Anonymous really wants to see a picture of me wearing a ballet tutu with a shoe on my head. This is the hacker collective's condition for releasing more information about their latest blockbuster leak, for some reason.
Yesterday Anonymous leaked what it claims to be one million Apple iPhone and iPad IDs stolen from an FBI cybersecurity agent named Christopher K. Stangl's laptop. This was just a sample of 12 million Apple device IDs found on Stangl's computer, they claim. Security experts say the data dump looks legit, and the FBI won't comment. The internet is in an uproar: What was the FBI doing with all these Apple IDs?
Like many other journalists, I'd love to talk to the Anonymous hackers involved in the leak. But included in the press release accompanying the leak, posted to the hacker document-sharing site Pastebin, was this note:
to journalists: no more interviews to anyone till Adrian Chen get featured in the front page of Gawker, a whole day, with a huge picture of him dressing a ballet tutu and shoe on the head, no photoshop. yeah, man... (and there you ll get your desired pageviews number too) Until that happens, this whole statement will be the only thing getting out directly from us. So no tutu, no sources.
Why does Anonymous want to see me in this particular tableau? I'm guessing it's some sort of revenge for the fact I've reported skeptically on their past operations. Whatever. I'm totally open to the possibility. I know I look pretty good in a tutu.
But how can I be sure Anonymous will hold up their part of the deal? Shadowy outlaw hacker groups are not known for their integrity. There was, for example, the time a prominent Anonymous hacker tried to trick me into writing a story falsely reporting he was working for the U.S. government to hack Chinese websites.
The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.