New documents from Edward Snowden’s stockpile have been released though NBC. This time documenting a British operation to infiltrate and identify members of the hacktivist group Anonymous. Carried out by GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, the campaign appears to have happened in during 2011; during Operation Payback when Anonymous targeted Paypal, Mastercard, and Visa for stopping Wikileaks donations.
GCHQ agents made contact with two individuals known as Gzero and P0ke, and the Powerpoint Slides shared by NBC show IRC chatlogs with how the agents managed to socially engineer the hackers into clicking on links that captured their personal data. This method is notable because it is how many hackers gain access to personal information. The British also claim to have crippled an Anonymous line of communication by launching their own DDoS attack on the IRC server.
Ars Technica pointed out that the operation occurred only month after the FBI turned former Lulzsec hacker Hector “Sabu” Monsegur. While it is possible that Sabu was the one who supplied the necessary intelligence for the operation, there is nothing in the slides to indicate a greater amount of cooperation between the two intelligence agencies. A better question would be wondering how Anonymous (and other groups) will react to this news.