Anonymous is the bane of corporate IT departments, and it’s no wonder why: Running afoul of the hacktivists is likely to be embarrassing at least, expensive at worst. But as it turns out, it’s not exactly an unmitigated pleasure when gleeful techno-anarchists take up your cause, either.
The latest New Yorker tells the tale of one George Hotz, AKA geohot, the first person to jailbreak the iPhone and PS3. He ran afoul of Sony for the latter and found himself facing a lawsuit. That’s when Anonymous stepped in, opening an #OpSony IRC room and spitballing ideas like shitting upon the CEO’s stoop.
But the sound of Anons riding to his rescue didn’t exactly fill Mr. Hotz with unmitigated joy:
Back in his parents’ house, in front of the glowing computer screens in his cluttered bedroom, Hotz clicked with mounting apprehension through the news of Anonymous’s plans. “I hope to God Sony doesn’t think this is me,” he remembers thinking. He didn’t believe in secretive online warfare, much less in defecating on someone’s doorstep. “I’m the complete opposite of Anonymous,” he told me. “I’m George Hotz. Everything I do is aboveboard, everything I do is legit.”
First came a DDOS attack against the Sony site. Then came hacks of the PlayStation Network (Anonymous denied responsibility) and the Sony Online Entertainment network (a file titled “Anonymous” was found buried in a server). Then there was LulzSec’s hack of the Sony Pictures site. By the time it was all said and done, there was quite a bit of customer information floating around the internet and people were changing their passwords accordingly.
With all due respect to the hacker collective, we can’t say we’re terribly surprised this effort fell somewhat short of John Wayne riding over the ridge, flags flying and bugle blaring.