FawkesSecurity, a hacker group that claims to be an offshoot of the loosely affiliated movement known as Anonymous, took credit last week for a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that knocked HSBC websites offline around the world.
But in a new online posting that seems out of step with the Anonymous ethos, FawkesSecurity says it has planted a bomb in a U.S. government building that will explode on Nov. 5, to coincide with planned anti-government protests.
"As of today, 200 kilograms of composite nitroglycerin and commercial explosives have effectively been concealed in a government building, situated in the United States of America," FawkesSecurity wrote in a Pastebin message posted yesterday. "On the 5th of November 2012 the device will detonate remotely via the transmission control protocol, leaving behind severe consiquences [sic]."
The post claims that the explosive device is inside a "tamper-proof apparatus" that will detonate the weapon if authorities try to disarm it. The mention of the "transmission control protocol," or TCP, may be a clue to other hackers that the whole thing is a joke. TCP is one of the underlying networking protocols of the Internet.
The post links to a YouTube video that says essentially the same thing. As of this writing the video had been viewed only about 300 times, and had over 290 dislikes to only 14 likes.
Commenters have denounced the video as a fake and some have even speculated that it was planted by law enforcement to discredit and eliminate sympathy for Anonymous.
"Fake. Anonymous are well known for peaceful actions and their opposition of violence," YouTube commenter Sirzooky wrote. "This is probably set up so the police can let loose on the 5th of November."
Thus far, FawkesSecurity's claims haven't been verified, but the government takes all threats of this nature very seriously.
Guy Fawkes was a English Catholic nobleman who on Nov. 5, 1605, tried to blow up the House of Parliament in London. The discovery of the plot and Fawkes' execution led English Protestants to celebrate every Nov. 5 as Guy Fawkes Day with bonfires and fireworks.
The anonymous hero of the '80s comic and 2006 movie "V for Vendetta" adopted the Fawkes persona, sporting a mask based on those sometimes worn on Guy Fawkes Day. The global Anonymous movement has in turn borrowed the Fawkes mythology from "V for Vendetta," and made Nov. 5 its own holiday.
Ironically, every plastic Guy Fawkes "V for Vendetta" mask sold to Anonymous sympathizers sends profits to Warner Bros. Pictures, which holds the licensing rights.
Follow Ben on Twitter@benkwx.
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