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Is the latest Anonymous ‘warhead’ just an empty threat?

An Anonymous offshoot in New Zealand has released a “final” message claiming its latest encrypted release is secret insurance.


Curt Hopkins

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 21, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 5:56 am CDT

An Anonymous offshoot has released a “final” message claiming its latest encrypted release is secret insurance.

The group responsible, AnonOps NZ, is the same that launched #OpKiwiFreedom last month in protest of a recently passed surveillance bill in New Zealand.

According to the video message the group posted on YouTube, the “warheads” they have released “have been quietly distributed to numerous mirrors over the last few days and they are available for download from this website now. We encourage all of those who believe in freedom to download and save these files to your computer, external hard drives and USB devices. Distribute them far and wide.”

If the government uses the laws selectively or “as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power,” AnonOps NZ has threatened to release the encryption keys.

This “warhead” threat is a popular one. As PC World notes, the encrypted documents are unlikely to yield up their secrets to a brute force attack. (Though recent National Security Agency revelations have indicated the intelligence agency may have access to much more powerful decryption technology than was previously known.)

The beauty of a warhead threat, of course, is that it is unprovable. Since no warhead has ever gone off and no such insurance has ever been cashed in, the validity of such a threat seems weak.

If a reliable source sworn to silence had been given a tour of the material, that would be one thing. But there is quite literally nothing whatsoever to keep any group from asserting it had nuclear launch codes when all they really had was the world’s most complete collection of Journey album art.

One such warhead was dropped in the Daily Dot mailbox in January. It turns out it was copied from a two-year old, previously accessible document. And the king of the warhead, WikiLeaks, dumped a 400 GB document onto the world’s laptops just last month.

Perhaps it’s the hacker version of planking and we’ll soon see it replaced by the hacker version of owling.

H/T PC World NZ | Photo by Nick Kean/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2013, 10:00 am CDT