Friday, December 11, 2015

The Anonymous Rogues' Gallery

Barret Brown
Photo credit: The Guardian

Many Anonymous members have no actual hacking skills. No one exemplifies this better than Barrett Brown, a freelance journalist and activist who was drawn to Anonymous because they held the same ideals (for the most part). Barrett's computer skills didn't allow him to do much more than log on to chat rooms, but he was able to help Anonymous in his own way by acting as public spokesperson. He appeared on TV on behalf of Anonymous, debated the issues they supported, and made public appearances at rallies.

There were many in Anonymous who thought Barrett was a fame whore, but there were also many who liked him. Barrett affected a public persona that I can best describe as a cross between Shit-break from American Pie and that high-society Hapsburg fellow with the enormous lower jaw on Family Guy (you know, the guy who laughs with that unimpressed, extended drawl—haw haw Haaaaaaawwww). He appears to do it mostly as a joke—giving interviews while brandishing a cigarette or a cup of brandy, holding a web conference as he sipped wine in a bathtub…but he was genuine in his love for Anonymous' cause of the week.

In the weeks or months leading up to his arrest, Barrett had become increasingly disillusioned with Anonymous as the anarchists within them were beginning to take over. He had never taken part in any of the DDoS attacks, but the FBI arrested him when he re-posted a link to sensitive information obtained by WikiLeaks. After he was released, Barret posted a three-part Youtube video threatening the life of the FBI agent who arrested him (part 1, part 2, part 3). Big mistake. Barrett was arrested again in raid that was caught live on video chat. He is now serving a decades long prison sentence


Topiary is (or used to be) a teenage hacker who at one time did press for Anonymous under his veil of anonymity. He later joined LulzSec and wreaked havoc on government agencies across the web. He was later arrested after it was discovered the LulzSec leader, Sabu, was an FBI informant. Perhaps Topiary's most famous website is when he debated a leader of the Westboro Baptist Church on live TV and hacked into the WBC website on-air (see a recording of it below).

Also, does anyone else think that the Westboro Baptist lady looks an awful lot like the woman who ate the wheels of the bus in the movie Speed?

Beth Grant, who played Helen in Speed
And while we're sidetracked by the subject of Speed, does anyone else think the opening theme of that movie sounds eerily similar to the theme of Metal Gear Solid? Like, I'm positive the guy who wrote the music for Metal Gear ripped off Speed. I remember watching a video (here it is) of the creator of Metal Gear looking devastated after someone reveals to him that the music for Metal Gear Solid 2 was ripped off from a Russian symphony. Did he ever find out about the Speed theme and MGS1?

Okay, I got sidetracked a bit there. Sorry, I re-watched Speed recently. Back to the rogues gallery…

Sabu and Anarchaos
Illustration by Aurich Lawson via arstechnica

I go into detail about these fellows in the Listverse article (Anarchaos is Jeremy Hammond).

Commander X
Photo Source:

The problem with a leaderless movement is that any bum with a hero complex can come in and bend it to suit his vision. Christopher Doyon (aka Commander X) was that bum—and I don't mean that as an insult he was literally homeless, and participated in Anonymous by spending all of his days in web cafes.

In a lot of ways, Doyon represented the opposite of what Anonymous was supposed to be. He proclaimed himself a leader of Anonymous and likened himself to Batman. He acted unilaterally, declaring targets and ordering people to fire the LOIC without a democratic vote, which is how things are normally done. Doyon wanted the world to be a better place, just as long as everyone knew he was the one who fixed it.

After his arrest, Doyon stood on the steps outside the courtroom where his hearing was held and proclaimed to the press that he was the leader of Anonymous, much like Tony Stark revealing he was Iron Man. But the thing is, Anonymous has no leader, and members were getting tired of his fame seeking.

Doyon skipped bail and fled to Canada, where he is currently in hiding. Despite being in hiding, he goes about town wearing an Anonymous t-shirt and freely gives interviews to reporters.


Tflow was an anon who eventually formed part of the LulzSec team. His crowning moment was when he wrote a script that allowed Tunisians to use the internet despite their government's attempts to block it during the Arab Spring. He was also part of the Anonymous team that hacked the website of the copyright alliance and posted on their front page "Payback is a Bitch." Tflow was arrested after Sabu revealed himself to be an FBI informant.
LulzSec (some of them) reunited after the arrests. Photo via International Business Times

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