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)


  1. This is stupid. Anon with “leaders” is not Anon anymore. The Beauty of Anon is that they are not accountable for anything, but still act on principles and pointing out flaws and injustice and stupidity. Everyone is a potential member of Anon and you can sign out by leaving the computer. People claiming to be leaders of anonymous are going against everything Anon stands for. I know there is a lot of planning and coordination work needed and somehow people are in need of appreciation for this or want to take credit.
    I just hope they stop cutting themselves and focus on what is important.

  2. Brilliant.

    If Ryan wants to be the very loud, obnoxious public face of a group that is supposed to be “Anonymous”, the deposed leaders should hand those “dox” over to Sony. Tell them, “This guy helped organize the DDoS against your websites, then he went rogue and kicked us out. He might have even hacked PSN without our knowledge”

    Sony files charges, Ryan goes away.

    Then the rest of Anonymous realizes there is most definitely a cabal, and how badly they turned on one of their own, and the whole lot of 17-year old trolls and griefers eats itself from the inside out.

  3. So when did Ryan figure out that people are human?

    But seriously, if he really is 17, I sincerely hope that Anon will show restraint. *He* may think he’s all grown up and ready to take on the power, but a 17 year old boy truly isn’t functioning with a mature brain yet.

    1. Cause everyone knows that there’s a magic switch that flips in everyone’s brains as soon as they reach the age of majority…

      Anyway, I have a feeling this won’t end to well for Ryan.

      1. “The maturation curves suggest that mean population functional brain maturity asymptotes toward a maturity level or brain age of ~22 years”

        Dosenbach et al, Science 10 September 2010, Vol. 329 no. 5997 pp. 1358-1361 DOI: 10.1126/science.1194144

        There will be many other similar studies. But yes, in general, 17 year olds do not function with a mature brain.

    2. Iirc, youths behave as youths as much because they do not interact with adults enough as it being a factor of age alone.

      hell, international politics all to often resembles schoolyard fights over toys…

  4. At some point, we have to stop pretending Anon are magic pixies and taking the whole propaganda thing of them being some nebulous, faceless force that can hack the gibsons of the wicked at face value.

    Yeah, they’re an organisation that probably has a specific core and yeah, this entire thing reeks of ‘Oh No. We’ve Actually Done a Real Thing And Got The Grown Ups Interested In Our Shit’ throwing each other to the wolves.

  5. The 1970 essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman (aka Joreen) never goes out of style.

    “Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. The very fact that we are individuals, with different talents, predispositions, and backgrounds makes this inevitable. Only if we refused to relate or interact on any basis whatsoever could we approximate structurelessness — and that is not the nature of a human group.”

    1. Thanks, that seems to sum up my basic reaction to anarchism, or even libertarianism.

    2. Too true.

      There will always be those with greater influence and effectiveness.

      I’ve worked in enough organisations and with enough groups to know that.

      I’ve seen groups coalesce around those who are willing to stick their neck out or have a much better formed view or opinion who then become defacto leaders.

      It may be there’s not formally elected leaders, but there are certainly ‘movers and shakers’, louder voices and those who are more influential.

  6. What a great day for Human Progress.

    Historically these types of revolutionaries have sent each other to the guillotine or the gulag. Now they just hack each others webservers.

    Hooray for the intertubes!

  7. Not sure really any of this, in the end, means anything. Guess what’s more anonymous than Anonymous? Anonymity. After a potential drama-laden scenario where a non-hierarchical but ultimately hierarchical cabal destroys itself, blah blah blah Hollywood story, in the end there are hackers. Who will anonymously do the good work, and the bad work, and the lulz–sometimes all at the same time. But that good work still will get done. (Anonymously.)

  8. this is good
    anonymous is supposed to be decentralized and redundant, like the internets it arose from
    this should hammer home (yet again) that centralization is bad
    1 leader can be corrupted to screw the whole
    but when the whole leads itself, it will do whats in its own interest, mostly, ideally
    anyways, the point is, anonymous power is in its faceless chaotic mass
    this will hammer home that point again

  9. What prevents anti-Anonymous dudes from joining Anonymous and undermining it from within?

  10. I don’t know what’s more horrifying, that Anonymous might have someone at the reigns or that that someone once decided they absolutely HAD to harass a 13-year-old girl.

  11. I think this is a lesson in the value of structure.

    It’s handy to have a document which clearly explains who is in charge of what so that when they do the job wrong, we can fix it. Instead, Anonymous is just a collection of people loosely connected by an odd philosophy and a willingness to act boldly when they can avoid consequences. Anonymous appears to be nothing more than an internet mob.

    1. “Anonymous appears to be nothing more than an internet mob.”

      Anyone who claimed it was ever anything more never really got it.

  12. The notion of ‘joining’ anon, the idea that it has ‘members’ and simply suggesting that anon ‘decided they… HAD’ to do something really underline in my eyes the fact that some of you have never been to /b/. It’s like being in the middle of a riot or protest – that’s what anon is: a mob that reacts to whatever catches its attention.

    To suggest that one might infiltrate anon and drag it around by its nose is laughable – any ‘anti-anon’ group of any substance plays by a set of rules which put it at a disadvantage against the amorphous blob that is anon, and any sufficiently agile foe with the requisite skills to take on anon, i’m quite sure, has better things to do than poke around the crazy killer bees’ nest looking for honey. Pretty much the only ones with the requisite motivation and skills are anons themselves, and anon being taken over by anon is simply a new iteration of anon, nothing more.

  13. You have to admit there’s some delicious irony in a bunch of griefers and hackers who enjoy attacking individuals and corporations for being arrogant hypocrites going all Lord of the Flies like this.

    I guess it’s time for Anonymous to DDoS itself.

  14. Uh, just saying, but I believe that Ryan is the same guy who was one of the top mods on Encyclopedia Dramatica before all of the content was destroyed and the site was transformed into Oh Internet.

    He and one of the other hosters also participated in numerous copyright threats and general rage over the fact that a couple of anons managed to rip most of ED’s content from and post it on a mirror hosted in Switzerland. They’d attempted to present Oh Internet using a lot of ED content and have the old content’s deletion be fait accompli, but this backfired dramatically.

    Now he’s being a dick to anonops. Big surprise.

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