The Wikileaks release of sensitive and political embarrassing data last month was bad enough. What really bothers me was an online BBC post with the headline “Anonymous hacktivists say Wikileaks war to continue.”
The potential consequences of continued hacktivity could easily outlast the consequences of posting the documents in Wikileaks. The temporary damage the hacktivists do to the services that corporate websites are intended to do is one thing. The damage the hacktivists do to the hard-earned trust in business relationships between the corporations involved and the consumers they serve could easily translate from distributed denial of service to widely distributed destruction of consumer trust in any online services. The hacktivists know that perfectly well.
The other thing that bothers me is that as of today (December 10), while FaceBook has terminated the “Anonymous” account, we still see not only that the single largest Wikileaks page has 1,222,461–yes, one million two hundred twenty-two thousand, four hundred sixty one—people “liking” the page (and there are MANY related pages and groups), a query of FaceBook using the term “Wikileaks” produced a lengthy list of many small, closed groups with scheduled events. It does not take much to figure out what those events are.
Let’s face it: the Internet started as, and continues to be, a chaotic place without a single source ruling all of it. That there is a single voluntary set of Internet Protocol addressing rules is fairly amazing. Other than that, and in order to function well, we have to treat each other with respect. Trust is earned, not given. The Hacktivists have violated that unwritten set of customs. And they don’t care.
So what role will FaceBook take, now that RedOrbit has reported that even FaceBook and Twitter may be the next targets of Operation Payback?
A friend of mine recently said it appears that the guys in the black hats are winning. The truth is that whichever philosophical side—for or against Wikileaks–the Hacktivists take, they all wear black hats.