The online “hacktivist” group Anonymous was targeting companies involved with the Alberta Oil Sands in an action it termed “Tarmaggedon” when 16 alleged members were arrested.
The collective had already hacked Monsanto in June, the agriculture giant confirmed to MSNBC, and had set its sights also on Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., Imperial Oil, the Royal Bank of Scotland and others, the group said in a July 12 statement.
First the collective hacked and made public information about 2,500 Monsanto employees and others, MSNBC reported.
The hacking was timed with protests along scenic Highway 12 in Montana, where Exxon and other conglomerates are driving megaloads through the heart of Nez Perce territory, through Idaho and Montana, carrying refinery equipment to Alberta.
“Residents along the route have joined National Forest supervisors, local Indian tribes, and national environmental groups in opposition to Big Oil’s northwestern greed,” said the grassroots group All Against the Haul in its Change.org petition against the shipping. “Most fear that the new activity will be permanent, creating lasting environmental damage.”
Authorities raided homes in New York, California, New Jersey and Florida on July 19, according to CBS News and CNET. Federal agents arrested at least 16 people allegedly connected to the 2010 attack on PayPal, which cut off the accounts of Wikileaks. The San Jose Mercury News reported that 14 of them were indicted in U.S. District Court in San Jose and arrested by the FBI in nine states as well as the District of Columbia.
“The FBI also announced it carried out dozens of raids as it continues to investigate cyber attacks connected to Anonymous against other companies and groups,” the Mercury News said. The other states were Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Among Anonymous’s previous “accomplishments” are computer attacks on, among others, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the City of Orlando, Sony, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and the governments of Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. Its claim to fame is a noted 2008 attack on Scientology headquarters.
Activist groups are planning a bigger protest against the Oil Sands in Washington in August.