Anonymous infighting: IRC servers compromised, IP addresses dumped, claims of coup and counter-coup

The IRC servers used by AnonOps have been compromised and taken over by "Ryan," who is reportedly a young man in Essex, England. These servers were used to plan and coordinate many of the denial-of-service attacks that flew the Anonymous flag, including the recent attack on Sony. Ryan says he seized control of the servers and lots of other infrastructure in protest of a secretive cabal of Anonymous "leaders" whom, he claims, secretly steer Anonymous's debate over which targets to hit and for how long using private IRC channels.

Anonymous claims to have no leaders, but it also lacks any sort of structure through which such a claim could be made -- that is, lacking any constitution or formal decision-making structure, there is no clear way in which an official "no leaders" policy could be ratified and articulated. If no one can speak for Anonymous, can anyone say (on behalf of Anonymous), "We have no leaders?" It's the key question in this bit of drama, because the ousted "leaders" have made counterclaims that Ryan acted as he did in order to establish himself as leader of Anonymous.

Others argued against this equivalence. "Ryan was the dictator, not the one who decided to solve the dictator problem," said one. Another responded, "Lol, how do you know? For all you know, Owen and Ryan are just the classic generals duking out to take over."

For his part, Ryan told the UK's Thinq today that he shared the concerns over private decision making. Owen and the other leaders "crossed the barrier, involving themselves in a leadership role," Ryan said. "There is a hierarchy. All the power, all the DDoS--it's in that [private] channel."

But among those who backed AnonOps, one thing was clear: Ryan needs to get got. Anons quickly embarked on a mission to find Ryan "dox," and quickly unearthed what they said was his full name, his home address (in Wickford, Essex, UK), his phone number, his Skype handle, and his age (17).

The hackers hacked: main Anonymous IRC servers invaded

(Image: Anonymous Declaration of IndepenDance. Wallpaper (3923x4656), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from thinkanonymous's photostream)