In response to the New Zealand government's passing of the controversial GCSB Amendment Act, a purported representative of 'Hactivist' group Anonymous says the group will "broaden the scope of [its] NZ operations" over the next week with "Operation Kiwi Freedom".
In a seven-minute fifty-second video posted to YouTube (embedded below) on 25 August, a masked figure 'reads' a statement purportedly from the group, following a series of news clips and interviews criticising the Act.
Operation Kiwi Freedom
To the government of New Zealand: you have our full attention and we are watching your every move. Consider yourself warned.
It continues on to say that now "The Leaders of your country are being manipulated and corrupted", and "The passing of the controversial GCSB Amendment Act was a clear indication to us that we needed to intervene."
New Zealand's alleged involvement in the United States' PRISM and XKeyscore foreign intelligence programmes is criticised, pointing to leaked XKeyscore documents on which New Zealand is mentioned in the page headers. This point was raised earlier on news show Campbell Live, a video clip of which precedes the statement.
The Anonymous video warns "the citizens of New Zealand" that "Due to the inevitable corruption of your government we have decided to broaden the scope of our NZ operations. During the next week operation kiwi freedom will come in to full affect[sic]."
Authenticity/OriginsThe statement is read aloud by a male text-to-speech synthesiser, and a transcript is included in the video's description. This is similar to videos posted internationally by other purported members of Anonymous, lending credence to its authenticity.
The video was posted under YouTube account AnonOps NZ, which was created on 22 August, on the same day posting a video advertising Operation F*** GCSB and claiming responsibility for the next day's outage to the GCSB website. Those are the only two videos posted by the AnonOps NZ account at the time of writing.
The first video also opened with a subset of the news clips that appeared in Sunday's video. The news clips featured are predominantly local, with the majority captured from 3 News or TV3's Campbell Live.
A Twitter account of the same name, @AnonOpsNZ, is referenced by the YouTube account and began tweeting on 23 August.
What to ExpectPreceding 'Operation F*** GCSB' appears to have related to a single attack on the GCSB website. It is unclear whether Operation Kiwi Freedom similarly relates to a single upcoming action, series of actions, or an ongoing campaign. The language used in the statement may suggest the latter, though 'Operation Kiwi Freedom' might refer only to the next action in a planned campaign.
The GCSB website attack can be seen as a statement more than anything else -- the website contains only a few 'about' pages, a small 'newsroom' section containing media releases, and a careers section that contained no open positions at the time of the attack. The website's takedown likely had no impact on the operation of the Bureau besides creating work to counter, then investigate, the attack itself.
Sunday's video claims "This [attack] was downplayed by the media due to more deception from a GCSB employee."
The video does not suggest what sort of action Operation Kiwi Freedom may involve from a technical standpoint, and it does not outline specific targets.
The previous video mentioned the National, ACT and United Future parties, who supported the bill in the 61/59 vote for its adoption. Potential targets include the websites of those parties, their MPs and supporters.
On the same day the second video was posted, the message "You have our full attention and we are watching your every move. #opKiwiFreedom" was sent via @AnonOpsNZ Twitter account to the official Twitter accounts of United Future MP Peter Dunne; National MPs Paula Bennett, Chris Finlayson, Bill English and Prime Minister John Key; and ACT MP John Banks.
Other government websites may be targeted, particularly that of the GCSB, and possibly those of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), NZ Police and NZ Defence Force, all of which are empowered to draw upon the powers of the GCSB for surveillance of New Zealand citizens under the new legislation. Other supporters of the bill may also be targeted.
The @AnonOpsNZ twitter account has shown support for politicians opposed to the bill, including Green MPs Gareth Hughes and Russel Norman.
Anonymous' most common form of online protest is the DDoS, or distributed denial of service attack, in which attacks by a collection of internet-connected PCs or other devices under the control of an attacker are directed against an internet-facing service, usually a website. In one of its more common forms, this may simply mean saturating a web server with sustained requests, such that legitimate users cannot access the service or their access is limited to some degree.