A bum on the run

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Christopher Doyon, a.k.a. Commander X
Ars Technica has an article,  Anon on the run: How Commander X jumped bail and fled to Canada, about Christopher Doyon who' a muckity-muck of sorts in the Anon hacker group.

He's a 50 year old 'hacktivist' who had been arrested for a 2 hour denial of sevice (DoS) attack on a county website. His pro bono lawyer put up his $35,000 bail and he promptly skipped court and headed for Canada. That's where he is now.

He imagines that he's a political refugee from the fascist United States and imagines that there are FBI agents after him hiding behind every bush. In the article he just comes across as a slightly deranged homeless person. He works out of coffee shops with free wifi, lives in a camp in the woods and panhandles for his daily needs: coffee, cigarettes and McDonalds hamburgers.

It's an interesting read, below is an excerpt of its start:
On December 16, 2010, at exactly 12:30pm, Doyon issued a typed order into an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) room used by the hacker collective Anonymous. "CEASE FIRE," it said in all caps. The command had no visible effect in the Starbucks where Doyon was working, though somewhere nearby the Web servers for Santa Cruz County, California groaned back to life after being flattened by a 30-minute distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack meant to protest an ordinance that regulated sleeping on public property.

Doyon unfocused his attention from his laptop screen and looked up at the coffee shop around him. Real life rushed back—the buzz of conversation, the smell of roasted beans. No one paid him any special attention, but Doyon felt a sudden pang of fear.

“It dawns on me… this isn’t Paypal or MasterCard,” he tells me when we meet in Canada. “This is fucking two blocks away. I just took down a government website two blocks away—and I told everybody I was going to do it. My heart starts to pound.”

He stepped out of the coffee shop and onto Pacific Avenue. Down the street, a reporter from local TV station KSBW was doing a “stand-up” with the Santa Cruz chief of police, asking the chief about the just-concluded denial of service attack. The chief was looking right at him.

So Doyon hopped a bus that took him into the mountains 20 miles outside of Santa Cruz proper, where he hiked up to the “pot camp” he called home for the moment. He stayed in the camp for a full week, scared of pursuit, until he was eating crusts of bread. The winter weather turned cold and wet, and Doyon grew miserable and hungry. He returned from the mountains to his old haunts in town and eventually to his regular coffee shops—despite knowing this “was a bad fucking idea.” He had reason to worry; over the last decade, by his own admission, he has done nothing but cause trouble in Santa Cruz. The cops knew him well.

One day in mid January, Doyon dropped by a favorite coffee shop, sat down, and opened his laptop. The barista was acting odd, giving a strange jerk of his head that made Doyon wonder if the man had a tic in his neck. Doyon logged into his password-protected computer and had just started work on the "operations" that take up most of his time when “a fucking arm comes from fucking behind me” and snatches his laptop by its screen. Doyon looked up to find a local cop holding his machine. The sudden realization of what happened hit him hard.

“I’m fucked,” Doyon says, remembering the moment. “They got the computer running.”

On screen, his documents were open for anyone to read: the press release announcing the attack, the Anonymous chat logs used to coordinate it, the High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC) computer attack tool. Out from the back room came a couple of FBI cybercrime agents in their “scruffy-ass fucking hoodies” and blue jeans. Doyon, one of the 40 Anons raided that day in a major sweep across the country, was served with a search warrant. In a press release announcing the raids, the FBI reminded people that "facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is illegal."
 Of course i had a distant brush with Anonymous when they hacked Stratfor. Near the end of the article, when he tries to explain his action he says:
“I would hope people would see me as someone who dedicated their life to bringing freedom and justice into the world, and to giving a voice to the disenfranchised masses.”
 Well, the freedom, justice and voice I got was having to change a mess of passwords and cancel a debit card because somebody in New England bought themselves a gift card with it. It didn't seem all that noble to me.


OMMAG said...

Canada EH?

He'll get along just fine in Vancouver....