The prolific and shadowy Anonymous hacking group has launched a full-scale online attack against the Oakland Police Department in retaliation for an instance of violence this week that has the city in an uproar.
The multi-pronged hacktivism campaign, called "OpUprise," is Anonymous' response to what is sees as the police department's gross mishandling of the Occupy Oakland protestors, in particular the incident surrounding Scott Olsen.
This past Tuesday (Oct. 25), Olsen, a 24-year-old wounded Marine home from serving two tours in Iraq, landed in critical condition after police at the Occupy Oakland demonstration allegedly threw a projectile that fractured his skull. Olsen's condition has been upgraded to fair, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
"These are among the most disturbing and criminal acts to be have been proven on the part of U.S. police since NYPD officers were outed as having routinely planted drugs on suspects earlier this month," Anonymous unofficial spokesman Barrett Brown wrote in the OpUprise announcement.
The Oakland Police Department did not respond to a telephoned request for comment.
To make its voice heard, Anonymous launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack yesterday (Oct. 27) against the police department's website, www.oaklandpolice.com, flooding it with so much traffic it could not function. The site has since been restored, but Anonymous is not finished with its online hacktivism campaign.
Anonymous has begun posting information about Oakland police officers to Pastebin, including badge numbers, phone numbers, emails and on-duty schedules.
On his Twitter feed today (Oct. 28), Brown posted a link to a page that shows the names and salaries of officers in the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, which sent deputies to assist Oakland police responding to the protest Tuesday. Anonymous also published the phone number of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, whose political position puts her, along with Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, at the heart of the controversy.
Brown is offering a $1,000 reward for the name of the officer who threw the projectile that allegedly injured Olsen. Brown said the online attacks will hinge on how the police department deals with the officer once he or she is identified.
"The next round of actions will depend on those of the department," Brown told SecurityNewsDaily.
Brown said he spoke to the police department's internal affairs bureau, which said it is investigating who threw the projectile that hit Olsen.
"Now that several Anons seem to have come up with it themselves, this should ensure that Oakland's investigation doesn't run into any imaginary brick walls," Brown said. "In the meantime, certain actions are still being taken to keep the pressure on the higher-ups within both the department and the mayor's office. If the officer is not disciplined, we'll take it from there."
Brown told SecurityNewsDaily there are hackers within Anonymous' camp who are "looking at Oakland PD's infrastructure," which means additional attacks "seem likely."
These attacks, Brown said, shouldn't be necessary to rally support for Anonymous' cause.
"In this case, I'm not sure what else we would have to do to alert the nation to the fact that an officer threw a flash-bang [grenade] at a wounded protestor while others were attempting to help him."