UPDATE: Anonymous Fails to Stop the State of the Union Speech

UPDATE 13 FEB, 2013: 

It appears that the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous failed to disrupt U.S. President Obama's State of the Union Speech. From my vantage point, a couch in suburban New Jersey, the webcast was undisturbed.

This commenter on the Anonrelations.net web site summed things up well:

web site that claims to represent the Anonymous said the group is aggrieved by the re-introduction of the controversial CISPA cybersecurity legislation as well as reports that President Obama will issue an executive order concerning cybersecurity today. The web site says the "Internet is a sovereign territory, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of any nation state... Our determination is that President Obama is acting in direct contravention of this principle."

As we pointed out yesterday, the State of the Union webcast was a pretty risky target for Anonymous. If it had succeeded it would have incited the ire of the FBI. In failing, Anonymous appears to be a spent force.

-Samuel K. Moore


It seems that Washington D.C. isn't the only place where preparations are being made for the annual Presidential address to the U.S. Congress, scheduled for tonight at 9 pm Eastern Time. A web site that claims to represent the hacker political activist group Anonymous—reputed to have been behind several high-profile leaks and cyberattacks, has declared that it will attempt to block the live Internet feed of the State of Union address.

According to the web site, Anonymous is aggrieved by the re-introduction of the controversial CISPA cybersecurity legislation as well as reports that President Obama will issue an executive order concerning cybersecurity tomorrow. The web site says "the Internet is a sovereign territory, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of any nation state... Our determination is that President Obama is acting in direct contravention of this principle." Only the live broadcast is being targeted: "So as not to infringe upon the President’s free speech, subsequent broadcasts will be allowed to pass unhindered."

Blocking the live video would be a feat in itself. Doing so after giving an advance warning would certainly demonstrate a significant cyberwarfare strike capability—a demonstration which would, ironically enough, probably provide political cover for far reaching online security measures. Will Anonymous really make the attempt? Could they actually pull it off? We'll find out in a few hours.

Risk Factor's own Robert N. Charette thinks the move is risky whether Anonymous succeeds or fails. If it succeeds it'll provoked the ire of the FBI and underscore the President's need for the executive order. If it fails it could show that Anonymous is a spent force.

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