Twitter blocks Italian hackers, LulzSec and Anonymous: “Censorship without explanation”

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The hypotheses on the stop to the presence of the Italian ‘anons’ on the social, between threats and cyber raids

And so in the end they blocked them. Twitter has closed the italian accounts of LulzSec and Anonymous, the hacker activists responsible for the cyber attacks against San Raffaele, the Rome Chamber of Commerce, the Italian Digital Agency, the Asmenet public consortium and a series of universities, all in Italy. But they didn’t just suspended them. Almost simultaneously Twitter blocked the profile of another group of hacker activists, @DDoSecrets, who is taking the Wikileaks witness now that his cyber-star, Julian Assange, imprisoned in London, seems to no longer interest the newspapers either. They had just released 269 gigs of IT material relating of 200 police organizations, one of the largest cyber vigilance operations in recent years.

The news of the stop to the presence of the Italian ‘anons’ on Twitter appeared in the news of the Italian news agency AGI a few days ago, and since then many have been wondering what happened. Did they block the hacktivist for publishing names and surnames of alleged pedophiles after the #RevengeGram operation? Perhaps for the reports of antagonistic groups that contend the scepter of the hacker ethics? Or maybe for the complaints following their raids?

All the hypotheses are possible, but the most plausible one concerns the complaints to the police. And it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. Every two or three years italian postal and telecommunications police who has always kept an eye on them intervene when the law allows them to do so following a judiciary order, or in the face of a reborn aggression, exactly as happens with violent footbal fans on the web, right-wing extremists on Facebook or forums of anarchists who consider dangerous.

The same Italian LulzSec group, however, contacted by La Repubblica, say they do not know the reasons for the suspension, even if they admit through gritted teeth that perhaps inciting an M5S representative to “shoot herself in the mouth” for having blamed the hackers of the blockade of the INPS in click day may have played a role in the decision: “They censor us without giving us explanations, but we know very well that not even arresting a natural person stops an idea. Censored one profile we will open others “.

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On the other hand, the news that the international LulzSecs criticized the Italians for disseminating sensitive data is unfounded: the account from which it originated belongs to a single, with few followers and who asks for bitcoin money to give “tips” on targets to attack. And then “the international LulzSec” is a contradiction in terms, since the hacking actions for fun (“the Lulz” in jargon) are organized at the level of individual crews (groups) all over the world.

The explanation according to which they were blocked for having denounced a revenge porn and child pornography seems not plausible, given that for some time the Brazilian group CyberTeam and others have used Twitter to advertise faces, names, web addresses of alleged pedophiles.

Not even the use of the social platform to publish website defacements holds up as an explanation. Other self-styled hacker activists do so, and there are hundreds of them, while the hacker group #Pryzraky even advertised the use of botnets to attack banking sites on Twitter.

The hypothesis of mass reporting for violation of the terms of use of Twitter is more likely, although this does not happen frequently with xenophobes, haters and neo-Nazis. Among the authors of the reports there would be the same ones who claimed an attack against the IRC channels of Anonymous, the discussion rooms where they comment and sometimes coordinate their raids. The violation report was orchestrated in chat, the account blocking was celebrated in the @DeepDarkWebIta group on Telegram while in another group, CyberSec, with over 100 members, discussed, with the nickname Arrogante and PonyBastardo, how to make it pay to Anonymous and to journalists who report their operations, arriving in one case to wish him death under a car.

Even more serious was the reporting to Twitter of the Cicap, the Italian Committee for the control of the claims on pseudosciences, “washed” by Anonymous who had disclosed the names of the members, something that was not even liked by the sympathizers of the masked hackers. Many believe infact that there is a huge contradiction in reporting the lack of privacy with the violation of individuals’ privacy as usualy happens in the operations of italian LulzSec and Anonymous.

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The story of the DDoSecrets group seems different, a name that stands for “Distributed denial of secrets”, alluding to a technique used by hackers to collapse websites by flooding them with simultaneous access requests (DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service). The digital archive they published with the documents relating to the US police, called Blueleaks, and containing private emails, audio files, videos, FBI bulletins and various guides to intelligence tools had traveled around the world in a few hours by exploiting the concurrence of #BlackLivesMatter protests and indignation against police violence. One of the hypotheses in this case is that the blockade is due to pressure from the US Justice Department on Twitter, after the tug of war on the fake news of the US president.

On the last choices of Twitter would weigh the sword of Damocles of the suspension of article 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a sort of legal shield that so far had allowed American platforms such as Twitter itself to be a safe haven for any type of communication, even unlawful, relieving them of responsibility for user behavior. In fact, among the files published by DDoSecrets are documents containing personal information of policemen not secreted by hacker-journalists who, according to the company, presented the risk of endangering people. A similar explanation may also apply to Italian Anonymous. They may have been blocked to avoid a sea of ​​complaints.

The article was originally published for La Repubblica: https://www.repubblica.it/tecnologia/sicurezza/2020/07/02/news/twitter_blocca_gli_hacker_italiani_lulzsec_e_anonymous_italia_censura_senza_spiegazioni_-260761617/

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Teacher, journalist, hacktivist. Privacy advocate, copyright critic, free software fan, cybersecurity curious.

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