Being An Anonymous Hacker: In the Eyes of Jeremy Hammond

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Written By M

All convicts – including hackers – develop their own codes and ethics, and they are constantly finding methods in order to scam as well as exploit cracks inside the system. Right here in prison, I am asked a good deal about hacking and particularly about Anonymous, because of course there is interest in new technologies like Bitcoin for money or darknets for fraud.

The anti-government statement of Anonymous rings true among the prisoners who have been railroaded, condemned and warehoused. So when they hear about compromised government websites and law enforcement officers getting doxed, my fellow inmates often tell me things like, “It’s good to see people finally doing something about it.” That denial of conventional, reformist strategies for obtaining social change is actually why Anonymous continues as a force to be reckoned with, made all the more apparent by the presence of Guy Fawkes masks at the protests in Ferguson, Missouri – and beyond.

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People like Barrett Brown get it. People like Sabu don’t: we are gaining street protest experience and political maturity. Photograph: Noah Berger/Reuters

The journalist Barrett Brown gets it, however he continues to await his sentencing for simply linking to hacked material. And so I’ve been sharing a new book with my fellow inmates by the anthropologist and journalist Gabriella Coleman known as Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Many of us have been arrested, from Mercedes Haefer and Andrew Auernheimer to Mustafa Al-Bassam and more, and very few outside observers get that Anonymous is not a undiversified organization but a huge spectrum of backgrounds, politics as well as tactics. Hackers are generally a controversial, chaotic and commonly misunderstood bunch.

But it is more than a timetable written by an outsider: Coleman invested years in dozens of chatrooms as well as journeyed the globe to contact hackers. Many, like my own LulzSec codefendants in the UK, I have not heard from since our collaboration on various hacks and subsequent arrests, so I was especially pleased to discover exactly how they have been keeping the spirit alive. The publication chronicles the building of Anonymous from its trickster troll days to its participation in Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, to the LulzSec and AntiSec hacking sprees and all the word done by the group since Stratfor, the intelligence firm I compromised in 2012.
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Illustration by Sean McCabe

One of the few people to ever meet him face-to-face until he gave an interview to Charlie Rose this month, Coleman had sentiments that parallel my own: Sabu betrayed me. I was especially struck by Coleman’s connections with Hector Monsegur – aka Sabu, the hacker-turned-FBI-informant who is responsible for many of our arrests and who was released this spring after his “extraordinary cooperation” with the FBI.
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The Ex Anonymous “lulzSec” Group Hacker “Sabu” aka Hector Xavier Monsegur who turned to a traitor working together with FBI to rescue himself. Thanks to him all his hacking mates were imprisoned.

I can lead this entire movement on my own if I wanted to live like a dictator. Reading those and hundreds of other frustrating quotes in retrospect pleads the question: How could we have been so foolish. What the fuck is up with all the snitches. Like everybody else, Coleman was convinced of Sabu’s street credibility because he talked tough and boasted about his accessibility to ongoing hacking operations. Yes, I’m a natural-born leader, he would say.

Coleman argues that this “hacker vanguardism” – relying on a select few to do all the attacks or act as spokesperson – detracted from the populist social organization of Anonymous and put all of us more susceptible to infiltration and arrest. He was keeping tabs on upcoming hacks. Sabu wasn’t doing much hacking himself, but he was in every chatroom. He had been running his mouth on Twitter to build his self-appointed gatekeeper status.

Despite the “Sabutage”, the 2011 AntiSec phase of Anonymous – when a tiny but effective group of us took on everyone from Sony to Fox News – may have become the movement’s most active and effective period. At the height of Occupy Wall Street, Anons were gaining street protest experience and political maturity. The hacks were escalating in number and seriousness, targeting symbols of economic inequality as well as police brutality, and in numerous ways Anonymous was becoming a lot more decentralized, more open-source and tactically diverse enough to represented the future of hacktivism – and perhaps even part of the future of activism.

Still, most people who cover Anonymous get it wrong, and so they get trolled or hacked in the process. People like Sabu don’t get it, and anti-hacking prosecutors certainly don’t either. Coleman’s book is certainly not an unquestioned endorsement: we weren’t always legal, and we were often arbitrary, incoherent and politically inaccurate.

Hacktivism exists within the history of social justice movements. Hacktivism is still the foreseeable future, and it’s good to see people still doing something about it. We are condemned as criminals without consciences, dismissed as anti-social adolescents without having a cause, or perhaps hyped as cyber-terrorists to justify the expanding surveillance state.

 

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40 COMMENTS

  1. This page rely moved me I especially liked the Sabu part and he has betrayed the wrong people. I have liked the idea of anonymus since I heard about it 2 years ago and if needed I will help in any way I can if you will even just reply I will be honoured and if you will allow me to be anonymus

      • It’s because anonymous is little different from those they target. They crave attention and conflict and maybe some kind of change, but they are either too lazy or too dishonest to go about it via legitimate channels. They are hackers. Hackers are at best vandals and at worst accessories to felonies including murder. You’ll forgive me if I fail to be impressed by any group who considers riots in Ferguson and the idiocy of the Occupy movement as feathers in their cap.

        There’s a reason Anonymous is called anonymous; it’s because what they do is wrong. The righteous never hide behind masks or pseudonyms.

    • Anyone can join Anonymous. It’s not a group, it’s a movement. Go to the Anonymous website and learn about VPNs and more to get started.

    • Anyone and everyone can be an Anon. You dont need anyones permission, and you certainly wont receive a reply. No is in charge, its not that type of organization. You may want to learn more about us before you proceed any further, but I dont think you fully understand the movement or the concepts behind it.

  2. This page made me want to ask this question,”How come, good people like the Anonymous, get to suffer. While a traitor , like Sabu, get all this “success” ? How come good people always get nothing,while bad guys get everything, these days ? Admit it, it’s really unfair.

  3. Because the world, and our system, is dominated by people who can be described as none other than, evil. Or you can be more precise and call them greedy, arrogant, selfish, manipulative, ect, ect….

    There is no joining Anon..you either believe as Anons believe, feel as they feel, or you do not. If you believe as such, then you are anonymous. No one will initiate you, there is no “anointing”, no one will teach you to hack, you do not even need to be a hacker to be anonymous. There just happens to be hackers who lend their skills to the collective.

    You want to be a ANON, then buy a Guy Fawkes mask and join your local protests, wear your mask proudly, and EDUCATE yourself about WHAT YOU ARE PROTESTING AGAINST. Do not incite violence or rebellion as a ANON, though if you find yourself in an episode of Civil Unrest, wearing a mask in some areas is considered a FELONY. Be smart, stay safe, do not do anything to discredit the movement. Anyone guy buy mask, anyone can use a pic of Fawkes in their profile, but think wisely before you do, make sure you won’t hurt the whole.

    ABOVE ALL ELSE you should STAY ANONYMOUS, do your research, you can find out how. It takes some work, and I would not recommend doing anything illegal. The rest is up to you.

    • Thank you for this concise briefing as it summaries the essences of the cause. Every contribution no matter how small or different it all counts as I would often refer to as long as the job gets done somehow or another. Thank you.

    • Very good points right here and to everyone asking about becoming Anonymous its an idea its something you stand for anonymous isnt just a group of hackers but millions of people waking up and finally realizing that the world we live in isnt what it ised to be

    • Yes, becareful. Do your research. You find “sellouts” even as long time friends. But that’s the hardest part some times you have to make that choice to prove your point across to people who you once call friends.

    • And thank you, all Anons who have feet on the ground ~ you march for those of us who cannot. Know that teh love of your supporters in the back and all around you carries the wind that lifts your spirits. You can’t see us but here we are. <3

  4. Sadly as the US and world move closer to fascism efforts like A are likely soon to be a very limited spectrum of defenses humans can take against Corporatism / New World Order.
    It would be great if more organization and unity existed in order for people to unit and organize in alignment with these efforts

  5. As suggested by Jeremy Hammond, READ the book by Gabriella Coleman “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous.”

    It is brilliant. If you want an in depth, up close, very personnel account of Anonymous, lulz, namefags, LulzSec, Sabu and Sabutage all tied in with the big world events that the Anons got involved in then read all about it. It is very modern history told by someone who was there and watched it all happen.

    The book fills in so many gaps, joins so many things together. It is all put in context and within all the hacks we heard about but had no understanding of. There is a lot of detail and its get into the philosophy and political insight that I am still trying to get my head around.

    Gabriella or biella details Jeremy’s Anon actions and his betrayal by Sabu. I cannot think of any greater endorsement of the book than it being shared around by Jeremy in prison.

    It is inspiring to see all the current Anon Ops occurring all over the world. The multi headed Hydra Anonymous is alive a well + is spreading.

    I salute all Anons everywhere. You are expected…

  6. I think anonymous is greatness. We as a people should b on their side. Sabu… sad boo. No respect for a dude who can’t own up to his shit. Its disgusting. Karma tho. In the end he will need anonymous.
    I actually tried to find actually way to contact this amazing group of geniuses. With no luck. Wish they’d look into the unfair and unjust treatment of Amazon dot Com.

  7. Anonymous! You are not alone. We are with you, I am with you. The world is corrupted so much that it can not be healed and those who have corrupted it need to be eliminated. If we want this world to be a liveable place to live in.

  8. Anonymous! You are not alone. We are with you, I am with you. The world is corrupted so much that it can not be healed and those who have corrupted it need to be eliminated. If we want this world to be a liveable place to live in.

  9. I am disappointed in this man. I love Annonymous. They make me feel safe in this turmoil of corruption. The tyrants are afraid of them and that makes me feel confident that my society still has a chance. Just the existance of Annonymous protects us everyday. Thank you Annonymous for all that you do for me and the future of my children. We stand with you, We fight with you, We love you!

  10. Some of us protest.
    Some of us hack.
    Some of us watch.
    Some of us are waiting.
    We are all sick of the power elite.
    We are all working towards a common goal.
    Read, research ,recruit.
    You have the qorld on your side.

  11. As the spirit of fawks said, we all can be anons if you believe in the cause. If u want to know them may be u can try thw greatest net tool ever invented called google. You will find your way there.

  12. its not about what Anonymous is, its about what they stand for, a group can come and go people go to jail but the Idea, yes the Idea cannot be killed or jailed or housed, its spreads like wild fire in dry trees, if you like the Idea of what Anon stands for then you can be Anon too, take on the “Idea” and of standing up to all the good and against the awful things that are happening in this country.

  13. Man these people are smart. I can only wish to be a hundredth as smart as they are to promote the greater good. I truly live in la-la-land as an under-average anti-sheep wearing a gorilla suit with a V mask knowing absolutely nothing about how to change anything other than my underpants. Poor intelligence, strong ethics, big nose picker.

  14. Anonymous! You are not alone. We are with you, I am with you. The world is corrupted so much that it can not be healed and those who have corrupted it need to be eliminated. If we want this world to be a liveable place to live in.

  15. Anonymous you are not alone! We are with you, I am with you. The world is corrupted so much that it cannot be healed and those that corrupted it need to be eliminated. If we want this world to be a liveable place to live in.

  16. Why not start a political party ?
    Then we could start changing things.
    Please start in Coventry.U.K.
    We are being sold down the river by corrupt Councillors

    • If voting, protesting or graffiti changed anything, they would be illegal.

      If you so wish though, read up on the Pirate Party of Sweden (an offshoot of which is part of Berlin’s local government)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_party

      While parties vary insofar as specific policies go, common themes of the Pirate movement include:
      1. Defend the freedom of expression, communication, education; respect the privacy of citizens and civil rights in general.
      2. Defend the free flow of ideas, knowledge and culture.
      3. Support politically the reform of copyright and patent laws.
      4. Have a commitment to work collaboratively, and participate with maximum transparency.
      5. Do not accept or espouse discrimination of ethnicity, origin, beliefs[citation needed] and gender.
      6. Do not support actions that involve violence.
      7. Use free software, free hardware, DIY and open protocols whenever possible.
      8. Politically defend an open, participative and collaborative construction of any public policy.
      9. Direct democracy
      10. Open access
      11. Open data
      12. Solidarity economy[citation needed], Economy for the Common Good[citation needed] and promote solidarity with other pirates.

      As you may guess by the [citations needed], this party is not a consistent and comprehensive answer or mirror to anonymous.

  17. e idéia de mundo melhor é construção cerebros sádios, trabalho, e produção, direito de poder com trabalho comprar o que se deseja ter, sem agressão ao teu próximo, protestar direito universal, reconhecer a lei justa, nas últimas decadas tenho visto um cescente na ganância pelo poder, tenho duvidas do futuro da humanidade.

  18. Question.. a comment above says don’t get a mask and hurt the whole. What stops someone or a group, who’s trying to destroy the movement, in getting a mask and doing just that? Seems denial will only work a couple times before credibility is lost. I’m not seeing any safety net here other then being anonymous and that’s to protect one ass at a time. The whole is vulnerable if left unsecured. Anyone can be anonymous means you can do anything in the name of anonymous. Is that correct?

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