Anonymous has struck again in one of its most outrageous and daring hacks ever -- the loose-knit group of worldwide hackers became participants in a cross-country, cross-Atlantic conference call between branches of the FBI and Scotland Yard.
Although the group never added to the discussion, the mere fact it was listening and taping the entire meeting is a shocking embarrassment to both agencies. How the hackers were able to get the dial-in phone number and the access code is unclear. Has Anonymous placed a mole in one or both of these organizations?
Luckily, the nearly 17-minute conference call between the various law enforcement groups reveals more about the camaraderie between the agencies than any classified information.
Typically in a conference call, when a new caller joins the session the phone system sends an audible beep to alert those already on the call that someone new has signed on.
Either Anonymous figured out a way to join the call without the audible signal or the FBI and Scotland Yard never bothered to ask, “Who just joined us?”
The meeting started with the usual banter about colleagues and small talk about upcoming events. At one point, a Scotland Yard agent mentioned that his colleague would be speaking at an upcoming security event in Sheffield.
“He’s a true old-school detective, mad as a box of frogs,” he said -- an expression not typical here in the United States but the meaning of which is apparent nonetheless.
The mention of Sheffield
Eventually, as more callers came online, the group did get down to more serious discussions.
The British contingent said it had set back its arrest of “Kayla and Tflow.” The actual names of the subjects apparently followed the nicknames but were bleeped out of the released audio (perhaps by YouTube in response to an FBI request).
In another part of the discussion, Scotland Yard officers said it was seeking a delay in bringing a particular hacker to trial to gather more evidence. The most revealing bit came when the British agent said, “We have our prosecution council in Chambers without defense knowing about it. Without it looking suspicious.”
The prosecution was asking for eight weeks' delay but the agent said Scotland Yard would be happy if it was given six weeks.
At one point, while discussing the arrest of a suspected hacker Ron Cleary, the FBI thanked the Scotland Yard agents for being flexible. "New York
The British agent responded, “We cocked things up in the past. We know that. This gives us more time to examine the chat logs.”
Anonymous also used Twitter to taunt the FBI and Scotland Yard.
“The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now,” said the Tweet.
It was a busy week all around for Anonymous, which also took credit for hacking the Greek Ministry of Justice and the Boston Police Department, according to reports on NPR’s website.
Perhaps The New York Times put it best: “The breach, clearly an embarrassment for investigators, is the latest chapter in a continuing war of words and contest of technology between hacking groups and their perceived opponents in law enforcement and the corporate world."