You are hereForbes: HBGary CEO Also Suggested Tracking, Intimidating WikiLeaks’ Donors

Forbes: HBGary CEO Also Suggested Tracking, Intimidating WikiLeaks’ Donors

February 14, 2011- WikiLeaks and its inner circle of supporters may not have been the only targets of a group of security firms that offered to take on the secret-spilling site on behalf of Bank of America. In an email conversation, the head of one of those firms also suggested going after the thousands of individuals who have donated to the group.

Last week the loose hacker group Anonymous released a set of more than 40,000 emails from HBGary Federal, the security firm whose servers it hacked earlier this month. One of the files in those emails was a PowerPoint presentation that described “the WikiLeaks Threat,” created by a group of three security firms that suggested Nixonesque tactics for sabotaging the site on behalf of Bank of America, including spreading misinformation, launching cyberattacks against it, and pressuring journalists.

Over the weekend, the loose hacker group Anonymous published another 27,000 emails from HBGary Federal’s sister company HBGary, and also created a search engine for those documents on its WikiLeaks-like site,

A quick search of the company’s WikiLeaks-related conversations shows that Aaron Barr, the HBGary chief executive who first caught the attention of Anonymous by boasting that he’d penetrated the group and identified its leaders, also suggested other tactics against WikiLeaks that weren’t included in that PowerPoint: namely, tracking and intimidating anyone who had given money to WikiLeaks. The security firms “need to get people to understand that if they support the organization we will come after them,” he wrote in an email. “Transaction records are easily identifiable.”
WikiLeaks has had its funding sources limited since December, when PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard all stopped accepting payments to the group. The site still solicits donations, however, via mail and bank transfer. Though governments could likely subpoena banks or wire transfer companies for information about those transactions, it’s not clear how HBGary Federal’s Barr planned to intercept that information.

The emails also show that it was Barr who suggested pressuring journalist Glenn Greenwald, though Palantir, another firm working with HBGary Federal, quickly accepted that suggestion and added it to the PowerPoint presentation that the group was assembling.



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