[SpinDoctor to the rescue.. What better way to jump from being public enemy #1 to 'hero'? Instead of hacking the Pentagon, use the magic buzzword of "child porn" and say you are fighting it...]
Two of the three teenagers implicated in recent attacks on military computer networks are members of an international online organization that calls itself Enforcers. Members of the group came forward Thursday night to defend their colleagues and their actions - which they maintain have more to do with fighting kiddie porn than wreaking havoc on government Web servers.
[A group which had never been heard of until this article..]
Enforcers communicated with Wired News in an interview conducted over Internet Relay Chat - a global, text-based chat network. The group clarified its role in what deputy secretary of defense John Hamre described as "organized and systematic" attacks on unclassified military networks. Members of Enforcers conceded that some of their members were responsible for the attacks.
"As a group we have nothing to do with the hacking of government servers," said a 19-year-old American student calling himself KuRuPTioN. "What individual members do on their own time is up to them," added paralyse, another 19-year-old American, a student of networking technology. "Not all of us are involved but everyone who is involved is a member," said a 17-year-old American who goes by Anonilir`.
Enforcers stressed that only a minority of their members are mischievous hackers. They added that they often tip off the FBI to pedophile Net porn dealers, and have offered to help the US government eliminate child porn online.
"If [the FBI] would work with us instead of against us I would work with them," said Anonilir`.
[Nice vague statements that sound good but mean nothing.]
Members of Enforcers said that their cohorts - Makaveli, the California teen who was rousted by the FBI last week, and Analyzer, Makaveli's mentor and the group's de facto leader - have been sullied by the media.
"I'm horrified by the treatment being given [Makaveli and Analyzer] and the public's perception [and media's casting] of them as malevolent crackers," said paralyse.
[The treatment? They had a few articles written about them. Its not like they are rotting in jail for years without trial like some hackers are.]
"I think we all hope that nothing does happen to them," added CanadaGod, a 17-year old from Canada.
First established in 1996, Enforcers is a tightly knit group with about 30 members ranging in age from 16 to 38, from countries including the US, Canada, Australia, and possibly Israel. Some members are system administrators, others are students. One manages a design team, while another describes herself, in part, as a mother.
The group meets on an Internet Relay Chat channel called #enforcer, and while some members, including Makaveli, Analyzer and another teenager called immunity, confirmed that they have gained access to government servers, the group says they have never viewed classified materials.
[Sep 14, 1998 no one is in the channel #enforcer on EFNET IRC]
In a Wired News interview on Tuesday night, Analyzer claimed to have root, or system administrator-level access, to more than 400 unclassified military Web servers. Analyzer did not mention using them to launch attacks against online pedophiles, which other members of the group claimed he does. Instead, Analyzer cited his motive for hacking as simply "challenge."
Analyzer is still at large, though unconfirmed reports place him in Israel, where he is reportedly preparing to enter compulsory military service. He told Wired News he supported the Israeli Internet Underground, which other sources characterized as a malicious gang of crackers.
In a message to Wired News that he called "The Truth About Analyzer," Anonilir` urged, "Put yourself in Analyzer's place."
"Think about the pedophilia and racism on the Internet, that the government does nothing to stop," Anonilir` wrote. "But oh yes, they will take care of you, the hacker, and mark you a criminal. What do you do? You choose to strike out against these evils in your own fashion."
[This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 'members' attacking government servers.]
"Kill two birds with one stone ... you use their computers to fight what you would call a crime," the message continued.
But attacks launched from hijacked government servers is not the preferred strategy for fighting kiddie porn and racism, Enforcers members said. Instead, paralyse said that Enforcers' activism centers around promoting awareness and encouraging cooperation from Internet service provider (ISP) administrators, the Undernet (a version of Internet Relay Chat), and the users themselves.
[Awareness.. so where is their web page or mailing list that makes users aware?]
If such diplomacy fails, and an ISP administrator refuses to cancel the Internet account of a confirmed kiddie-porn trader or Web-site operator, paralyse said the group will often mail a complaint to the FBI. Either that, or group members may delete a site or "flood" a pedophile IRC channel, thus making it unavailable.
[Like any two month old hacker knows, this doesn't stop them at all. This causes a few seconds of inconvenience at best as they move to a new private channel, or switch to direct communication like DCC Chat.]
The diverse but familial group believes that the recently announced government crackdown on cybercrime is a ploy to support the Clinton administration's desire to increase spending on security and encryption.
"You can't sell the country on paying their taxes for more security unless you convince them of a need for protection from these 'dangerous' people," said paralyse.
Enforcers member KuRuPTioN attributed the crackdown to US attorney general Janet Reno's desire to secure funding from Congress for a proposed $64 million cybercrime command center, to be called the National Infrastructure Protection Center.
"It's to push Reno's Internet Crime Bill ... THAT is the ONLY reason for all the hype," said KuRuPTioN.
"[We are] a very strong group of people ... brought together for one cause ... for freedom on the Internet ... and for the right to learn," said ShdowGawd, another member.
Speaking for the subsection of the group that does hack government systems, immunity said that "hacking is illegal, but ... the servers we hack, we help patch [them] back up, we don't steal their files."
[Colorful spin doctoring. The issue isn't stolen files. It is breaking into the military servers in the first place.]
The group said that the FBI's painting of them as a dangerous threat to national security is based on "ignorance and misunderstanding, [the] assumption of an evil motive when there is none," said paralyse. Accessing a password-protected government network is a felony, according to a government source.
Most Enforcers members say they do not believe that investigators will catch Analyzer, who they say is highly skilled at the art of network concealment.
[Care to rephrase that? :)]
The FBI has refused to comment on the investigation.
Editor's Note: Because of the anonymous nature of IRC, the real-world identities of those who participated in this interview could not be confirmed.
[But this doesn't stop him from taking more steps to verify it? Or stop him from printing it at all?]