AnonPlus, Anonymous's social network, is hacked

Filed Under: Social networks, Vulnerability

Anonymous dogWithin days of the hacktivist group Anonymous announcing it was setting up its own social network (after being unceremoniously booted off Google+), its plans have taken a somewhat humiliating turn.

AnonPlus, Anonymous's planned social network, has been defaced by rival hackers.

A group of hackers apparently based in Turkey replaced AnonPlus's main webpage with an image of a dog wearing a suit, mocking the more normal Anonymous logo, and messages in Turkish and English:

AnonPlus defacement

We Are TURKIYE We Are AKINCILAR

This logo suits you more..How dare you rise against to the World..Do you really think that you are Ottoman Empire?
We thought you before that you cannot challenge with the world and we teach you cannot be social
Now all of you go to your doghouse..

You would expect active members of the Anonymous collective to know a thing or two about elementary computer security, but clearly their site had vulnerabilities or someone was sloppy in their choice of password if rivals were able to break in and change the content.

I think the message we can take from this defacement is that not every computer enthusiast in Turkey is a fan of Anonymous.

In June, in an attack dubbed "Operation Turkey", Anonymous supporters brought down Turkish government websites in protest against controversial plans by the country's authorities to introduce internet filtering.

Turkish police responded a week later by detaining 32 people in connection with the internet attacks in locations up and down the country.

It's very easy to imagine that those involved in hacking and cybercrime all have the same objectives, and form a united front. However, the truth is that there's back-stabbing, disagreements, fall-outs and (as we appear to see in this case) sometimes these can result in hackers taking pot-shots at eachother.

One thing's clear. This is not a great advertisement for AnonPlus's future security, and anyone thinking of joining Anonymous social networking initatives in future might be wise to think twice.

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20 Responses to AnonPlus, Anonymous's social network, is hacked

  1. actuallyfree · 1196 days ago

    Why are you spreading misinformation and anti-anon propaganda? Whose interests are you protecting, really?

    • Misinformation? Propaganda?

      You've got a great big text field to fill in - tell us more by leaving a more detailed comment. :)

      • Frazier McGinn · 1196 days ago

        For starters, Anon+ wasn't created by Anonymous. It was created by Presstorm, a media group that was unaffiliated at the time. Furthermore, Anon+ wasn't hacked, a website hosting nothing but a picture (so it doen't need security) was hacked. You can read about that here: http://exm.nr/q2eIxE

    • Anon · 1196 days ago

      It's called "news" my dear, not "anti-Anon propaganda".

      How could anything in this article be considered "propaganda". What this blog does is report on computer security news.

      Sophos, being an anti-malware vendor and lab, are pro-computer security not "anti-anon" (not anti-anonymity or anti-Anonymous necessarily). They provide this blog as a service to all computer users (including Anonymous group members, by the way) who might think AnonPlus is a safe place to store their personal data.

      Thank you for this info, Sophos.

  2. mcpower · 1196 days ago

    Inconomous? Or Anonaception?

  3. Kanine · 1196 days ago

    Maybe title should read "One bug squashes another"?? Have little sympathy for this latest breed of "hacktivists" who seem to care less about the grief they leave in their wake! The can cannibalise themselves to oblivion for all I care!

    • bobby · 1168 days ago

      yeah, all that grief they leave on the shoulders of these poor kill-drone designers and private military contractors... breaks my heart every time...

  4. I honestly saw this coming for a couple of reasons; it is hard for some to resist the irony of hacking anonplus and it is easier to hack into a site than to make it completely secure.

  5. Richard · 1196 days ago

    "You would expect active members of the Anonymous collective to know a thing or two about elementary computer security, ..."

    I wouldn't expect active members of Anonymous to know *anything* about *anything*. They're a bunch of ignorant morons who wouldn't recognize true activism if it sat down in their local branch of Woolworth's and ordered a coffee.

    • What's worse is that there aren't any branches of Woolworths anymore..

      • Pieter Bekkers · 1196 days ago

        Funny, the last time I looked in the paper these branches of Woolworths were still breeding. Funnier still, I like shopping in them, if I can't get my choice groceries out of Coles

        • Maybe it's a UK thing. I'm pretty sure Woolies closed all its shops down over here a couple of years ago

          The nation still mourns the loss of the pick n' mix counter..

          • Julian · 815 days ago

            It's definitely a UK thing. Although the same pick and mix can now be found in WHSmith's as the company (Candy King) survived.

  6. Dee · 1196 days ago

    Ooo! In fighting amongst the hackers. Perhas there is a mole embedded at Anonymous and that is the person who hacked the dog logo. It would have been nice to show both the legitimate and illegitimate logos as the one you show looks like a fine logo for the group.

    Let's just hope these hacker groups burn eachother out before they do real damage. Keep up the good work Sophos.

  7. Machin Shin · 1196 days ago

    Am I the only one that thinks this hack failed a bit in logo defacement? I mean they actually came out making Anonymous logo look kind of cool. If they were going for the humiliation factor maybe they should have used a different dog. A poodle perhaps or maybe a shitzu.

    • robbie · 1168 days ago

      yes, the logo actually looks kinda cool, but to my knowledge dogs are considered very low and unclean animals in eastern cultures, so it's kinda funny how an intended "lowly dog" becomes a "cutey doggie" just by cultural differences.

  8. Stephen P. · 1196 days ago

    Isn't their "Expect Us" page just a placeholder? And given that, did they even bother to try to secure it?

    Without knowing more about the situation, I think this "hack" is not indicative of Anonymous' ability (or lack thereof) to secure a site and application.

  9. Octarin · 1196 days ago

    AnonPlus was a bit of a scam. Anonymous wouldn't sell T-shirts through a website, Anonymous isn't walmarts. Live and learn to those who aren't careful.

  10. Anonymous · 1195 days ago

    Anonymous is not just a group of hackers, it's much more than this!!

  11. Tilla · 688 days ago

    protest against controversial plans by the country's authorities to introduce internet filtering

    WAKE UP

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.