Rumor: Anonymous tried to block the State of the Union

The hacker group that brought down a federal web site last month made a new threat to block webcasts of president’s address

UNCONFIRMED:  Anonymous threatened to block the president’s webcast

Before President Barack Obama walked on stage Tuesday to deliver the State of the Union address that partly took aim at “the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks,” the hacker group Anonymous threatened its own cyber-attack on webcasts of the speech. 

What’s the beef?

 “We reject the State of the Union,” a statement by Anonymous reads, in part. “We reject the authority of the President to sign arbitrary orders and bring irresponsible and damaging controls to the Internet… We will form a virtual blockade between Capitol Hill and the Internet.” Among complaints, the group blasted Obama for “Orwellian newspeak” and signing an executive order for cyber security.

It didn’t happen—the speech went on without a hitch. “They don’t seem to be too discouraged,” Softpedia  says of the hackers.  “They highlight the fact that they’ve won the first three rounds by taking down sites of MIT, USSC and the Federal Reserve, so they ‘give round 4 to the sneaky gov.’” Anonymous last month claimed credit for shutting down portions of the  Justice Department’s web site after federal officials shut down the file-sharing web site Megaupload.com and arrested some executives on piracy laws, Washington Post reported.

Obama, in his State of the Union speech, addressed cyber security broadly: “We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail.  We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets.  Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.  We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.” Earlier that day, he signed an executive order to strengthen cyber defenses, though some described it  as a good first step.

 

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