Barrett Brown Indicted on More Charges

Barrett Brown, a self-proclaimed spokesperson for Anonymous, has been indicted on federal charges for the third time in four months.

The latest charges, filed by Texas authorities in late January, alleged that the 31-year-old was hiding evidence during a raid on his apartment in March 2012.

Brown, who was interviewed extensively for We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, was arrested in September after a separate raid on his Dallas home that was captured live by a web camera. Brown was video chatting with several individuals at the time of the raid. The FBI action came on the heels of the release of a YouTube video, in which Brown threatened to “dox” an FBI Agent named Robert Smith.

Brown was charged with making internet threats, among other claims. In December, he was hit with a second round of charges for his alleged role in the Stratfor Global Intelligence hack.

Brown has been in jail since September. Jay Leiderman, a California-based attorney who has represented various hacktivists including Brown, told Brian Knappenberger, We Are Legion‘s director, that the charges are excessive.

“He’s now facing 100 years by my calculation. His crimes? Allegedly making YouTube videos, sharing a link and, now, hiding a laptop computer,” Leiderman said.

Two Operation Payback Hackers Sentenced In U.K.

More than two years after Anonymous brought down the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, a court in the U.K. has handed down its first jail terms to two people who were accused of aiding in the high-profile hack. The sentencing came just months before some of the founding members of LulzSec are set to face charges in London for a series of hacks the group reportedly masterminded.

Christopher Weatherhead, 22, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Ashley Rhodes, 28, was sentenced to 7 months in late January, for using their home computers to launch DDoS attacks as part of Operation Payback.

According to Forbes, Judge Peter Testar told Weatherhead and Ashley during the sentencing that it was“intolerable that when an individual or a group disagrees with a particular entity’s activities, they should be free to curtail that activity by means of attacks such as those which took place in this case.”

Another defendant, Peter Gibson, was slapped with a 6-month sentence, suspended for 2 years, reports the BBC.


The Bradley Manning Trial and why it matters

Richard Thieme talks Wikileaks and why hackers and others are so angry over the treatment of Bradley Manning.

Anonymous Protests Israeli Censorship Through Cyber-Attacks

In response to threats of internet censorship, the hacktivist collective Anonymous has joined the fray as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues. In retaliation of missiles fired by Gaza militants, an Israeli air strike against the Gaza-Strip began on November 14th. CNN reports that as of November 19th, the death toll has reached approximately 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.

One day after the fighting began, Anonymous posted this video on YouTube. According to its speaker,while Anonymous has “stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people,” a line was crossed when Israel threatened to “sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza”. The speaker goes on to say, ”We are Anonymous, and nobody shuts down the internet on our watch,” promising Palestinians that ”We will use all our resources to make sure you stay connected to the internet and you remain able to transmit your experiences to the world.”

Using the handle #OpIsrael, members of Anonymous are posting to an on-going list (now topping 650) of Israeli websites that have been defaced. The Examiner reports that they have also leaked the personal information of 5000 Israeli officials. According to The Telegraph, there were over 44 million hacking attempts against Israeli government websites over the weekend, with the most damage being done by Anonymous.

Similar to activities seen during the Arab Spring, Anonymous has created a “care package” for Palestinians. The first section contains first aid information. The second half includes instructions for getting online if the internet is shut down. Both sections are written in Arabic and English.

According to The Examiner, the UAE has made it illegal to wear a Guy Fawkes mask. A statement by a Dubai Police official warns that, “Using any symbol that insults the country or instigates unrest against its system is not allowed.”

British Anons Celebrate Guy Fawkes Night

Photo Courtesy of Twitter / @AnonmouSkY

In England this November 5th, ten protesters were arrested during a rally in front of Parliament. According to BBC News, the marchers, who totaled upwards of 400, met at Trafalgar Square, already adorned in Guy Fawkes masks, before heading to Parliament.  It is assumed that Guy Fawkes Night is an annual celebration, commemorating the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Two Members of Pussy Riot Sent to Russian Penal Colonies

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Evgeniy Isaev

On October 10th, Yekaterina Samutsevich was freed from prison on appeal. She is one of the three members of the Russian band Pussy Riot who was convicted of hooliganism on August 17th and initially handed a two-year prison sentence for performing a profanity-laden “Punk Prayer” inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. According to The Guardian, security camera footage proving that Samutsevich was prevented from joining the others during the performance secured the new ruling. The appeals of Samutsevich’s bandmates Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were struck down and their sentence is being upheld.

Yekaterina Samutsevich discusses her jailed bandmates in this AFP video.

Despite requests from the women’s lawyers to have them sent to penal colonies closer to their families (both are mothers with young children), they have been sent to camps in the remote areas of Mordovia and Perm. According to the BBC, the Soviet-era camps house inmates in crowded barracks with 50-100 people per building, with no separation based on the severity of the inmates’ crimes. The news outlet goes on to describe the strict routine implemented at the colonies, “wake… up at 06:00… morning exercises five minutes later… work until 13:00… lunch… more work 16:00…”

The Moscow Times reports that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (who has been sent to Mordovia) will be making cakes for the colony’s confectionary factory. Maria Alyokhina (who is in Perm – more commonly referred to as “the gateway to Siberia”) will be sewing uniforms for soldiers. In an interview with The Daily Beast, the women’s lawyer said that before they were sent out, “They sounded brave, and asked me to send their warmest wishes to all their friends. ‘Continue to support us, please,’ was their message.”

LulzSec Member Raynaldo Rivera Pleads Guilty

Raynaldo Rivera and attorney Jay Leiderman outside United States District Court – Central district of California – in Los Angeles.

LulzSec member Raynaldo Rivera known by the online monikers “neuron”, “royal” and “wildicv” plead guilty on Thursday, October 11th to one count of conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.  He admitted to charges that he and other members working as LulzSec caused the “transmission of a program, information, code, and command, and as a result of such conduct, would and did intentionally cause damage.”

Rivera said during his plea, “I joined Lulzsec and conspired to attack Sony Pictures and carried out the act of accessing Sony Pictures database.”  Rivera faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail with a 3 year supervised release and a potential $250,000 fine.  Sony claims the activity caused damages in excess of $600,000.

Rivera is 20 years old and currently lives in Arizona, but entered his plea in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

The indictment alleges Sony’s computer systems were compromised from May to June of 2011 by members of LulzSec.  Rivera allegedly used a proxy server to mask his is IP address, obtained – along with co-conspirators – information through an SQL injection and then distributed that information to other members of LulzSec.

Sentencing is currently scheduled for Thursday, March 14th, 2013.

Egypt’s President Pardons Revolutionaries

Photo courtesy of WikiMediaCommons / The Egyptian Liberal

Through his official facebook page, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi announced on Monday that he will be issuing amnesty to those who participated in the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. According to BBC News, this action could signal the release of more than one-thousand revolutionaries who are currently in custody.

The Washington Post reports that the pardon spans from the first day of the revolution (January 25, 2011) until June 30th of this year, when President Mursi took office. Although the terms are still somewhat ambiguous, the pardon applies to crimes “committed with the aim of supporting the revolution,” wit the exception of murder. As of Monday afternoon, hundreds of prisoners have already been released.