One of the self-acclaimed Anonymous members, Yamatough, had demanded $50,000 from Symantec in exchange for source codes of PCAnywhere and Norton Antivirus. The deal quickly evaporated and the 1.27 GB worths of codes were released, presumably, to torrent exchanges such as The Pirate Bay.
Although the major media outlets frenzied over the “awesome hacking skills” and protest-like activities of Anonymous, more minor tech oriented blog sites, such as Gawkers, did point out Yamatough is a known liar for releasing fake intelligence documents. Reuters, on the other hand, is printing this story as a sting operation on Symantec.
This is, as far as I am concerned, a classic case of media outlets misreading the natures behind the internet. What Yamatough is claiming and doing can only be defined as blackmailing at the least and “trolling” with limited contexts. Threatening to release source codes is one thing, negotiating for a price over a month is another. To argue a month-long blackmailing an online protest or an extension of such is hypocritical in any context.
While Anonymous is known to be a hacker group targeting corrupt regime overseas and uncovering greedy corporate behaviors, those were only few, renowned and civil, success they had, compared to stockpiles of problems they had and have caused. Some may point fingers at liberal press for filtering out all the negativities, yet none of the more conservative channels have been able to focus on the entirety of such subjects – on the subjects of internet, of their distinct cultures, and how such clandestine organization can be formed without any credibility with no source.
Apparently, Yamatough insists the money he bargained for went to kids in India. See, if Symantec was able to negotiate man-to-man with this hacktivist, the firm may have even hired him as a consultant and the money could have still gone to poor kids in Asia. This could have been easily the fireside story of the 21st Century, a Batman-like coder, using his invaluable skills to help people, not just the poor, but his fellow colleagues, even corporations and the consumers. But that is not how it happened. He demanded money, he demanded control. And finally when it yielded he teased with measly 50k, enough for a salary, but not much for a change in a second most populated country.
updated Feb 3, 2018: retitled from “Afraid to call their name: Anonymous member hacked Symantec”.