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Anonymous to Goldman Sachs: Hack-y Valentine's Day!

The hacking group announced plans to take down the investment giant's Facebook and Twitter accounts and inundate their offices with bogus phone calls. What, no candy?

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 Phil Albinus is the former editor-in-chief of Advanced Trading. He has nearly two decades of journalism experience and has been covering financial technology and regulation for nine years. Before joining Advanced Trading, he served as editor of Waters, a monthly trade journal ... View Full Bio

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Melanie Rodier
Melanie Rodier,
User Rank: Author
2/15/2013 | 11:05:34 PM
re: Anonymous to Goldman Sachs: Hack-y Valentine's Day!
Yes, it looks like the threat was made to bring attention to the cause, or to what Anonymous doesn't like about GS, rather than a real threat to bring down their social networks. At any rate GS's sites don't seem to have gone down. Although some say hackers could still be planning something bigger...It will be interesting to see if the new executive order on cybersecurity, if it becomes law, will have a real impact on hack attacks.
User Rank: Author
2/12/2013 | 10:13:21 PM
re: Anonymous to Goldman Sachs: Hack-y Valentine's Day!
Good to see Phil on here as well.- We had a story on Bank Systems & Technology today about how low the reputation of the banking industry is among consumers today.- This kind of stuff is one of the effects of having that low reputation.- But is it possible that if hackers and activists keep targeting banks that people will in turn get angry about the service being interrupted at their bank and start viewing the banking industry more favorably?
User Rank: Apprentice
2/12/2013 | 7:50:35 PM
re: Anonymous to Goldman Sachs: Hack-y Valentine's Day!
One has to wonder how one manages attacks like this from a public relations point of view, including the social media dimension. It's hard to imagine many people feeling sorry for GS, but the quasi-ideological nature of the attack and its vandalism-like approach may undermine the credibility of the attackers rather than the attack. Nice to see Phil Albinus' byline at WST!
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