As many readers would no doubt already be aware, the FBI has just arrested 16 "members" of Anonymous in relation to DDoS attacks and intrusions.
The US Department of Justice swiftly issued a press release with the catchy, ALL CAPS title of "SIXTEEN INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED IN THE UNITED STATES FOR ALLEGED ROLES IN CYBER ATTACKS".
So this is a massive blow to "Anonymous" and its sophisticated campaign of mayhem, right?
One of the complaints details charges to be laid against Scott Matthew Arciszewski, 22. He's alleged to have somehow created an account on Infragard Tampa's Website and successfully uploaded a couple of files.
By the looks of things he made no attempt to hide his actions -- using his own IP address to conduct the "attack" -- then Tweeted about it and directed his followers toward his Website.
What a criminal mastermind. I'll sure sleep better tonight knowing this criminal genius has been taken off the streets.
Another complaint alleges former AT&T contractor Lance Moore uploaded a bunch of commercially sensitive material to Fileape. That information was subsequently "redistributed" by LulzSec.
This guy isn't even alleged to be sailing aboard the Lulz Boat, but hey, at least the DoJ got to use the word "LulzSec" in an indictment. What a win!
The remaining 14 arrests deal with a DDoS attack against PayPal, apparently in retribution for that company's decision to suspend payment processing for Wikileaks. They were using LOIC. How 1337.
So what does this all amount to? A leaker with internal access (AT&T), a young guy who was able to pwn Infragard in about five minutes (great security, guys) and a bunch of LOIC users.
And yet the coverage I'm seeing still persists with this ridiculous idea that the arrests will be some sort of strike against Anonymous, the "group".
So here, let's try to get something straight, once and for all: Anonymous is not a group. It's not a hydra. It's not a "loose collective". Anonymous is just a designation. Why is that so hard to understand?
Let's try an analogy.
17th century pirates liked to steal booty. They sailed the high seas and pillaged. They had a common flag. But they WERE NOT A GROUP.
Sure, there were groups of pirates that sailed on ships together. There was a common outlook -- that plundering booty was a worthwhile activity, ho ho and a bottle of rum, all of that. But they were not a group.
There were pirate hangouts like pirate taverns, so there was congregation, but no leadership. Pirates were not a collective.
So let's clear it all up. The anons are the pirates, IRC channels and imageboards like 4chan are their pirate taverns, and the various Anonymous outfits like @AnonymousIRC and @AnonOPS are pirate ships with multiple pirates aboard. They're groups of pirates! Simple! See?
So when the Spanish, Turkish, British or whichever police force claims to have arrested "key members" of Anonymous I wonder if they're deliberately misleading the public and their masters, or if they genuinely just don't get it.
This current batch of arrests will "bring to justice" a bunch of people who made no attempt to conceal their actions because they're either technically useless or just didn't care.
They're "low hanging anons".
But that won't stop the mainstream media from portraying this as the establishment striking back at online troublemakers.
TL;DR: Feds arrest dummies, MSM hails capture of anon masterminds.