Feeds

HBGary chief exec resigns over Anon hack

Barr falls on sword

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.