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Dublin: 22°C Thursday 11 August 2022

Anonymous hacker: Plot to 'kill Facebook' is a misunderstanding

A hacker claiming to have begun ‘Operation Facebook’ says the plan had been abandoned before a video about it was released.

Image: Arturo Rodriguez/AP

AN ‘ANONYMOUS’ HACKER who claims to have been behind the collective’s plan to attack Facebook on November 5 has said that the operation is a ‘giant misunderstanding’ – and that his project’s goal was never to take the site offline.

In a document posted to the text-sharing website Pastebin, the hacker - later named by Gawker as ‘Speakeasy’ – said the video publicising the attempted attack on the site had misinterpreted the original goal of the project.

The original ‘Operation Facebook‘ – which the hacker said was abandoned some time ago – had not been intended to take the website down, but rather to draw attention to what they saw as Facebook’s dubious privacy practices.

When the project began “several months ago”, its goal was “to bring attention to the fact that Facebook stored the data of user accounts”, and later also tried to “developed an ethical, anonymous Facebook alternative”.

It was on the latter project that work had begun, but ultimately volunteers grew tired of the project and offered to turn it over to another team of hackers who chose not to continue it.

The #opfacebook chatroom set up to discuss the project – and which contained portions of a draft message ‘to Facebook’ - was left online, however, and was ultimately discovered by other members who misinterpreted its goal:

At some point, somebody saw the near-empty channel and joined it. Rumours were spread ranging from 0-day exploits in Facebook to physical attacks on the server. Soon #opfacebook gained around 40 people who expected an attack on Facebook.

The hacker said the draft message included the line that Facebook would “never forget” the 5th of November, the intended date of the apparent attack, which had then spawned rumours of a full-blown attack on the site – which, in turn, led to this week’s release of a video warning of an attack.

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Gawker’s Adrian Chen said he had later spoken to the author in an IRC chatroom, where they had explained: “Even if it succeeded, Facebook has a lot of users, and we want to help them, not hurt them.”

The hacker acknowledged, though, that the attack could still materialise given the activity that the video may spawn.

Read Gawker’s full interview with the ‘Speakeasy’ hacker >

More: Anonymous threatens to “destroy” Facebook on 5 November >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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