Though hacker group Anonymous was reported to have canceled plans to identify those working with Mexican crime syndicate Los Zetas, a spokesman for the group posted a video to YouTube saying the attack is still on.
Barrett Brown, who is often the public face of Anonymous, said members had voted and decided to proceed with the action, dubbed #OpCartel on Twitter. The members are being careful to protect themselves and also to make sure that the right collaborators are identified.
The drug cartel was reported to tracking down the hackers involved. For those afraid of being killed, Brown said, “This isn’t the movement for them.”
In a video posted Oct. 6, Anonymous threatened to expose government workers, taxi drivers, journalists and others collaborating with the Zetas unless it released an unidentified Anonymous member who was kidnapped in the state of Veracruz, the center of intense drug gang wars. Eight more bodies were found dumped there Tuesday. The group set a Saturday deadline for the member’s release or threatened that Nov. 5 would be “a day to remember.”
Earlier, Mexican newspaper Milenio reported that although Anonymous members there had called off the action, members in the English-speaking world might still be willing to carry through.
THIS IS NOT A GAME. Your life and the lives of others can be in danger. Be very careful, and avoid jeopardizing third parties.
Anonymous Iberoamerica said it is creating a special task force by invitation only. It’s advising members to send messages through a proxy server or through the online anonymity system Tor and to avoid being identified as part of the group.
It also claims to have created a widget that allows people to anonymously report cartel crimes or corrupt authorities. The group claims reports submitted to Mexican authorities just give the cartels personal data on those making them, which the groups use to assassinate people “with impunity.”
The hacktivist group – known for its attacks on corporate and government Web properties — apparently has gone on a do-gooder bent. Earlier this week, it was reported to be taking on child pornography. But critics said this threat have could imperiled the lives not only of those it exposed, but those of the hackers themselves.