The infamous hacker collective Anonymous has affixed its digital crosshairs on Jamestown, Pennsylvania based chemical munitions manufacturer Combined Tactical Systems on the anniversary of Bahrain’s protest movement that began one year ago.
The twitter account @YourAnonNews, which has become the mouthpiece for alerting those outside of the IRCs (internet relay chat, simply an independent online chatroom) to Anon's various operations, announced that the company's website was being attacked. After the initial announcement, the account tweeted a series of statements calling attention to Bahrain's "forgotten" protest movement in conjunction with a destributed denial of service attack on Bahrain's official website bahrain.bh.
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The group also released a statement on pastebin.com, where they traditionally post what are essentially press releases for the general public. In this statement the collective dicussed the motivation behind the attack on Combined Tactical Systems and their continued support for Arab protesters.
“From the streets of Oakland to Tahrir Square, to Palestine, Greece, Bahrain and Syria, your sinister instruments of torture and brutality have been used by the vile swine enforcers of the rich ruling classes to repress our revolutionary movements,” read the statement.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 14, 2012
Hackers were able to gain root access to the company’s webserver and removed the website completely. In this attack, the collective departed from their usual method of attack, the distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), which only renders the website inoperable for a finite period of time.
“We came, we saw, we rooted and rm'd your website. Umad?” read the statement on pastebin, “rm” meaning “removed”, referring to the all-powerful Linux “rm” command. For those without a 1337 speak dictionary or a guide to internet speak, “U mad?” is the preferred phrase used to taunt someone you just pwnd. “Pwnd” meaning “owned”, and “owned” meaning “defeated". y u no speak internet?
In addition to gaining access to the company’s webserver and removing the site entirely, Anonymous dumped names, email addresses, home addresses, and passwords of dozens of Combined Tactical System’s employees. Also, in a move to stem the actual flow of chemical munitions into the global market, information regarding Combined Tactical System’s distributers and customers was released as well.
Riot suppression munitions, such as CS gas (tear gas), manufactured by Combined Tactical Systems were used against Arab Spring protesters in countries across the Middle East. Seemingly throwing caution and good sense to the wind, munitions sold to the Mubarak, Qaddafi, Bin Ali, Saleh, and al-Khalifa regimes were stamped with the company’s name, logo, address, phone number, and fax number. Along with that information, “Made in USA” was also redundantly stamped on the canisters, just in case that the English speaking Arab protester could not make that conclusions themselves from the information already provided.
The chemical munitions stamped with “Made in USA” connected violent crackdowns to US policy for many protesters.
In Yemen, doctors initially thought the tear gas made by Combined Tactical Systems was actually nerve gas in light of the drastic physical effects it induced in the country’s often malnourished and impoverished protesters. When exposed to the gas, some Yemeni protesters collapsed, went into seizure, and even lost bowel control, leading medics to believe that the gas affected the nervous system.
Anonymous set out to ally themselves with Arab Spring protesters as early as December of 2010, defacing, removing, and DDosing state run and government websites across the Arab World. The collective is continuing to show support for demonstrators in Syria and Bahrain, two protests movements that Anonymous hopes to continue to aid in overthorwing the Assad and al-Khalifa regimes.
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In this particular hack, the collective seeks to remind its victims that not only are they opposed to violent crackdowns on protesters in Bahrain and Syria but also stand defiantly against Israel. Noting that the Combined Tactical Systems company flies Israeli flags outside of their offices, Anonymous also seeks to remind them that their munitions are used against Palestinians.
“…just two months ago your tear gas canisters fired by the IDF killed a man in the West Bank. Did you think we forgot? Why did you not expect us?” read the statement posted on pastebin.com, harkening to the collective’s mantra “we do not forgive, we do not forget, expects us”.