WHEN you set out to destroy Anonymous, you would expect retaliation from the activist group.
But a war between the group and a former member, who now profits from ratting them out, has descended to violent and vulgar threats against uninvolved children, reports Gizmodo.
Jennifer Emick, 40, was an early member of Anonymous but decided to leave when they expanded their agenda beyond campaigning against Scientology.
- Former Anonymous member now hacks for FBI
- Tells of daily threats and abuse by activist group
- Children, mother targeted by Anonymous supporters
She believed the group had become controlled by ego, and the former moral leaders were being supplanted by a new faction who were no longer crusading for the right reasons.
Rather than walk away, Ms Emick and her start-up business Backtrace then went for the jugular. Using her hacking skills and insider knowledge of Anonymous, Ms Emick dug up contacts, dossiers and informants and sold the information to clients – including the FBI and enemies of Anonymous.
Earlier this year the FBI arrested Hector Monsegur “Sabu”, the leader of Anonymous offshoot LulzSec. They had to move quickly; Mr Monsegur’s identity and address were already online thanks to Backtrace.
“It took me four hours to find Sabu,” Ms Emick told CNET in March.
It’s fairly obvious why Anonymous doesn’t like Ms Emick. She betrayed their confidence and actively profits from dobbing them in to authorities.
However, for the last two years Ms Emick has been fighting the group and its fans – including her former Backtrace business partner – as they waged sustained attacks on her and her family.
The attackers have the time. Since Backtrace began helping the authorities Anonymous has been increasingly unable to hack into anything they please like they used to.
Online threats and abusive calls and text messages are a near daily occurrence for Ms Emick since her private details were published long ago.
Harassment of Ms Emick’s mother, references to her children and the school they attend, her social security number and home address, and threats of torture regularly appear on forums, websites and Twitter.
A sample of the threats levelled at Ms Emick on an almost daily basis by Anonymous and its fans. Picture: Twitter, via Gizmodo
“It shows though the lengths they’ll go to,” said Ms Emick.
“The only thing it takes for Anon to go against you is to criticize them. Especially if you refuse to back down.”
Ms Emeck told Gizmodo the harassment of her family was upsetting, but it’s clearly not enough for her to back down – Gizmodo reported Ms Emick was midway through bringing down another hacker.
She has no intention of stopping. Despite the collateral damage to her uninvolved loved ones, Ms Emeck is enjoying herself.
“It’s challenging. I love finding stuff. Also, it’s fun to outsmart criminals who think they’re clever.”
With attacks on children from one side, and seeming indifference of it from the other, observers are finding it difficult to have sympathy with either side of this bitter, vendetta-fuelled fight.