(via IT World)
February 18, 2011, 01:10 PM —
On our last episode of Thank You For Not Sharing, I spoke with Ben de Vries, wrongfully accused by HBGary security wonk Aaron Barr of being the mysterious and elusive Commander X, alleged puppet-master behind the Anonymous collective.
(And if you’re not up to speed on the ongoing saga of HBGary and Anonymous, read this, this, and this. I’ll wait.)
It turns out Commander X is not that elusive, though he’s still somewhat mysterious. Because – unlike Aaron Barr — I just enjoyed a long and fascinating chat with him.
[ See also: That new Facebook friend might just be a spy ]
Far from being a leader of the Anons, Commander X says he’s a “peon” in the organization, though he also says has the ear of the older members who are trying to keep the young’uns in check. But he is one of the co-founders of the People’s Liberation Front, a “cyber militia” formed in 1985 (“during a hella LSD party”) that’s working with AnonOps to disrupt communications in Iran and Bahrain, just as they did in Tunisia and Egypt.
I got to chat with the Commander as he was coordinating DDOS attacks on the Web sites for the Iranian government. There are many things he declined to divulge – like the PLF’s source of funding, and the true nature of Anonymous’ relationship to WikiLeaks – but he was remarkably candid in other ways. Here’s an edited version of that conversation.
The popular impression is that Anonymous grew out of 4chan and is dominated by a younger participants — late teens and early 20s. But it’s clear you’re at least 40 years old. So is the popular impression wrong?
I didn’t say that. The PLF uses WikiLeaks to “leak” info on tyrants that we “find”.
I’d like to switch to a few questions about HBGary, if that’s alright. Have you ever had any contact with Aaron Barr or anyone else from HBGary?
Aaron Barr knows better than to contact me. Trust me, he is losing sleep waiting for what comes next. His life is basically destroyed now. And he deserves it. As for what else I could do to Mr. Barr, that is for me to delight in and him to lose sleep over.
Did you have any involvement in the hack that exposed all those emails?
Actually, no. I was contacted by Anon Ops the moment they had perused his “report” to let me know the PLF and myself figured prominently. The HBGary attack was done by Anonymous. As for who? Confidential.
One of the stories floating about after the hack is that HBGary had decompiled code for Stuxnet, and now that’s in the hands of the Anons. Any truth to that?
Absolutely none. Anonymous does NOT create viruses or other malicious code. Ever. It’s one of the guiding principles and it is never broken.
So if the PLF had access to Stuxnet, you wouldn’t use it against an evil dictatorship?
We have different rules, that’s all I can say. We have a bit more flexibility in those areas with the choices we can make. But IF we did something like that it would be a completely Black Op and no one would ever know of it.
Have you ever been contacted by US law enforcement as a result of your activities with PLF or Anon?
Contacted? Yeah they send me Xmas cards. LOL.
I have been in FBI custody for my “unlawful activities,” and I have had computers and other communications devices confiscated, or stolen as I see it.
So they know who you are?
I didn’t say that. They have not made a connection between Commander X and any one of the 40 people they have f***ed with. They are trying though.
You’ve said “I don’t want to be famous I want to be free. Not hunted like an animal or stalked like a criminal.” Do you feel hunted and stalked?
F*** wouldn’t you?
Yes. So why do it?
Because I live to protect the innocent and defenseless. Because it’s the right thing to do and someone has to do it. Because it’s fun kicking the ass of tyrants and human rights violators. Because it’s who I am.
ITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan wishes he had his own action figure. Experience his less serious side at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter:@tynan_on_tech.