You are hereDaily Kos: HBGary: Don't let this story die, it's big.
Daily Kos: HBGary: Don't let this story die, it's big.
February 13, 2011- Please don't let the HBGary story die. The importance of what Anonymous has discovered is not being paid an appropriate amount of media attention. Even here, I know everyone is super excited about world changing events in Egypt, but that situation is in celebration mode for now and we have our own crisis to deal with. Let me try and get you up to date if you have not been following this issue too closely.
Earlier this week the group known as Anonymous brutally hacked a security firm called HBGary in retaliation for an attempt to infiltrate the group and sell information about them to the FBI. It was a nice funny story of arrogance and comeuppance, but at the same time it was a criminal action.
However, the information Anonymous uncovered in the E-Mails they stole in their break-in make it clear their action wasn't a crime against an innocent. HBGary was planning criminal actions that make a simple hacking job look like nothing. This was more like a mob war than anything else.
Anonymous discovered that HBGary was conspiring with a law/lobbying firm known as Hunton and Williams to launch a highly sophisticated campaign to subvert and sabotage the enemies of their clients. In some cases these plans involved illegal actions. The targets were journalists, labor unions, and political opponents.
One client was Bank of America, who hired Hunton and Williams to launch a campaign against Wikileaks. At some point the list of targets was expanded to various other supporters of Wikileaks such as journalist Glenn Greenwald. The other client so far revealed was the Chamber of Commerce, which wished to target labor unions and a shockingly long list of their supporters.
The main tool of attack would be the use of the Palantir technology to analyze the network of support for the targets.
“Palantir offers a Java-based platform for analyzing, integrating, and visualizing data of all kinds, including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial.”
This is what the chamber hoped to accomplish, from Mother Jones:
“Early emails sent between the security firms by Pat Ryan of Berico Technologies describe a conversatoin with the Chamber’s law firm about the proposed project: “The problem that they’ve identified is this:
A client of theirs is targeted by some other entity, specifically a labor union, that is trying to extract some kind of concession or favorable outcome. They suspect that this entity is running a public campaign against their client by coordinating the actions of hundreds of seemingly separate entities to create a negative public impression of the client. The ultimate goal would be to extract the concession under duress – essentially extortion in their view.
They haven’t told us the name or nature of the client, so I can only guess at what this means, but you can imagine for instance an environmental campaign targeted at an oil company as a notional example.
They seek to understand the true nature of the campaign and its command and control structure in order to expose the fact that the client is dealing with a single entity rather than a true “grassroots”campaign.
They further suspect that most of the actions and coordination take place through online means – forums, blogs, message boards, social networking, and other parts of the “deep web.” But they want to marry those online, “cyber” sources with traditional open source data, tax records, fundraising records, donation records, letters of incorporation, etc. I believe they want to trace all the way from board structure down to the individuals carrying out actions.”
This is a plan for a full scale frontal attack on all their union enemies and anyone who supports them. It would analyze their online activities, their personal finances...literally everything even down to independent bloggers.
How did Hunton and Williams convince the Chamber that HBGary were the people for the job? The e-mails reveal that a H&W attorney named Robert Quackenboss claimed the Chamber was convinced by the “Iranian Shipping Demo”
- Despite earlier conversations with John Woods (and/or Richard), H&W is unable/unwilling to pay any fees/costs to us for the “Phase I” demo build-out. Bob Q was under the impression we were willing to do this work at risk and then present jointly with H&W to the Chamber. I was very clear in telling him we had a different understanding based on multiple conversations with others at H&W. At the end of the day, though, they are at a point now where they won’t commit any funds to this project until we’ve helped them earn buy-in from their Client (the Chamber).
- Based on this, I said I would talk with you all and get buy-in for the following course of action:
1. Meet with Bob and team early next week (Mon/Tues) to get additional metadata and select focused topic(s) for the demo to the Chamber
2. Work as joint team to build 5-10 min demo (along the lines of the Iranian shipping demo – which is what Bob Q said sold the Chamber in the first place – great work Sam!)
3. Brief demo to the Chamber on 14 Feb (or potentially a few days later…based on confirming schedule for meeting with Chamber)
4. Once approved, begin enduring work at agreed upon rates (approx. $250-300k per month for the entire team – both services and license fees)
Note the date, this was all going to the Chamber this Monday if not for Anonymous. Do we really believe they had no idea what the content of that briefing would be?