Sometime last night, ussc.gov underwent an unscheduled website redesign. Front and center, the video statement from the Anonymous collective, embedded below.
A transcript helpfully accompanies the video. Under it, files named after Justices of the Supreme Court (referred to as "warheads," if I understand the text correctly) have been made available for download, (referred to as a "leak"). Content unknown, as of posting timestamp.
Had to have been before 6:37:51 GMT: Google's cached page mirrors the same content with which ussc.gov was replaced.
It seems as though the gloves are, how you say, off.
Citizens of the world,
Anonymous has observed for some time now the trajectory of justice in the United States with growing concern. We have marked the departure of this system from the noble ideals in which it was born and enshrined. We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights, the usurpation of the rightful authority of courts by the "discretion" of prosecutors. We have seen how the law is wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control, authority and power in the interests of oppression or personal gain.
We have been watching, and waiting.
Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed. Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win -- a twisted and distorted perversion of justice -- a game where the only winning move was not to play.
Anonymous immediately convened an emergency council to discuss our response to this tragedy. After much heavy-hearted discussion, the decision was upheld to engage the United States Department of Justice and its associated executive branches in a game of a similar nature, a game in which the only winning move is not to play.
Last year the Federal Bureau of Investigation revelled in porcine glee at its successful infiltration of certain elements of Anonymous. This infiltration was achieved through the use of the *same tactics which lead to Aaron Swartz' death. It would not have been possible were it not for the power of federal prosecutors to thoroughly destroy the lives of any hacktivists they apprehend through the very real threat of highly disproportionate sentencing.
As a result of the FBI's infiltration and entrapment tactics, several more of our brethren now face similar disproportionate persecution, the balance of their lives hanging on the severely skewed scales of a broken justice system.
We have felt within our hearts a burning rage in reaction to these events, but we have not allowed ourselves to be drawn into a foolish and premature response. We have bidden our time, operating in the shadows, adapting our tactics and honing our abilities. We have allowed the FBI and its masters in government -- both the puppet and the shadow government that controls it -- to believe they had struck a crippling blow to our infrastructure, that they had demoralized us, paralyzed us with paranoia and fear. We have held our tongue and waited.
With Aaron's death we can wait no longer. The time has come to show the United States Department of Justice and its affiliates the true meaning of infiltration. The time has come to give this system a taste of its own medicine. The time has come for them to feel the helplessness and fear that comes with being forced into a game where the odds are stacked against them.
This website was chosen due to the symbolic nature of its purpose -- the federal sentencing guidelines which enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers -- the federal sentencing guidelines which are in clear violation of the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments. This website was also chosen due to the nature of its visitors. It is far from the only government asset we control, and we have exercised such control for quite some time...
There has been a lot of fuss recently in the technological media regarding such operations as Red October, the widespread use of vulnerable browsers and the availability of zero-day exploits for these browsers and their plugins. None of this comes of course as any surprise to us, but it is perhaps good that those within the information security industry are making the extent of these threats more widely understood.
Still there is nothing quite as educational as a well-conducted demonstration...
Through this websites and various others that will remain unnamed, we have been conducting our own infiltration. We did not restrict ourselves like the FBI to one high-profile compromise. We are far more ambitious, and far more capable. Over the last two weeks we have wound down this operation, removed all traces of leakware from the compromised systems, and taken down the injection apparatus used to detect and exploit vulnerable machines.
We have enough fissile material for multiple warheads. Today we are launching the first of these. Operation Last Resort has begun...
Warhead - U S - D O J - L E A - 2013 . A E E 256 is primed and armed. It has been quietly distributed to numerous mirrors over the last few days and is available for download from this website now. We encourage all Anonymous to syndicate this file as widely as possible.
The contents are various and we won't ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file. Any media outlets wishing to be eligible for this program must include within their reporting a means of secure communications.
We have not taken this action lightly, nor without consideration of the possible consequences. Should we be forced to reveal the trigger-key to this warhead, we understand that there will be collateral damage. We appreciate that many who work within the justice system believe in those principles that it has lost, corrupted, or abandoned, that they do not bear the full responsibility for the damages caused by their occupation.
It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated.
However, in order for there to be a peaceful resolution to this crisis, certain things need to happen. There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment. There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing. There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea. The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice and disfavourable odds. Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.
For good reason the statue of lady justice is blindfolded. No more should her innocence be besmirked, her scales tipped, nor her swordhand guided. Furthermore there must be a solemn commitment to freedom of the internet, this last great common space of humanity, and to the common ownership of information to further the common good.
We make this statement do not expect to be negotiated with; we do not desire to be negotiated with. We understand that due to the actions we take we exclude ourselves from the system within which solutions are found. There are others who serve that purpose, people far more respectable than us, people whose voices emerge from the light, and not the shadows. These voices are already making clear the reforms that have been necessary for some time, and are outright required now.
It is these people that the justice system, the government, and law enforcement must engage with. Their voices are already ringing strong with a chorus of determined resolution. We demand only that this chorus is not ignored. We demand the government does not make the mistake of hoping that time will dampen its ringing, that they can ride out this wave of determination, that business as usual can continue after a sufficient period of lip-service and back-patting.
Not this time. This time there will be change, or there will be chaos...
For those Gentle Readers whose hands itch to revel in the unexpected and ungloved freedom of Anonymous solidarity with, popularization of, and working for the cause of justice on behalf of the now late Aaron Swartz:
The rest of the website is now editable.
Oh, we also took the liberty of making the entire rest of the site editable. Feel free to upload snapshots of your improvements with the hashtag #USSC. Failing that, we find that highlighting large sections and pressing the backspace key has a great therapeutic effect...
They fixed it by nine in the morning -- not that it was quick to load the page at least for me. Then lo and behold, in the afternoon, it was hacked again -- into a game of asteroids, revealing the iconic and reassuring Mask:
Anonymous re-hacks US Sentencing site into video game Asteroids
The U.S. Sentencing Commission website has been hacked again and a code distributed by Anonymous "Operation Last Resort" turns ussc.gov into a playable video game.
Visitors enter the code, and then the website that sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts becomes "Asteroids."
Shooting away at the ussc.gov webpage reveals an image of Anonymous. The trademark Anonymous "Guy Fawkes" face is comprised of white text saying, "We do not forgive. We do not forget."
Upon visiting ussc.gov and entering enter Konami code (with cursor keys) ↑↑↓↓←→←→ (up up, down down, left right left right) then keys B, A and "Enter" - the page becomes a playable version of the old Atari game, Asteroids.
Visitors can use their keyboard to shoot away at the U.S. Sentencing Commission website.
The hack reads:
AntiSec CAEK-mode activated. Destroy the system! Controls: up, down, left, right to fire.
Anonymous apparently still somehow has control of the website in some way, despite the last efforts by the U.S. government to clean up the attacks.
However, while the first hack was restored when the U.S. government swiftly acted to wipe the site from its DNS and pull the IP address, and then restore the website, the same resolution may not be possible as it seems Anonymous - and/or AntiSec - still have access.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts, and Anonymous stated it had chosen the website for symbolic reasons...
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Anyone have an explanation, please leave a comment. Traceroutes in text form here. In any event, if you missed playing asteroids, not to worry, you too can have fun:
So the United States Sentencing Commission and The United States Probation Department were repurposed as video games, showing off the depth and extent to which the keys to their metaphorical locks were, and are, pwned. Held by Anonymous, for ransom -- the death of Aaron Swartz having been the last straw.
The system of "justice" in America would have sentenced Aaron to 30 yrs for filesharing. It now would similarly punish citizens for unlocking their phones.
The Most Ridiculous Law of 2013 (So Far): It Is Now a Crime to Unlock Your SmartphoneWhen did we decide that we wanted a law that could make unlocking your smartphone a criminal offense? The answer is that we never really decided.
This is now the law of the land:
ADVISORYBY DECREE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESSIT SHALL HENCEFORCE BE ORDERED THAT AMERICANS SHALL NOT UNLOCK THEIR OWN SMARTPHONES.PENALTY:That's right, starting this weekend it is illegal to unlock new phones to make them available on other carriers.In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both.
Anonymous is demanding reform.
I would say that's overdue. Their demand? It should be ours, I thought, because we are all part of the solution, as I played what may very well be my first video game in over ten years, having fun. Unless, of course, one is part of the problem.
Or the precipitate.
Be seeing you.