Palantir is on the Radar of Anonymous and Congress

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

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Kelly Jackson Higgins of Darkreading has an interesting writeup that details the continued fallout from the HBGary Federal breach and email dump carried out by supporters of the Anonymous movement.

Now that HBGary's CEO Aaron Barr has resigned, it seems that the attention of Anonymous may be turning towards alleged co-conspirator Palantir Technologies, and members of Congress are also taking an interest in all of the players.

HBGary Federal was the victim of a hacking operation conducted by the hacktivist movement known as Anonymous which resulted in the release of tens-of-thousands of company emails.

The emails revealed that HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies had been enlisted by the law firm Hunton and Williams to develop a plan to disrupt WikiLeaks operations on behalf of Bank of America.

The leaked emails also contained information about plans to undermine the activist group Chamber Watch, among other questionable proposals.

According to The Washington Post, "a group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a 'disinformation campaign' against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

To make matters worse, Barret Brown - an Anonymous supporter and frequent writer on the movement - let it be known that Palantir may be in the movement's sights.

Higgins reports Brown stated, "I want help to get this information out on Palantir ... and for that congressional hearing..."

When asked about the possibility that Anonymous might target Palantir, Brown did not rule out the possibility: "No one controls Anononymous [sic]... people can influence it. Anonymous is going to do what Anonymous is going to do... we are on the warpath..."

Palantir had been quick to try to distance the company from the HBGary, the leaked emails, and notion that it participated in plotting strategies to perform aggressive operations.

"Palantir Technologies provides a software analytic platform for the analysis of data. We do not provide -- nor do we have any plans to develop -- offensive cyber capabilities. Palantir Technologies does not build software that is designed to allow private sector entities to obtain non-public information, engage in so-called "cyber attacks" or take other offensive measures," Palantir CEO Alex Karp said in a statement released in mid-February.

Palantir has remained quiet recently, and in the face of a possible Congressional investigation and with the possibility of being targeted by Anonymous, it is unlikely the company will be making any bold declarations in the press.

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