Anonymous
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updated 5/9/2011 5:13:07 PM ET 2011-05-09T21:13:07

Armed with courage and the arrogance of youth, a teenage hacker has taken over the message boards belonging to the anti-censorship hacking collective known as Anonymous.

In the past year, the AnonOps message boards have been the jumping-off point for several of Anonymous' most high-profile hacking campaigns, including attacks on government websites in Egypt, Iran, New Zealand and Tunisia, as well as against Sony, Bank of America, numerous WikiLeaks detractors and the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.

Now, however, the tables have been turned.

A letter on AnonOps.in, the group's temporarily official channel, reads: "We would STRONGLY ADVISE all users to STAY AWAY from AnonOps.net and AnonOps.ru and they should be considered COMPROMISED. Using or connecting to any service on those addresses may put your computer, and by extension your person, at risk."

AnonOps pins the attacks on "Ryan," a former administrator for the message boards, who, the letter says, grew tired of the "leaderless command structure that AnonOps Network Admins use."

After stealing the IP addresses of hundreds of the message boards' users, Ryan launched denial-of-service attacks against AnonOps.ru and AnonOps.net. While the .ru message board is currently offline, the hacker replaced the .net board with a page called "LOL ANONOPS DEAD," and listed the hundreds of hijacked IP addresses.

In keeping with Anonymous' impressive track record of publicly shaming its opponents, the mysterious Ryan may have already been identified.

The British technology website Thinq captured a screenshot of a revenge attack carried out by Anonymous members that lists Ryan Cleary, a British teen thought to be between 17 and 19 years old, as the AnonOps hacker. The screenshot also includes Cleary's physical, email and IP addresses and home and mobile phone numbers.

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