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HBGary CEO Resigns After Anonymous Smackdown

FORBES: “I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation,” Barr told Threatpost. “It’s been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I’ve been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I’m confident they’ll be able to weather this storm.” Barr had found himself at the center of a scandal that began when he told the Financial Times he planned to reveal the names of some “leaders” of the hacker group Anonymous. Anonymous responded by hacking HBGary Federal’s site, stealing 71,000 emails from the company and its sister firm HBGary, and defacing Barr’s Twitter account. “Do I regret [making those claims] now? Sure,” Barr told Forbes reporter Parmy Olson after the hack. “I’m getting personal threats from people, and I have two kids. I have two four-year old kids. Nothing is worth that.” But the worst was yet to come. Anonymous posted HBGary’s emails in a searchable format, and the ensuing press scrum Aaron_Barr.jpgexposed a darker side to HBGary Federal’s business that offered a variety of dirty tricks to its clients. In a proposal intended for Bank of America and written on behalf of a law firm referred to the bank by the U.S. Department of Justice,  Barr suggested borderline illegal tactics that aimed at responding to a potential release of the bank’s documents by WikiLeaks. Those methods included cyberattacks, misinformation, forged documents, pressuring donors and even blackmailing WikiLeaks supporter and Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. In another deal, HBGary suggested a similarly shady response to the Chamber of Commerce in its campaign against the Chamber’s political opponents including non-profit organizations and unions. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Anonymous Does Not Forgive, And Does Not Forget

PREVIOUSLY: Was Anonymous Trolled By Westboro Baptist Church?

RELATED: [Sunday] night, the hacker group called “Anonymous” brought down the Web site of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group heavily funded by the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. AFP has been very active in the Wisconsin standoff over collective bargaining rights,  spending more than $400,000 in TV ads in support of Gov. Scott Walker’s plan. Anonymous temporarily disabled the AFP site for a few hours through a DDOS or “distributed denial of service” attack. The group targeted AFP and the Koch brothers because of their support of Gov. Walker, saying in a statement: “Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw.” MORE

EXPLAINER: What happens when you put together thousands and thousands of creative, intelligent, and varied people on a community Web site with a broad scope and few rules? For starters, you get a massive exercise in group psychology and the meme concept put forth by Richard Dawkins. You get a factory for a majority of the Internet’s fads, pastimes, and jokes. You get an amorphous antagonist of religious, industry, and political leaders. You get Anonymous. Anonymous has received some attention recently for its cyber-attack on HBGary Federal security services and its threats and scattered actions against Koch Industries’ Web sites and the Westboro Baptist Church. Anonymous has ben called everything from activists to hackers (and, yes, hacktivists) . They’re viewed by some as folk heroes, by others as terrorists. But who are they? Well, they’re Anonymous. MORE

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