Anonymous hacks Westboro Baptist Church in live radio interview

Filed Under: Law & order, Vulnerability

Anonymous logoApparently all the press attention Anonymous has been receiving since the WikiLeaks story broke last December is producing enough lulz to keep them hacking away. At least five websites belonging to Westboro Baptist Church are currently offline after they were defaced earlier today.

The ongoing dispute between the controversial church and Anonymous began with a letter allegedly posted by Anonymous last week. Today, during a live radio interview (interview contains adult language) Anonymous hacked into the church's websites and left a message for anyone who later visited.

Anonymous message to WBC

The message reads in part:

"This domain has been seized by Anonymous under section #14 of the rules of the Internet...
...For this unremitting display of overzealousness, we award you no points. Take this defacement as a simple warning: go away. The world (including Anonymous) disagrees with your hateful messages, but you have the right to voice them. This does not mean you can jump onto Anonymous for attention...."

Additionally they posted internal network details and a proxy to gain access to WBC's internal servers. Similar to past attacks, hacking into servers is a crime in most countries.

Clearly, being internet vigilantes is paying off with lots of press and attention for their causes. So far the list of victims includes Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Amazon, HBGary, several governments and now the Westboro Baptist Church.

As the list of enemies and governments seeking the arrest of Anonymous lengthens, they should cherish their freedom. As we saw with the leaked data from HBGary, the US government is not taking this lightly and some have already been arrested.

To many who disagree with the hate speech being promoted by the Westboro Baptist Church this might seem amusing. Unfortunately, having a lawless band of vigilantes deciding who is allowed to use the internet and who isn't provides excuses to governments who would like more control of the internet.

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14 Responses to Anonymous hacks Westboro Baptist Church in live radio interview

  1. Anonymous · 1149 days ago

    But you can not say that it was not hilarius.

    You can not win against a person who has an avatar with a batman fighting a shark with a lightsabre...

  2. jessi slaughter · 1149 days ago

    the logo for this radio show looks like the letters CP.

    just sayin.

  3. Anonymous · 1149 days ago

    That WBC is even making the country question the concepts of free speech is proof of the organization's abuses of their liberties of free speech, religion and assembly. I don't believe that the US government should do anything about it because it's a slippery slope of encroaching enforcement. But if the government could look the other way while committed private citizens go after these little shits just this once...

    And Anonymous isn't giving governments who want to decide who's allowed and who's not allowed to use the internet an excuse-- it's a nebulous organization of private citizens whose attacks have, if anything, been cause to put these types of governments on notice. The problem is that they've been involving private entities that want nothing to do with the issue of free speech and are simply there to conduct business, like that of MasterCard and Amazon.com. If Anon is composed of enough smart people, they'll know to back off these bystander organizations and pick the fights with the people who are relevant to the deeper issues at hand. If not, they lose credibility with the public, a significant portion of which I assume was greatly inconvenienced by the downing of MasterCard servers.

  4. Anonymous · 1149 days ago

    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    We do not forgive.
    We do not forget.
    Expect us.

    Seems fitting.

  5. Tyw7 · 1149 days ago

    Basically its a dog vs dog fight. The so call congregation is disturbing funerals where people are moaning the death of their loved ones. Then they sue if the moaners inflict harm or step over the line. That's the most sinful thing I've ever heard of. On the other hand, anonymous is ddosing everyone they hate and disrupting businesses in the name of free speech. I think both organization should be cracked down.

  6. John · 1149 days ago

    Anything which inconveniences the W.B.C. and forces them to expend more resources in sustaining their on-line presence is fine by me. It's about time these self-aggrandizing, blasphemous hypocrites were brought down a peg.

  7. frank · 1149 days ago

    as far as i can see, even if it WAS for the lulz, this was the only way to tell them to "back off". Anon has (or had) no interest in WBC.
    Additionaly.. why didn't you read the message you posted? They stated clearly, that they are not going to tell them what they may say or may not say. They simply hacked the site, because WBC said they couldn't. So, somehow, they had it coming.

    Anon tries to express their anger and desperation about things and uses the best way to make people listen. They didn't hurt anyone so far, except for self defense. Why should they be pursued then? And why are others getting ignored, even if they do worse?
    Someones picking very suspicious sides here.
    That's a serious issue, Mr.

    I think in future we will have to re-define some things. and, in terms of moral, i like anons view (if you can say that, because actually its not really one viewpoint) much better than many, many others. That is, if you look behind the obvious.

  8. T.Anne · 1148 days ago

    it is a slippery slope for sure. And sadly I think anonymous actually took the bait on this one - WBC is getting exactly what they wanted... now the question becomes are the results the ones they expected?

  9. Bob · 1148 days ago

    'a lawless band of vigilantes deciding who is allowed to ...'

    sounds like a government to me

  10. Danny Haszard · 1140 days ago

    Harassment by religious extremist

    Jehovah's Witnesses instigated court decisions in 1942 which involved cursing a police officer calling him a fascist and to get in your face at the door steps,....this same JW 1942 court decision upheld infamous Phelps hate church in 2011
    ----
    Danny Haszard

  11. And what is not commonly reported is that the church is run by democrats!

    • Chris · 1041 days ago

      It's run by Baptists, too. And by men. And by Americans. And by people named Phelps. Phelps and his crowd may (or may not) belong to each of those groups (and many more). That does NOT mean that any of those groups run the WBC, or that they in any way condone what the WBC is doing.
      Please learn some critical thinking.

  12. crapocalypse · 806 days ago

    I find it amusing that you called Anonymous a lawless bunch of vigilantes. We all want vigilante justice these days. When our elected officials commit crimes and avoid prosecution because it's actually illegal to arrest them, they are the lawless ones. I love my country, but I don't trust or love this government.

  13. JLoLobo · 485 days ago

    Not a big fan of vigilanteism, but I have no problem with this one at all. Maybe it's hypocritical, I am a big fan of the constitution and free speech, even by people whose speech disgusts me. I also oppose the death penalty, for many reasons, but sometimes, I think there are people who should just be taken out into the woods and shot, dead. Sorry, I just feel that way sometimes. I know it's wrong, and I would never advocate it, but I am not always sorry when this kind of stuff happens. I'm not a saint.

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About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a Senior Security Advisor at Sophos Canada. He provides advice and insight into the latest threats for security and IT professionals with the goal of providing clear guidance on complex topics. You can follow Chester on Twitter as @chetwisniewski, on App.net as Chester, Chester Wisniewski on Google Plus or send him an email at chesterw@sophos.com.