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SourceForge Shuts Anonymous OS Downloads

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Security concerns cause SourceForge to kill downloads for Anonymous OS

The website hosting the Anonymous OS has halted downloads of the software over security concerns.

Tens of thousands had downloaded Anonymous OS before it was pulled from SourceForge.net late yesterday, even though many raised doubts about the operating system’s authenticity. Even AnonOps went on Twitter to claim the download was wrapped in Trojans, yet many flocked to get their hands on the OS.

Too insecure

SourceForge took note, however, issuing a blog saying why it had removed the download.

“It is critical that security-related software be completely open to peer review (i.e., by providing source code), so that risks may be assessed along with benefits. That is not available in this case, and the result is that people are taking a substantial risk in downloading and installing this distribution,” SourceForge said.

“Furthermore, by taking an intentionally misleading name, this project has attempted to capitalize on the press surrounding a well-known movement in order to push downloads of a project that is less than a week old.

“We have therefore decided to take this download offline and suspend this project until we have more information that might lead us to think differently. We’ll be in touch with the project admin, and let you know if and when we find out anything to contrary, but for now, that’s what we’re doing.”

The Anonymous-OS Tumblr blog released what appeared to be results of a rootkit hunt for those concerned about Trojans on the system. Again, however, there is little proof of authenticity.

The operating system was released earlier this week, built on Ubuntu 11.10 and featuring  pre-installed software such as Tor, XChat IRC, Anonymous HOIC and SQL Poison.

Anonymous’ nebulous nature has been in the spotlight before. Early last year, people claiming to be Anonymous members went after the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. When the story went public, others also claiming to be part of Anonymous said the hacktivist group had not targeted the church.

Some see Anonymous’ disparate quality as a boon, helping it remain open and making it difficult for leaders to be tracked down. Others believe it will only harm the collective, as anyone can hijack the Anonymous name for their own ends.

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