A group claiming to be Anonymous is striking back after a fatal police-involved shooting in Dawson Creek last week.
The RCMP’s website was down for much of Sunday, a day after the cyber group Anonymous vowed to target the force to raise awareness about the shooting.
The shooting happened while a public information session on the soon-to-be constructed Site C dam was being held by BC Hydro.
The man who was shot, 48-year-old James Daniel McIntyre, is believed to have been affiliated with Anonymous. In a statement, the group claimed the shooting victim was “one of their own.”
The group has now promised to identify the officer involved and to post his personal information online.
Tech analyst and journalist Carmi Levy says he is not surprised at the extent of the group’s retaliation.
“We have seen this kind of pattern before, both in Canada and around the world,” he says. “When they feel that they, or one of their causes, has been wronged, they use a ddOS (distributed denial-of-service) type of attack, which is what they used here, as a way of sending a message.”
Levy thinks there will be further action if the group does not get the notoriety it is seeking.
“They don’t stop until they get what they want,” he says. “It is all about awareness and seeking justice.”
Last week, Anonymous claimed responsibility for hacking several Government of Canada websites and email services in retaliation against Ottawa’s anti-terror legislation.
“I call this our new normal,” says Levy. “They want to disrupt and level the playing field. They are the modern-day technological Robin Hood. They support those that they believe have been wronged. They go after large, oppressive governments and organizations that they believe are doing the wronging.”
One of the examples is the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam project.
“Here is a hydro dam that they are opposed to. It now gets a national audience. Much larger audience than would otherwise get,” says Levy.
And that could mean the group’s goals may have already been met, he says.
But ultimately, Levy says, there is no end-game for the hackers, and the government or RCMP should not bow to their pressure.
“For the same reason you don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t negotiate with hackers either because you don’t even know who you are negotiating with,” he says. “It is a loose collective. It is not a centrally governed organization. There is no command and control structure. You batten down the hatches. You live with the outages as they occur and you move on.”
Levy says Anonymous is undoubtedly becoming a force to reckon with and among hackers around the world, the Anonymous brand is probably the most recognized, and hence, most valuable.
“All you have to do is say Anonymous, and people pay attention. For them, it is victory.”