Anonymous, the underground "hacktivist" group that has claimed responsibility for numerous high-profile leaks and website hacks over the years, has released a list of phone numbers and email addresses that allegedly belong to Ku Klux Klan members.
Last week, Anonymous said it would begin releasing names and other personal information of Klan members and as of Sunday night, the organization made good on its promise.
The press release stated: “Today we have shut down servers, gotten personal information on members of the KKK, and infiltrated your twitters and websites. And this is just the beginning. On November the 4th we will be having a twitter storm, spreading awareness about the operation. And on the 5th we shall release more than 1000 Ku Klux Klan members' names and websites, new and old.”
As a teaser of sorts, Anonymous used the site PasteBin to release 57 phone numbers and 23 email addresses that they say were culled from the compromised KKK Twitter accounts and websites.
“You are abhorrent. Criminal. You are more than extremists. You are more than a hate group. You operate much more like terrorists and you should be recognized as such,” said Anonymous.
As Anonymous released its KKK information, an independent hacker who goes by the name Amped Attacks, released a list on PasteBin that includes the names of U.S. senators and mayors that he claims are members of or at least affiliated with the KKK. In an interview with TechCrunch, Amped Attacks explained his position.
“I am not involved with Anonymous or any other hacktivist group. I am my own man that acts on my own accord… I worked for nine days to gather and verify all the information that was gathered before its release. I got the information from several KKK websites when I [hacked] them and was able to dump their database.”
Amped Attacks did not include addresses or phone numbers in his list, but did end his post with the following message: “as i have said the reason i do not list the addresses of these people i do not want anybody to easily see this and take criminal action against these racist scum… #Exposed #YouMadBro”
Some websites have already run with the names in clickbait headlines, but none of the information from Anonymous or Amped Attacks has been independently verified and the Klan itself and affiliated groups have yet to make an official statement. Many of the people who were name checked by Amped Attacks and those whose numbers appeared in the Anonymous posts, have already made statements disavowing any connection to the KKK.
Indiana Senator Dan Coates took to his Twitter account to vehemently deny any affiliation with the KKK. “For those who are asking – I have never had any affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan and deplore all forms of racial discrimination,” said Senator Coates.
For those who are asking – I have never had any affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan and deplore all forms of racial discrimination
— Senator Dan Coats (@SenDanCoats) November 2, 2015
Senator John Coryn of Texas also distanced himself from the controversy with a statement from his spokesman:
“The claim, made by one individual who will not identify themselves or provide any facts to back up their assertion, is completely false, and to continue to perpetuate it is reckless and unconscionable… None of these emails or phone numbers are associated with Sen. Cornyn, and many of the phone numbers can be traced to publicly available phone numbers,” according to the statement.
Further complicating the situation, as of Monday afternoon after Pastebin links from Anonymous and Amped Attacks were released, the Anonymous account @Operation_KKK posted this message:
This account has NOT YET released any information. We believe in due diligence and will NOT recklessly involve innocent individuals #OpKKK
— Operation KKK (@Operation_KKK) November 2, 2015
Anonymous is not centralized and does not have an identifiable leader. There are numerous accounts that are “officially” associated with the group. This account is allegedly behind the Nov. 5 KKK data dump as well as the nationwide #HoodsOff march.