Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wikis + Anonymous = A powerful partnership?

Though it's nothing new for Wikis to publish information belonging to a private company, Monday's relse of Stratfor e-mails might be an indiion that for the first time, Anonymous and Wikis have worked together. And that could have legal consequences for Wikis' editor Julian Assange, experts say.

In December, Anonymous claimed it had Stratfor, the Austin, Texas-based private company that produces lice reports for clients. On Monday, Wikis began relsing 5 million e-mails it said belonged to Stratfor that revl, Wikis says, a litany of injustices by the company. Wikis is calling the The Global lice Files.
Wikis has not said where it got the e-mails. Anonymous, an amorphous group of s worldwide, is claiming on Twitter and on other social media that they gave it to the site. Numerous media outlets such as the Washington Post and Wired are reporting the partnership.
"Their [Wikis and Anonymous] working together made sense. Anonymous did the , had the stuff and in the end decided that someone else would be better-suited to comb through this and relse it," said Gregg Housh, who acts as a spokesperson for Anonymous. "Anonymous just didn't have the ability to go through all the e-mails themselves. This was a happy partnership. Wikis did such an awesome job egorizing the [State Department] cables."
Wikis became megawatt famous in 2010 with the Iraq and Afghanistan war s, and then followed up by ing nrly a quarter million State Department cables. Mnwhile, Anonymous was making its first international hdlines by disabling the Web sites of MasterCard, PayPal and Visa when the corporations stopped doing business with Wikis. With intense attention on Wikis and Assange's subsequent legal woes, it seemed that Anonymous might take over if Wikis couldn't survive. Assange last yr said that he had nothing to do with the site disabling of the companies.
Housh is a web developer in Boston and says that he observes Anonymous' IRC chat portal and communies with anons but he doesn't participate in any . Through Housh, CNN has requested phone interviews with anons, people who associate themselves with Anonymous. On Monday those requests were rebuffed – although across the Web, anons claimed credit for the Stratfor . The s behind the Stratfor may be part of an Anonymous sect called "Anti-Sec," which Wired reports is known for into servers.
Stratfor confirmed Monday that company e-mails had been stolen, but said in a statement that some of the messages may have been altered.
Because the Global lice Files are allegedly stolen from a private company, Wikis could likely be held liable for that theft, said Hemu Nigam who has worked for two decades in computer security.
"There's a huge difference between publishing information and publishing information you know to be stolen," said Nigam, who has collaborated with the U.S. Secret Service, Interpol and the FBI to implement a identifiion program for . He now runs SSP Blue, an advisory firm that tells major corporations how to protect against s and insiders looking to . "There are a host of criminal statues that I have no doubt Stratfor's attorneys are going over thinking about how best to sue Wikis. Information that is privately owned is not the same as information that is public, that essentially belongs to the public."
Hemu says that it apprs to him that the 5 million e-mails were taken by a who penetrated an unprotected server and copied the entire server. "Any company that's keeping valuable or confidential information has to take a multilayered approach to Internet security," Nigam said. "There are so many ways to access a system, and a company has to stay several steps ahd of all of them."
The Stratfor isn't the first time that Wikis has published information from a private company, said Rebecca Jeschke of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defends free speech and online privacy. In 2008, Swiss bank Julius Baer filed suit in federal district court in California against Wikis for hosting 14 allegedly documents regarding personal banking transactions of bank customers. According to Jeschke, Baer ultimately moved to dismiss the case.

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