Anonymous, the "hacktivist" group that has acquired legendary status, may be threatening to take the Occupy Wall Street protests to a new level. This past weekend, a video message on YouTube, purportedly from Anonymous, vowed to "erase" the New York Stock Exchange "from the Internet." But another message, also said to be from the group, claims the threat is a fake.
Anonymous is a loosely knit group, and this is not the first time that different communications with conflicting messages have both claimed to be genuine. On the Pastebin site, a statement posted Tuesday, also allegedly from Anonymous, said that "something very disturbing has come to our attention."
'We Are the 99 Percent'
The Pastebin message said that the "Operation Invade Wall Street" video is a "fake planted operation by law enforcement and cyber crime agencies to get you to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement." It noted that the video urges attackers to use "depreciated tools that have known flaws," such as LOIC.
The Pastebin statement added that Anonymous would "never tell you to use LOIC," and that it wouldn't attack the NYSE on a holiday, Columbus Day. "It is debatable," the statement says, "if Anonymous would ever even attack NYSE."
The video says the attack will take place on Oct. 10, and is in retaliation for the mass arrests of protesters and for the economic crimes fostered by Wall Street.
In the YouTube video, a computer-processed voice addresses the "citizens of the world." It says: "For too long, the crimes of Wall Street bankers, CEOs and a corrupt political system have created economic injustice that has gone unchallenged."
"We are the 99 percent," the video continues, echoing a frequent rallying cry of the protesters. After listing the perceived grievances of the economic system, the video concludes with the voice saying, "Wall Street, expect us."
Alleged Target: NYSE Website
Text on the video instructs viewers to "use the tools necessary to 'anonymize' yourself," including LOIC, and notes that the "target website" is the stock exchange's www.nyse.com on Oct. 10. There has been some discussion that the threat could include online trading in general, but the video specifies only the website.
The website includes news, corporate information, news and stock feeds, investor and governmental information, and similar material. Networked trading is the lifeblood of the stock exchange, including trading done over private networks and via the public web. According to news reports, the trading systems all route thorough a data center located in Mahwah, New Jersey.
A spokesperson for the NYSE has declined to comment.
Anonymous, or some factions in it, have been active in the #OccupyWallStreet movement, which has been growing in size on Wall Street and in supporting demonstrations around the U.S. and Canada.