June 20, 2011 at 7:11 PM ET
By Suzanne Choney
Hacking group LulzSec says it's now working with Anonymous, best-known for its denial-of-service attacks on Visa and MasterCard, which halted online donations during the WikiLeaks controversy.
LulzSec, also known as LulzBoat, announced its "Operation Anti-Security," said on PasteBin:
We encourage any vessel, large or small, to open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path. We fully endorse the flaunting of the word "AntiSec" on any government website defacement or physical graffiti art. ... To increase efforts, we are now teaming up with the Anonymous collective and all affiliated battleships.
Calling this effort a marriage would not exactly be correct; it's believed that many members of LulzSec are already also tied to Anonymous. Yet the motives of each group seems different.
Until now, LulzSec has seemed to be more in the prankster category, having launched denial-of-service attacks on game company sites and the public websites of the CIA and Senate, as well as publishing the login passwords of nearly 26,000 users of a porn website.
Anonymous is more hard-line, taking a stand on the WikiLeaks issue earlier this year by attacking payment companies that blocked donations to Bradley Manning, the accused document leaker at the center of the controversy.
Anonymous calls its work "guerrilla cyberwar," according to Barrett Brown, one Anonymous member who spoke to Michael Isikoff, NBC News national investigative correspondent, in March:
“Our people break laws, just like all people break laws,” he added. “When we break laws, we do it in the service of civil disobedience. We do so ethically. We do it against targets that have asked for it.”
And those targets are apparently only growing in number. Angered over the treatment of Bradley Manning, the Army private who is accused of leaking classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks and who is currently being held in solitary confinement at a military brig in Quantico, Va., Brown says the group is planning new computer attacks targeting government officials involved in his case.
On Monday, LulzSec and Anonymous made fast work, claiming credit for a denial-of-service attack that took down the website of the British police Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), which targets organized crime in Britain and overseas.
And while LulzSec may have been just playing until now, its message about Operation Anti-Security had a decidedly sinister sound: "Top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including email spools and documentation. Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments."