Anonymous resorts to spamming to spread hateful messages

Filed Under: Spam

Anonymous operation blitzkriegSophosLabs has discovered a spam campaign being used to promote attacks against neo-Nazi groups on the internet.

At the very beginning of 2012, Anonymous started #opblitzkrieg with the goal of identifying and doxing neo-Nazis in Germany.

As they have done in previous operations, they posted individuals' names, addresses and other personal details.

No information was provided as to how they concluded these people are neo-Nazis, but it seems Anonymous is only fair and open when it serves their own purposes.

Beginning this morning we started seeing a flood of emails targeting German and New Zealand (strange?) mailboxes.

Anonymous has a history of extracting an eye for an eye, expressing their opposition to censorship by silencing their enemies' websites using DDoS attacks. Now, just like the hate groups they purport to oppose, the emails Anonymous is sending out preach hatred and violence.

Anonymous spam about neo-nazis

I asked a colleague to translate the message into English to get a clearer picture of what they are trying to do:

Hi -recipient-!

The German people and their fascist outgrowth must be defeated.

We have hacked fascist sites and made them public on:

http://www.nazi-redacted-/

Check if a Nazi lives near you and cull him!

Propagate our site:
http://www.nazi-redacted-/

Forward the email!

Anonymous

This is a new direction for Anonymous. Not that the legal consequences of breaking into servers or DDoS'ing websites has ever scared them away, but now they are spamming and advocating violence.

The best thing to do if you receive a message like this is to throw it in your virtual trashcan where it belongs. Don't click links, and certainly don't take the law into your own hands.

Anonymous appears to be the most attention seeking thing since a US presidential candidate and the best thing to do is follow the old motto "Don't feed the trolls."

To be clear, I don't support neo-Nazis, but it is best to report any of their illegal activities to your local authorities.

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15 Responses to Anonymous resorts to spamming to spread hateful messages

  1. John Wisniewski · 909 days ago

    As a fellow Wisniewski, I'm disappointed in your lack of support. Anonymous is all the things people want, but are afraid to do as individuals. Search yourself, doesn't make you slightly happy to see this. I'm sure, whether or not you admit it, it does.

  2. Acid Genome · 909 days ago

    Despite the fact that I recently implied that ANYONE could act as an agent of the Anonymous collective, do you find it utterly inconceivable that people still use the term in the manner it was before the intertubes were clogged with so-called hacktivism?

    Signing a letter 'Anonymous' or 'Anon' has long been a practice used by people who wish to remain unknown, not just pseudo-members of a loosely-entwined collective.

    The standard of journalism/investigating I see around the web with regards to Anonymous is always slightly bemusing. A lot of organisations (including Sophos) treat it like it's some sort of secret clandestine operation and regularly display a bewildering inability to understand the structure of the group.

    Do you really think that the actions of what is potentially a single person sending out some hate-speech on the internet (shock horror, hate on the internet?!?!) under the banner of an absurdly large group is truly newsworthy?

  3. Spreadmorelove. · 909 days ago

    I find this interesting, lets be honest here. how many people would go back and kill Hitler if given the chance ? More than a few. On the other hand I believe Old Joe Stalin had quite a bit of blood on his hands, as did Pol Pot. I mean lots of evil bad people out there. Why just pick on the Nazis, how about the Communists, the Muslims, ask the Chinese how they feel about the Japaneses during WW II. Ask the Tibetans how they feel about the Chinese. Ask some foreigners how they feel about America. I have always found on my travels that hatred is a kind of universal thing. A bad thing, but lot of people have bad feeling towards others. We work on that and it will be a better world for all.

  4. Mark · 909 days ago

    The fact that anyone can claim to be "Anonymous" is both its strength and its absurdity.

    Unfortunately, this also makes most articles reporting on Anonymous absurd too.

  5. TAF · 909 days ago

    Anonymous *is* part of the system...

  6. Dan · 909 days ago

    It's the normal evolution of any "underground" to lose focus, form splinter groups, etc. Anonymous doesn't seem to have a formal structure, which makes it easier for splinters to form but also to be reabsorbed like the Catholic Church welcomed back strong heretic groups to reabsorb them. Groups often become the victims of their own success as growth dilutes focus and brings in new agendas.

    I'm waiting to see if there's any splitting into camps with names like "The Real Anonymous", "The People's Anonymous Front" and "Anonymous X" or some such. Those are the death throes, because they indicate splits in leadership.

    As Mark says, anyone can claim to be "Anonymous", and credit can be taken or blame abdicated afterward, depending on the result. There's not much sign of hierarchical leadership, which I may not be a complete fan of, but which has one benefit of holding focus tighter.

    Anyway, always interesting to see if amorphic online groups follow the dynamics of regular social groups.

    Oh, and advocating violence also seems to be an inevitable stage. It just doesn't feel like a revolution without blood.

    • Machin Shin · 909 days ago

      The thing I got with "Anonymous" is they have no structure. The only organization to it is people saying they are a part of it. This makes it so that this current campaign could have been anyone who started it. There is no single person in control and that as you pointed out is its weakness and it is also its greatest strength. You cannot cut off the head of an organization that has no leader.

  7. Innocent Bystander · 909 days ago

    Well, I guess the hint is not obvious enough: has our author noticed the Guy Fawkes masks, or read V for Vendetta? There is no one, and anyone, behind the mask.

    That's exactly what makes it so dangerous: it can be worn by anyone disaffected. The head-slapper is, Why are there so many of them?

  8. spidersilk · 909 days ago

    Not to sound like a broken record, given the comments already made, but is there any reason to believe this e-mail actually came from Anonymous? It's not written in their usual overly wordy style, doesn't include their usual taglines, and doesn't make any reference to #opblitzkrieg. The only connection - and it's a very weak one - is that it's signed "Anonymous", which as others have pointed out is a word that was in use for a long time before that (dis-)organization by that name started.

  9. something · 909 days ago

    Not our Work.

    • Zzyzx · 908 days ago

      So, if Anonymous has no leadership as it claims, and anyone can be Anonymous, how can you claim it isn't "our" work?
      It is my understanding that simply doing something under the name Anonymous is sufficient to be Anonymous, therefore it IS your work.

    • guest · 908 days ago

      Then you better get to work. The U.S. Paul supporters are FURIOUS over this.
      Find out who did it.

  10. Guest · 909 days ago

    If you had taken a close look at the signature you would know it's not Anonymous,just someone signing off with the word Anonymous it could be anyone for that matter.Get you're facts before accusing.

    • Bob · 908 days ago

      It's absolutely made by anonymous. Maybe not the same group of people who usually dominate the headlines, but it's still anonymous.

  11. guest · 908 days ago

    Anonymous' supposed goal is internet freedom. Well that is OVER after attacking websites simply because they disagreed with their opinions.
    This is one of a handful of news outlets running this story and as an American I am contacting the authorities in the morning to investigate which of these few news places was contacted by the terrorists in question.
    Anonymous is a listed terrorist group and after attacking a Presidential candidate any support they might have once enjoyed by the people of the U.S. is GONE.
    I am sure the author of this piece will be throughly investigated.

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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.