want to be called people), etc...). They have a few other jabs at things but that's really how I see them mostly.

  7. ukgnome

    Nice to see that even the anons read the daily mail

    "won't some anon think of the children"

    "oh and we are still legion"

    "all your.....awww cute teddy weddy"

    "look at that celeb with fat thighs"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous has "rules"?

    Rules? You really think so?

    Anonymous is a mob - not as in The Mob, which for all its criminality is organised - frequently more like a lynch-mob.Anonymous, like any other mob, has no hard-and-fast rules - or, perhaps, has rules which fluctuate with the current population of the mob, who's active at the moment, which tide of opinion has the most current sway.

    The nearest I can think of for "rules" is:

    1) Piss off the mob, and thy're liable to attack.

    2) Amuse the mob, they're liable to like you - until they get bored of you, and what was previously amusing becomes boring, or annoying - at which point see Rule 1.

    3) Claim to be part of the mob, and you're likely to invoke either Rule 1 or Rule 2 - pray it's the latter. In this case, so called AnonVoldemort invoked the former, and look how that worked out for him.

    Anon, but not *that* Anon.

    1. Semaj
      Thumb Up

      Re: Anonymous has "rules"?

      You really do seem to be the only one here who "gets it"

    2. lurker

      Re: Anonymous has "rules"?

      Indeed, "we are not your private army". Anyone claiming to be part of any 'Anonymous Collective' just clearly identifies themselves as somebody who completely missed the point.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Anonymous is a mob

      Just one? Is there any evidence for that?

      From time to time we hear claims that "Anonymous" has done something. Apparently the capital 'A' has convinced journalists that this is a single organisation. You seem to be suggesting that it is more a case of having a population of like-minded people within which, from time to time, small groups crystallise out and take part in an action of some kind. By claiming to be part of "Anonymous", they avoid having to think up an identity and the media is happy to go along with this.

      But why couldn't there be lots of isolated populations of this type? Each would actually believe that *it* was the True Anonymous. The "rules" of the group would mean that those group members who "sat out" on a particular action would never expect to learn who had taken part. Therefore, it would never seem suspicious to a member if they read in the news that "Anonymous" allegedly did something and yet none of their friends admitted to knowing who'd been involved.

      Some of these "Anonymous" groups might even be fairly well-funded organisations, such as law enforcement agents frustrated by legal limits on how far they can go in taking down those who they "know" to be Bad Guys.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
    Coat

    I'm sure I saw him recently...

    He was there, floating around, menacing a little girl in a theatrical hospital bed at the Olympic opening ceremony. They should've booked him then and there to set an example.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sure I saw him recently...

      Thanks for that.

      Having not watched the Harry Potter films, I thought it was Norman Tebbit.

  11. mark 63 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    this weeks morals

    "you don't hack sites of people trying to help kids"

    They werent thinking that when they all stormed onto some single mothers website and started hurling stuff about

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this weeks morals

      You remind me of the time when intellectually challenged vigilantes could not tell the difference between a paediatrician and a pedophile.

      Do we really want to empower people with even less training and accountability than the police?

  12. Tubs
    Headmaster

    This could be interesting to watch

    It may be the first time that anarchy has been tried in the modern world.

    Let's see if Anonymous still exist in their present state in 10 or 20 years, or if there are many fractured sub-Anons in existence, as they don't get along together...

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: This could be interesting to watch

      Of course they won't be in their present state in years to come.

      Whatever 'they'll' be called will be playing with what ever tech is available to them.

      Some of us remember when phone phreaking was the work of the devil and his/her/its acolytes (Some of us remember when you could buy the Anarchist Cookbook in bookshops, too).

      Having some form of anarchistic collective is like trying to herd cats and toddlers at the same time.

      1. Eddy Ito

        "... herd cats and toddlers at the same time."

        You're doing it wrong. You're supposed to use the toddlers like sheepdogs and have them herd the cats. Even though the toddlers are just a bit slow, if you have enough of them you can get all the cats in a tight bunch under the sofa and all the toddlers peering under in fairly short order.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "... herd cats and toddlers at the same time."

          >You're supposed to use the toddlers like sheepdogs

          No, no and thrice no.

          Get the toddlers, cut them up and use them as bait for the cats. The added advantage of this method is that you end up with only one group pissing on your carpet.

      2. Shooter
        Happy

        Re: This could be interesting to watch

        I think I've still got a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook buried in the basement somewhere...

        1. hplasm
          Happy

          Re: This could be interesting to watch

          You realise that you just "published" that "fact"?

          Expect Black Helis!

          <aManfromMars

          or the award winning scorn of Matt Bryant... for confirming that you have a basement, so you probably live in it like everyone else that is not him,f or he lives on his own feet, like some sort of recursive athlete...

          /aManfromMars?

    2. cortland

      Re: This could be interesting to watch

      We have anarchists in the US (of COURSE!) but I declined membership; too many rules.

  13. Why Not?
    Meh

    Allegedly they offered him an out, give us the files to restore as it was before, he refused.

    they dobbed him in which is their duty as citizens.

    But yes they are scary, any secret organisation with power over you is.

    They however so far have done some good, only history will tell if they only made the trains run on time.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Why Not?

      I'm betting the files he didn't want to return included the creditcard details of those that had made charitable donations.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about "rules"

    It's about simple right and wrong (not morality). Some might say that how Anonymous does things is wrong, but they do it with good intention. That's the difference. Good intentions, defending those without power, supporting freedom of choice and what's right over showing off hacking skills and plain malicious hacking. Prospective Anons don't need to be told this, they just know it.

    1. John A Blackley

      Re: It's not about "rules"

      The road to hell, etc., etc.

  15. Robert E A Harvey

    Unpopular opinion

    Is it just me, or is there something ramshackle about a charity that can't restore its own web site?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Unpopular opinion

      ".....is there something ramshackle about a charity that can't restore its own web site?" Well, seeing as I know proper companies with IT staff that have had problems restoring their websites, why is it so hard to see that a charity, probably without any IT staff of their own, would be stumped? I've helped friends who don't even know what HTML is to set up charity websites, they're f*cked if I or another of my slightly Web-lietrate mates are not around to help them.

      1. edge_e
        Facepalm

        Re: Unpopular opinion

        Surely you took a back up when you set up the site? Surely you then set up a job to periodically back it up automatically?

        hell if you were really good, you'd have even told them that when the machine asks for a blank cd it's because it's trying to create a back up of the website?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: Unpopular opinion

          "....you'd have even told them that when the machine asks for a blank cd it's because it's trying to create a back up of the website?" My wife has some friends that run a charity for old beach donkeys in Spain. Being a very small charity run on half a shoestring, they cannot afford a hosted service. They are lovely ladies with the best of intentions, but so computer-illiterate that even when I gave them a box with two stickers on - on the lid "These are the CD-Rs" and half-way down "Call Matt to order more when the level drops to here" - they still had problems! Even with written instructions - "take CD-R from the pouch with yesterday's date, place in drive with the side with the label on upwards, close CD drive and follow onscreen instructions" - I still worry they would have problems in the event of a disaster.

          If you were any good you would have realised there are a massive chunk of people aged 50+ that have NEVER even used a computer, let alone tried to record a backup to CD-R, and will need handholding through even the simplest process.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Too much assumptions IMO

    First we had a defaced website with some name about it. Then someone boasting about it. Only problem; the boasting which I have seen so far is someone mentioning that the site was hacked, anyone could have done that IMO.

    Then its being told that they demanded the data back and he refused. The snippets otoh show an English convo where this alleged hacker had to use translation tools because he apparently didn't understand English too well. I'm pretty sure you can get someone like that to admit to anything you want.

    But this makes me wonder; did the Anonymous types perhaps also have access to the server, did they actually got to see the logs and with that information managed to identify the intruders IP address?

    Or did this whole story simply go like so many others: they assumed this guy to be guilty simply because he talked about the hack on social media? So far the shared material doesn't exactly fill any gaps and doesn't even proof anything beyond reasonable doubt.

    For all we know it could have been Anonymous itself behind it which then used this situation to make themselves look good.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Are you there, Bruce?

    Take bloody backups! OK?

    Vandalism is vandalism, but being unable to recover from it is your responsibility.

    It didn't have to be hackers; it could have been a power surge, a hardware failure. etc, etc.

    Oh well, I suppose we all learn these lessons the hard way.

  18. R 16
    IT Angle

    this again?

    Why would anyone want to impress a bunch of kiddies.

    OK I cant say they are all kids, but its obvious they dont think right.

    I mean, someone tries to impress the kids and all they can say is....... "NOBODY IMPRESS US, WERE ANON"

    DORKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A month to restore??

    Oh nm, I see now who his host is lol.

    Eh, I work in the host biz myself, and even if he didnt have a backup of his own, we could have gotten him back up and running with our server backups in about .... a few hours if he was on a standard shared server and it would have been no cost.

    Course I dont know his current hosts policies, maybe they dont provide backup restorations to users or charge an arm and a leg? I know some hosts do :(

  20. TBx

    The Kids.

    Won't someone please think of the children..

    Oh, they did.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Y'know, I'm not sure whose morals I'd chose to embrace, Anonymous, whose decisions I have no control over or those scheming, lying, self-serving shites know as politicians and corporates whom I also have no control over. The antics of one I find entertaining but the antics of the other keeps my blood at a steady simmer.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like anonymous actually cares, they're just a bunch of vicious minded sods perpetrating gang warfare.

    1. unitron

      Oh,...

      "...they're just a bunch of vicious minded sods perpetrating gang warfare."

      ...so we're back to talking about corporations and politicians?

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    " I can't help thinking that; 'Our tactics are not reprehensible unless they're used against someone we like, then they are.' has a touch of two-facedness about it."

    It really doesn't have any touch of two-facedness about it. It's natural to want the best for charities. There's loads of actions that are OK in one context and not too good in another. That's not two-facedness.

    "Likewise deciding who gets to be anonymous, rather than who gets to be 'Anonymous', feels like crossing the line between being hacktivists and 'teh internet police'."

    There's a tradition going back to the beginnings of Anonymous to out those they disagree with to the authorities.

    "OK, so 'vereyone' is Anon, they have no 'leaders', the '99%', blahblahblah. So who set the rules if they don't have leaders? Face it, the whole Anon thing is just one big herding exercise, with the core Anons playing at building a zombie net made up of real people."

    They set their own rules. You might not be able to understand it, but there's no hierarchy, no core, no formal votes, and so on. Anonymous members self-proclaim themselves as members, they know in a general sense what is expected of them and what is prohibited. It's not unprecedented. The LOD/H (Legion of Doom/ Legion of Hackers) in the late 1980s was real similar. LOD did have an actual leader when it started around 1985 (Lex Luthor of course), but he left to go to college. Since then, no leadership, no organization, no central authority, no organized membership. But, it rolled on until the early 1990s, when the feds decided to take down this "group" of hackers. They really couldn't wrap their head around it when they caught the first few people and they said no, they are not part of a cell; no, nobody appointed them to LOD/H; no, there's no leadership. Unlike now with Anonymous, back then once word got out the feds were looking for LOD/H members, there weren't any after that.

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Will the real Anonymous please stand up?

    @Ken Hagan, very good summation I think. Regarding there being a "true" Anonymous, I don't know if ANY of them say they are the true Anonymous. I think it bubbled up on 4chan but cannot really say that is the origin or the central focus really. But, actually, Anonymous likes to publicize actions, pre-announcing what they will do, trying to bring people into that specific cause (in some cases just wanting Anonymous people to take part, in other cases encouraging anyone to join into a specific cause). People who sit out do know at least that a particular action was planned; whether it got enough support to actually take place or not is of course another matter.

  25. Morril
    Trollface

    Twitter account

    Im guessing since the news of the cyber man hunt for him hes removed his twitter account.

  26. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  27. adam payne

    Defacing a charity site is quite low, bored or not.

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