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Epic FAIL: Anonymous didn't hack PayPal, managed to frighten Oz hippies

#OpNov5 pyrotechnics disappear in puff of smoke

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The smoke has cleared from Anonymous's Bonfire Night hacking spree with a denial from PayPal that it had been hacked. The payments-processing firm appeared to have been highest profile target of the hacking spree, but apparently this was an error caused by the tweeting and retweeting of an erroneous post by a cyber security blogger.

Hacktivists claimed to have uploaded 28,000 email addresses, names, and passwords of a certain firm, named in the blogpost as PayPal, after supposedly hacking into its systems. The claim was reiterated by various Anonymous-affiliated accounts, resonating in the Twitterspace. PayPal took the claims seriously and launched an investigation which concluded that the hack was not actually directed at it but rather at ZPanel, a web hosting software developer.

Hacktivists and the media latched onto a report by cyberwarnews.info that incorrectly named PayPal and not ZPanel as a victim, PayPal explained in a statement below.

It appears that the exploit was not directed at PayPal after all, it was directed at a company called ZPanel. The original story that started this and was re-tweeted by some of the Anonymous Twitter handles has now been updated.

ZPanel has yet to comment on the incident. Meanwhile Symantec and ImageShack, the two other significant targets of Monday's shenanigans, are continuing to investigate hacks on their systems.

A hacking crew called Hack the Planet (HTP) claimed the alleged hack on ImageShack allowed it to extract system files and other information. Meanwhile, HTP also claimed the alleged Symantec breach resulted in a database dump of 3000+ user accounts. Both attacks may have featured the use of zero-day exploits, or so the hackers claim.

There is now some doubt as to whether HTP's hacks were even related to the Anonymous OpNov5 attacks, as had been previously widely reported.

Meanwhile, supposed plans to take down Facebook and free Zynga games later on 5 November, which always seemed unlikely, never transpired. In fairness, elements of Anonymous distanced themselves from those supposed plans well before anything was supposed to take place.

What's left of #OpNov5 (AKA ‪#OpVendetta‬) in cyberspace amounts to site defacements against NBC.com sites and an Argentinian bank (cajapopular.gov.ar) as well as some distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Turkish government sites. Oh, and a number of websites in Australia were also defaced, namely: Ascension Australia (a hippie festival in Melbourne), Semcorp (a Australian web development company) and the Quality Lifestyle Alliance, an NGO - not an Australian government outfit as elements of Anonymous falsely claimed.

A Lady Gaga fan site - Gaga Daily - was also hit by a defacement attack by "pyknic", the same script-kiddies who sprayed digital graffiti on Saturday Night Live and other NBC websites.

The re-release of VMWare source code on Sunday by a hacker is another incident that might have nothing to do with #OpNov5 as such, even though leak torrents were promoted through social media using Anonymous and AntiSec hashtags.

Altogether its not much to boast about and only the real world demonstrations by hundred of Anons outside the Houses of Parliament in London went off as planned.

Instead of the promised pyrotechnics, #OpNov5 only delivered damp squibs, false attribution, confusion and few script-kiddies exploding unimpressive but loud bangers. Everybody involved, especially those who hyped up the non-event, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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