It won't be a happy Valentine's Day for investment giant and perennial punching bag Goldman Sachs. In lieu of flowers, the hacking group Anonymous has announced "Operation Goldman Sachs" to dismantle the firm's social media sites and bombard their main offices with disruptive telephone calls.
According to media reports, the so-called "hack-tivists" tweeted out requests to its 869,000 followers. They also have a Tumblr site with instructions in English, German and French.
As the International Business Times reports:
All the e-flyers say the attack will involve three steps: First, Anonymous is encouraging supporters to report the Goldman Sachs Facebook and Twitter accounts as spam. Then, the flyer provides a URL where users can fill out an abuse form on Twitter (you can do the same on Facebook), reporting Goldman Sachs for Twitter malfeasance. In the final step, Anonymous followers are asked to make "friendly" phone calls to Goldman Sachs' offices in London, Paris or Dublin, depending on which flyer they saw.
[For more cyber security, read: 10 Financial Services Cyber Security Trends for 2013 .]
According to Insider Media Group, the planned "operation" is a reaction to a recent interview given by Huw Pill, a chief economist at Goldman. While talking to the Huffington Post, Pill suggested that France lower wages by approximately one-third in an effort to increase competition in the labor force. The Operation Goldman Sachs Tumblr page is written in French, and might be an indicator that French hackers linked to Anonymous got the idea for the attack on Goldman from those comments.
Requests for a comment from Goldman Sachs media relations have not been answered. Stay tuned for updates.
Goldman Sachs remains a top target for hackers who wish to make a point about capitalism and the TARP bailouts in 2008. Two years ago, Anonymous made personal information about Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and other key employees. One media report says that "Blankenfein's age, education, recent addresses and legal cases he had been involved in."
(Really, is that it? It sounds like information Blankfein might have on his Linked-In page, if he had one.)
Other hacktivism has include the theft and publication of information from the Federal reserve. Ex-Anonymous activist Greg Housh told ABC News that this attack was brought on by the lack of prosecution of "big bankers that caused a lot of the problems we’ve had over the last few years." Housh also warned of more Anonymous attacks on governments in the future.
Check out the official Operation Goldman Sachs Tumblr page.
Phil Albinus is editor of FierceFinanceIT, a bi-weekly newsletter for financial CIOs and CTOs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.