HB Gary Federal CEO Resigns in Wake of Anonymous Attack

Aaron Barr

After being turned into a laughingstock by the Wikileaks-defending activist hacker group “Anonymous,” HB Gary CEO Aaron Barr has stepped down.

The announcement comes three weeks after Barr became the target of a coordinated attack by members of the online mischief making group Anonymous, which hacked into HBGary Federal’s computer network and published tens of thousands of company e-mail messages on the Internet. HBGary did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comments on Barr’s resignation.

In an interview with Threatpost, Barr said that he is stepping down to allow himself and the company he ran to move on in the wake of the high profile hack.

“I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation,” Barr said in a phone interview. “It’s been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I’ve been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I’m confident they’ll be able to weather this storm.”

Good luck with that. For a nice, lucid explanation of what happened, along with numerous informative links, please refer to Sima’s recent post, Opening the Hive.

Here’s a quick and dirty summary of what Barr did to invite the attentions of Anonymous:

Barr had found himself at the center of a scandal that began when he told the Financial Times he planned to reveal the names of some “leaders” of the hacker group Anonymous. Anonymous responded by hacking HBGary Federal’s site, stealing 71,000 emails from the company and its sister firm HBGary, and defacing Barr’s Twitter account.

[….]

But the worst was yet to come. Anonymous posted HBGary’s emails in a searchable format, and the ensuing press scrum exposed a darker side to HBGary Federal’s business that offered a variety of dirty tricks on behalf of clients. In a proposal intended for Bank of America and written on behalf of a law firm referred to the bank by the U.S. Department of Justice, Barr suggested borderline illegal tactics that aimed at responding to a potential release of the bank’s documents by WikiLeaks. Those methods included cyberattacks, misinformation, forged documents, pressuring donors and even blackmailing WikiLeaks supporter and Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. In another deal, HBGary suggested similarly a shady response to the Chamber of Commerce in its campaign against the Chamber’s political opponents including non-profit organizations and unions.

Another corporate buffoon bites the dust. Good riddance. Of course there are probably plenty of others like him still employed by HB Gary Federal.


4 Comments on “HB Gary Federal CEO Resigns in Wake of Anonymous Attack”

  1. dakinikat says:

    This kind of sordid tale reminds me why I don’t want to work for the private sector any more. Anonymous is beginning to feel a like instant karma. I bet they could find more of that kind of behavior in just about every hard drive of every senior management person in the majority of the corporations in the country. Bet they all attend church on Sundays too.

  2. Sima says:

    Thanks for posting this, BB. I’m glad to see that idiot has done the right thing, and resigned. I think he’s an idiot for being so full of hubris and not even beginning to guard his company.

    I’ve been out of the loop while dealing with the family stuff, which should be getting better soon! Yay! Mom’s having her spinal operation tomorrow. We are all hoping this means she’ll be able to walk again, after she recovers.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Sima,

      I hope the surgery goes well and your mom will have a successful recovery. Take care of yourself too!