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Fawkes Security is a group of self-proclaimed ethical hackers established in December 2011 who align themselves with the Anonymous movement. In October 2012, the group took responsibility for a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on banking company HSBS before posing a bomb threat set to detonate on November 5th, 2012.
Fawkes Security launched a Twitter account, YouTube channel and private Facebook group in December 2011. According to the group’s first video communique, its objective is to target companies and people they view as oppressing average citizens across the globe.
On October 18th, 2012, HSBC Bank revealed that the company came under a large scale DDoS attack, claiming that it only took their online services offline and did not affect any sensitive customer data. The attack was initially thought to be caused by a group named Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, who also took credit for DDoSing other American bank websites including Capital One Bank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo; however, a Pastebin document claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of Fawkes Security was uploaded later that same day, citing several of their real-time tweets as proof. The group also told British newspaper The Register that they planned on targeting more banks in the future, as the group feels they are at fault for the problems with the world’s economy. The next day, @FawkesSecurity further claimed in a tweet (shown below) that they had collected the details from 20,000 credit card accounts during the DDoS, but have not provided any proof.
When HSBC said ‘’user data had not been compromised’’ This isn’t entirely correct. We also managed to log 20,000 debit card details. #OpHSBC— Anonymous (@FawkesSecurity) October 19, 2012
On October 22nd at approximately 9:45pm (ET), during the United States presidential debate, @FawkesSecurity tweeted a link to its latest video message (shown below) claiming that a military grade bomb consisting of 200 kilgrams of composite Nitroglycerin and commercial explosives had been concealed in a government building somewhere in the United States. They also added the information in the form of a Pastebin document, warning readers that the bomb is in a tamper-proof box and cannot be disarmed without exploding if found before the detonation date of November 5th. The message was subsequently picked up by other Anonymous-affiliated channels on Twitter, many of which included the hashtag #OpV to cross-promote Operation Vendetta, an Anonymous protest set to take place in front of the British House of Parliament on November 5th, 2012, in commemoration of Guy Fawkes Night.
Soon after the video began to circulate, other Anonymous-aligned Twitter accounts including @YourAnonNews, @TheAnonNation and @Asher_Wolf, and the Anon Central Tumblr began claiming the bomb was a hoax and that @FawkesSecurity was not speaking for the whole community. Despite this, news of the threat was shared on Breitbart, Softpedia and TechNewsDaily.
The Daily Dot – Anonymous claims “FawkesSecurity” bomb threat a hoax
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