Feeds

HBGary chief exec resigns over Anon hack

Barr falls on sword

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

HBGary Federal chief exec Aaron Barr has resigned in a bid to allow the firm to draw a line under the continuing revelations from the Anonymous hack attack.

Barr was the prime mover in plans to out senior members of Anonymous at the B-Sides security conference last month. But hunter became hunted after the more skilled members of Anonymous hacked into HBGary Federal's computer network before publishing its email database.

The emails included the revelation that Morgan Stanley, a HBGary client, was hit by the Operation Aurora attacks of late 2009, as well as messages that purported to show HBGary was planning a dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks.

HBGary, while admitting it was hacked and not denying the authenticity of any particular message, has said that the notorious mischief maker at Anonymous had plenty of opportunity to alter the published emails. Nonetheless the hack itself, to say nothing of the range of circumstances that allowed the breach (insecure web apps, weak passwords and social engineering) would be hugely embarrassing for any firm, much less a small outfit that sells its white hat hacker expertise to government agencies and banks.

Adding insult to injury, HBGary has become the topic of comedy sketches, with comedian Stephen Colbert devoting a segment of the Colbert Report to the hack on 24 January. The sketch mocked both Barr ("master of counter-hacking" and World of Warcraft "level 90 night-elf druid") and "global hacker nerd brigade" Anonymous. According to Colbert: "Anonymous is a hornets' nest and Barr said I'm gonna stick my penis in that thing."

With such unwanted and high-profile media attention, to say nothing of the doubtless awkward private exchanges between HBGary and its client in private, it comes as little surprise that Barr has decided to fall on his sword.

"I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation," Barr told Threatpost in a phone interview. "It’s been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I’ve been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I’m confident they’ll be able to weather this storm."

HBGary is yet to comment officially on the resignation, which renews questions about its plans to move on from the hugely embarrassing Anonymous hack. We've put in a query to the firm and will update this story as and when we hear more. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?