Some vengeful hackers appear to be seeing the error of their ways.
The Enforcers took down commercial sites in retaliation for the Israeli government's arrest of three Jerusalem teens, including the hacker known as "Analyzer." The teens are suspected of participating in the infiltration of numerous computer networks in Israel and the United States, including the Pentagon.
CNET Radio talks to InfoWar.Com's Winn Schwartau
"We, the Enforcers, have decided that it would be in the best interest of the hacking community and the security community at large to cease and desist all Web site hacking of external businesses as advised by Mr. Ian Murphy (Captain Zap). We agree that our actions are not productive and are doing more harm than good toward the security community," the release said.
The statement went on to assert that the group's goal was "a substantial reduction in child pornography and racist Web sites and Netizens."But Web pages hacked by the Enforcers were left with a message stating that the purpose of the hacks was to protest Analyzer's arrest.
"This webpage is hack not because of I hate the company or anything but just to voice out my opinion on the Israel government for arrresting Analyzer. I am not here and I repeat not here to show my eleetness but to voice out and to keep my promise. I said in the earlier hacks that I don't wanna see Makaveli or Analyzer to get punished!!!!!" [Original diction, spelling, and punctuation preserved.]
Makaveli is one of two California teens under investigation by the FBI for participation in the attacks on the Pentagon and other computer networks.
Yesterday's press release appeared on AntiOnline and in a revised press release from hacking and security Web site InfoWar. But InfoWar publisher and Interpact chief executive Winn Schwartau not only downplayed the significance of the statement, but also decried the media's focus on the hackers' activities.
"So much of this is just childish pranks, schoolyard stuff--and the media have given it way too much attention," said Schwartau.
If the reformed Enforcers left a void in the world of hacking, it was quickly filled. AntiOnline reported eight Web site hacks in the wake of the Enforcer press release.
Schwartau said more hacks were only to be expected.
"To say peace has been declared on the Internet because a couple of hackers said they won't do it again--if they did do it in the first place--is nonsense," he said. "In this culture, these guys pee on each other all day and call it rain. They're kids and they've got inflated egos. If one group says they're not going to attack anymore, of course the others are going to do it."
Schwartau added his site was known for having good relations with hackers. "We're friends with most of the hackers. They know we give them a fair shot." But he also advised skepticism when dealing with groups such as the Enforcers.
"We use the word 'claim'" when describing hackers' exploits, Schwartau noted. "It's like [early hacking group] the Legion of Doom, which was three friends of mine. Then, suddenly, everyone was in the Legion of Doom. These groups are really large, and then the police get onto them and they're nonexistent."
Whatever the size of the groups, Schwartau emphasized that hacking would not cease to be a problem. "It's only going to get worse," he predicted.