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Re: [CT] DISCUSSION - Anonymous vs Cartels

Released on 2012-03-02 01:00 GMT

Email-ID 161628
Date 2011-10-24 17:22:02
nice. i still think the central focus, and what everything else can build
off of, is that Anonymous doesn't know the threat they pose to innocent
people caught up in the terror that is Mexico. By focusing on journalists
or taxi drivers they show little understanding of the situation. This has
long term implications in not just Mexico. They don't consider the
consequences of their actions and they act without understanding the
environment. It was the same when they released information on the Sony
Playstation network to protest Sony. They hurt innocent people to prove a

On 10/24/11 9:32 AM, Tristan Reed wrote:

Reposting this with a new shorter focus. Instead of discussing possible
cartel responses, the focus is on what type of threat Anonymous can pose
to cartels. The video released by Anonymous, threatens revealing
personal information on cartels as well as states a member had been
kidnapped. I could not find any sources outside of Anonymous' claims of
the individual being kidnapped. According to their facebook sites
(Anonymous Mexico and Anonymous Veracruz) it sounds like it may be an
individual posting flyers in Veracruz as part of the Operation
Paperstorm protest, although that is speculation.

Link: themeData
Anonymous, a well-publicized hacker group famous for distributed
denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks on government websites, lashed out at
drug cartels via the Internet with a statements denouncing Mexico's
criminal cartels, including a video depicting a masked individual
addressing Mexican drug cartels on October 10? With the most recent
video release, Anonymous makes bold threats towards the criminal cartels
in Mexico. Threats such as releasing identities of taxi drivers, police,
politicians, and journalists who collude with criminal cartels. The
hacker group demanded Los Zetas release a fellow kidnapped member
otherwise face consequences. In the Anonymous' video, this coming
November 5th was mentioned as a day cartels could expect Anonymous'
reaction if their demands of releasing a kidnapped member are not met.
The potential of conflict between Mexico's criminal cartels and hackers,
presents a unique threat towards TCOs. We know of cartels lashing out at
online bloggers, but I haven't seen any reporting on cartels dealing
with any headaches from hackers before.

What Anonymous brings to the table in a conflict
o Anonymous would not pose a direct physical security threat to
Mexican cartels.
o Anonymous' power base is the ability to exploit online media
o Anonymous hackers do not have to be in Mexico to lash out at

While not certain, there is a potential for Anonymous to pose a threat
o It is unknown if Anonymous's claims to possess identifiable
information on cartel members
o It is unknown what information Anonymous could acquire on
o Bank accounts, any online transactions or communications,
identifiable information on cartels members have to be considered in the
realm of possibilities for
o Anonymous has demonstrated it's ability to reveal
illicit online activity (child pornography rings)

Anonymous hackers likely have not been involved in the ultra-violent
world of drug trafficking in Mexico. As a result, their understanding of
cartel activities may be limited. Anonymous may act with confidence when
sitting in front of a computer, but this may blind them to any possible
retribution. They may not even know the impact of any online assault of
o Revealing information on taxi drivers and journalists will
cost lives. Anonymous may not understand some of these individuals are
forced to collude with cartels. Taxi drivers are often
victims of extortion or coerced to act as halcones. Revealing the
identity of these individuals will not have a significant impact on
cartel operations. Politicans have been accused of
working with cartels (Guerrero & Veracruz' governor) before, however
there has yet to be any consequences from this.
o Anonymous hackers may not understand the extent cartels are
willing to go protect their operations.
o Any hackers in Mexico are at risk.
o Cartels have reached out to the computer science community
before, coercing computer science majors into working for them.
o This provides the cartels with the possibility of
discovering hackers within Mexico.

On 10/17/11 10:19 AM, Marc Lanthemann wrote:

Oh man we are threading new ground here - I like the idea but there
are several issues to address and fix here.

These are the bullets of my main analytical concern with the

o we don't know who got kidnapped or why. that's fine but we
can't gloss over that fact
o "hackers" is a blanket term - there's a difference between
stealing bank records from government computers and overloading main page.
o There's no thought out process of what sort of information
could anon have on the cartels. What kind of info is kept online and
accessible to potential attacks? You seem to be talking about
identities, whose? If anything it's dirty cops, politicians and
businessmen who need to worry about what anon is going to be saying.
Think about why the bloggers and media were killed in previous
instances. Was it because they revealed operational details, because
they acted as informants, because they exposed links with officials or
because they somehow sullied the cartel's reputation? In short, what
kind of information is damaging to the cartels themselves?
o Once you identify this info - think about if anon can
realistically access it and disseminate it so it causes a measure of
damage. Anon doesn't have any intelligence capacity except for the
technical ability by a very small number of its members to infiltrate
certain networks and databases and steal information. Now what kind of
information would a cartel keep on a network that is connected to the
internet (aka no intranet)? Where else could information be found?
Government databases? Once we know what kind of information is
accessible, we can also know more about the consequences of
o What's the IT capacity of a cartel? Sufficient to trace
back attacks? If it's not, there risks to be a lot of killings done by
people who may not understand the difference between an anon hacker
and a blogger.

On 10/17/11 9:47 AM, Colby Martin wrote:

wanted to forward Karen's thoughts to analyst

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: [CT] DISCUSSION - Anonymous vs Cartels
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 09:28:18 -0500
From: Karen Hooper
Reply-To: CT AOR

you've got some of the issues here, but this is going to need a lot
more work

You need to lay out:

a) What exactly is going on with Anonymous, your trigger section is
b) what our assessment of the online cartel presence is, and
therefore their vulnerabilities and capabilities
c) How capable is Anonymous of breaching high security anything
d) how far the cartels would be willing to travel to kill anyone who
breaches their systems or exposes their connections

I also just want to point out that we have reasonable reliable
insight that Sinaloa at the very least has some significant levels
of sophistication in their online presence, to include the use of
cyber currencies and significant IT capacity. There is no reason to
assume that Los Zetas don't also conduct business online, in a
protected fashion.

Karen Hooper
Latin America Analyst
o: 512.744.4300 ext. 4103
c: 512.750.7234
On 10/17/11 8:46 AM, Renato Whitaker wrote:

On 10/17/11 8:25 AM, Tristan Reed wrote:

Link: themeData


Recently, Mexican cartels have faced a new enemy, hackers.
Anonymous, a well-publicized hacker group famous for...?, lashed out
at drug cartels via the Internet with a statements denouncing
Mexico's criminal cartels, including a video released depicting...?
a person talking? a voice? words on a screen? exactly when?. With
the most recent video release, Anonymous makes bold threats towards
the criminal cartels. Threats such as releasing identities of
Mexican? American? taxi drivers, police, politicians, and
journalists who collude with criminal cartels. The hacker group
demanded Los Zetas release a fellow kidnapped member otherwise face
consequences. The potential of conflict between Mexico's criminal
cartels and hackers, presents an unprecedented war front for the
cartels. The vastly different operations of Anonymous and Los Zetas
leave a conflict both Anonymous and the cartels have little
experience in handling. i believe that Anonymous has no experience
with the cartels. I do not believe for a second that the cartels
have no experience with hackers.

In the Anonymous' video, this coming November 5th was mentioned as a
day cartels could expect Anonymous' reaction if their demands of
releasing a kidnapped member this should be mentioned right up
front. Cartels have a member, Anonymous is threatening to hit back.
Provide enough details so we understand who this guy is and why/how
he was abducted. are not met. If Anonymous' claims of possessing
revealing information on cartel members and operations are true,
cartels will likely respond with violence against individuals
revealed as opposing cartel members huh? you mean Anonymous
members?. It also is likely that public disclosure of GOM officials
who collude with DTOs will force the GOM to take action, giving the
Anonymous threat complexity i don't understand what this means. You
mean the GOM will threaten Anonymous?. How effectively any cartel
will be able to retaliate against Anonymous remains unanswered .
However, cartels will continue their threats against any individual
using online media WC.... you mean tools? or weapons? We're not
talking about bloggers here. against the cartels.

The Battle Space

Anonymous's and the cartels activities exist in two separate
realities from each other. Anonymous operates solely in sphere of
the computer networks. Anonymous does not experience geographical
boundaries. All personalities within Anonymous, exist solely in
cyber space. (That is not entirely true. They are physical people
tho live in the real world. They have names and addresses - although
most of them are likely outside of MX.) Anonymous' power base
consists of their technical capabilities in hacking. Any information
connected to the Internet is vulnerable to exploits by hackers.
(Identifying the pc's of individual cartel members in the midst of
Mexico's population could be quite difficult. Remember that most of
what Anonymous has done are DDOS attacks. Sucks if you are
Mastercard or a big company with a website that brings in revenue,
but it does not really matter if you don't run operations on the
web. Los Z don't make much money via e-commerce. They are also far
less dependent on the web than the jihadists.)

Anonymous is known for its hacking endevours, but it's power base
consists of the perceived anonymity that its members believe
themselves to have, real or otherwise, by operating through the
internet. This gives an opening for people disgruntled by anything
and everything to practice general dickery. As the popular meme
goes, anonymity + audience = troll. Only a fraction of the large web
of people who identify themselves as "anonymous" have any sort of
serious IT capability.

The largest threat towards a hacker's existence so far has been from
targeted arrests by Law Enforcement Agencies.

The criminal cartels in Mexico operate on the streets in US and
Mexican cities. They are run as a business, always looking to
maximize profits and expand. But they are bricks and mortar
commerce. Yes..... but they use the internet to launder money and
issue commands. We know that Sinaloa does that from insight. There
is no reason to assume that Los Zetas don't have a similar capacity.
Their power base is built by large amounts of revenue and escalating
brutal violence. Cartels like Los Zetas, are experienced in facing
different types of threats. Cartels are always suffering at the
hands of cartel on cartel violence. While battling each other,
cartels still face arrests by Law Enforcement Agencies. As cartels
wish to avoid any hindrance in the flow of drugs and money, cartels
have targeted media outlets. Murdering journalists and online
bloggers in order to cover details of their operations. ok... but
that's kind of a red herrng for this discussion. You need to focus
on the possible vulnerabilities of the cartels. Don't just assume
they have no cyber presence.

Anonymous' Weapons

Whatever impact will be felt due to Anonymous' actions against
criminal cartels has yet to be seen. Anonymous' only ability to
combat cartels lay in information operations, mainly disseminating
sensitive information on cartels and propagating anti-cartel
statements via social media and defaced websites in Mexico you mean
so far and that we know of?. As Anonymous admitted in their video to
cartels, they cannot fight with guns. The significance of a
targeted information operations campaign by technically elite
individuals can not be overlooked should not be underestimated.
Cartels view main stream media outlets and social media blogs as
such a threat to their operations, that they have continued to
target journalists and bloggers. Last month, a message signed by Los
Zetas was placed with a dead female body more relevantly, on the
body of a blogger. The message threatened any users who denounce
cartels on blogging websites. getting repetitive here, and it's not
really addressing the subheading

As stated earlier, any information connected to the internet risks
disclosure by Anonymous. There is ample reason to suggest Anonymous
is capable of possessing information they threaten to release. By
releasing identities of individuals cooperating with Mexican
cartels, Anonymous threatens the life of those individuals.
Anonymous's ability to disseminate sensitive information is limited
by what is available via the Internet. Government computers
connected to the Internet should always be considered a possibility
of an attack. However, as with the compartmentalized nature of the
US governments computer networks, information available to Mexico's
intelligence collection may not be easy to acquire. what are you
trying to say here? This isn't clear at all

Cartel's Defense

A counter response to the video? by the cartels has yet
to see fruition. However, Anonymous' claims of a kidnapped member by
Los Zetas suggest Los Zetas have begun addressing the threat posed
by hackers so... how has there not been a counter response? also
this undermines your statements above about how Anonymous is soley
internet based, and underlines the vulnerabilities of associated
members. How did they find teh Anonymous member? The answer to that
could very well give you some indication to the technical ability of
the cartels . As Anonymous exists in abstract reality of the world
wide web , the cartels will face a number of challenges which rarely
are posed for them Again, how do you know? The USG has whole
agencies dedicated to fucking shit up in cyberspace. You can assume
(and we have good intel indicating that) they are working on
disrupting the cartels.. Hackers threatening cartels, can operate in
any region of the world. Personal information including locations is
only available if a hacker chooses to divulge it or if the subject
of the attack is savvy enough to figure it out. Hackers don't only
work for Anonymous. Cartels are only capable of dealing with their
online enemy, if they can physically reach out to them. Or start
employing hackers of their own under their payroll? Stranger things
have happened, Why not a Zetas 2.0?

Cartels have been known to coerce the services of
Mexican citizens with a technical background. Recruiting the help of
computer science majors through personal threats has been reported
in the past where? What cartels? reported where?. Since cartels
operate in the world of urban violence and drug trafficking, they
will likely need the assistance of technical experts to help combat
any threat by computer hackers. While identifying bloggers inside
of Mexico has been demonstrated, it is unlikely cartels are capable
of identifying any hackers operating outside of Mexico. Even law
enforcement agencies such as the FBi, with far more technical
experience and resources than cartels, struggle to find hackers
through investigations. A) How do you know they are not in Mexico?
(Who was the guy they kidnapped???) B) I'm goign to assume that not
all hackers are equally difficult to track down

In order to compete with an online foe, cartels will
likely continue counter tactics they are most familiar with, brute
force. Cartels are still capable of their HUMINT operations within
Mexico "still"? why would we assume they wouldn't be?. Individuals
with alleged connections to hacker communities will likely be
targeted and interrogated by cartel members. Narco banners and
public display of violence will likely continue to be used to scare
online media into submission i'm not really seeing the online
media-international hacking group connection here. The cruel
manners in which cartels inflict harm, is something computer hackers
have unlikely encountered before in their life. Whether the fear of
cartel violence softens the confidence of Anonymous will remain to
be seen until cartels are able to seek out and capture members of
the hacker group.. Or the Narcos could call the collective bluff and
simply go on and shrug off any inconvenience that Anon can inflict.

Marc Lanthemann
Watch Officer
+1 609-865-5782

Colby Martin
Tactical Analyst