An online war appears to have erupted between rival factions in the online Anonymous collective.
Official websites used by Anonymous including anonops.net and anonops.ru were down at the time of writing after a former member Ryan had stolen credentials from users and launched denial of service attacks against the sites, according to posts by the group.
Anonymous is warning users not to access the websites and IRC channels formerly used by the group to coordinate a string of attacks for which the group is famous, claiming that visiting the sites may expose IP addresses.
The group has referred users to chat clients over the I2P anonymised network and is using an Indian based site anonops.in to post messages.
“We regret to inform you today that our network has been compromised by a former IRC-operator and fellow helper named Ryan. He decided that he didn't like the leaderless command structure that AnonOps network admins use, so he organised a coup d'etat, with his friends at skidsr.us,” a message read on the Indian website.
“Using the networks service bot Zalgo he scavenged the IP's and passwords of all the network servers (including the hub) and then systematically aimed denial of service attacks at them (which is why the network has been unstable for the past week).
“Unfortunately he has control of the domain names AnonOps.ru (and possibly AnonOps.net, we don't know at this stage) so we are unable to continue using them. We however still have control over AnonOps.in, and will continue to publish news there.”
In the statement, Anonymous said it was “profoundly sorry” for the incident, and signed the statement from group operators sh*tstorm, Nerdo, owen, blergh, and Power2All.
An apparent revenge attack, known as doxing, was launched against user Ryan where personal details including name, email, date of birth, phone number and online accounts were posted. It is not known if the details are accurate and calls to the UK phone numbers were unanswered.
Anonymous members claim Ryan is the creator of a Swiss-based mirror site of encyclopediadramatica.
Unconfirmed reports claim the fight arose after Ryan and other users broke away from the Anonymous group and hacked Sony’s PlayStation Network.
The Financial Times separately reported unnamed sources within Anonymous had attacked Sony after participating in the groups’ OpSony campaign in which the tech giant was hit with denial of service attacks.
Supposed chat logs of hackers behind the attacks on Sony were posted on thehackernews.com.