OpUSA:: Feint or Fail?

So, yesterday was the date of the much awaited OpUSA, originally proclaimed to be a decisive attack on the US banking and government infrastructures. Thankfully, there seemed to be little impact on US banking or government, and while some commercial and even government sites did get attacked, the sustained impact seemed to be fairly well contained.

Below are a few thoughts on OpUSA and observations made from the data we saw around the Internet (in no particular order):

  • Anonymous groups seemed to be alluding to some infighting, with some groups mocking others and some fragments calling the entire operation a fake. There does seem to be some form of power struggle or competition going on inside the loose alignment of cells, at least from what conversations could be reviewed on Twitter, other social media and the paste bin releases.
  • Many of our team considered the possibility that OpUSA was a feint, designed to attract media attention and recruit new talent, even as primary groups and forces remained on the side lines. From a strategic point, this might make sense, though the in-fighting argument above seems more likely.
  • There seemed to be a large focus on attacking sites primarily powered by PHP. Certainly there are groups and cells inside the movement where their primary focus is PHP attacks and their exploits and tools are solely geared to PHP compromises. Other platforms are likely to remain in scope and within reach, but the majority of the attacks and compromises released yesterday seemed to revolve around PHP.
  • The 10,000 credit card release was MOSTLY a bust. All of the cards we saw were already expired. HOWEVER, it should be noted that SSNs, security questions and other PII was included in that release, so the impacts are broader than just credit card information.
  • Lots of released account credentials, software licenses and such also came out with associated tag lines during the operation. Additionally, many of the folks posting released data to the paste bins and on Twitter also usually release a good deal of pirated software, media and music from what we could tell. It is likely that some of the actors involved in the movement also participate in software and media piracy.
  • At least 3 credit unions were included in the released target lists. This was interesting, especially given the previous Anonymous stance that citizens should replace banks with credit unions. One has to wonder why these three particular CUs were targeted or if they were merely tokens. 

Other than the usual chatter and jeers, there seemed to be little unique about OpUSA and the efforts identified with the campaign. The media is picking up on some additional items here and there, but largely, the operation was seen as being a smaller or less successful campaign than previous attack sets.