Inside the Convoluted Plot to Bring Down WikiLeaks

Nate Anderson in Wired:

ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 16 12.56 When Aaron Barr was finalizing a recent computer security presentation for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, a colleague had a bit of good-natured advice for him: “Scare the shit out of them!”

In retrospect, this may not have been the advice Barr needed. As CEO of the government-focused infosec company HBGary Federal, Barr had to bring in big clients — and quickly — as the startup business hemorrhaged cash. To do so, he had no problem with trying to “scare the sh*t out of them.” When working with a major DC law firm in late 2010 on a potential deal involving social media, for instance, Barr decided that scraping Facebook to stalk a key partner and his family might be a good idea. When he sent his law firm contact a note filled with personal information about the partner, his wife, her family and her photography business, the result was immediate.

“Thanks. I am not sure I will share what you sent last night — he might freak out.”

This rather creepy behavior became common; Barr used it as a sign of his social media prowess. Another target of his investigations went to “a Jewish Church in DC, the Temple Micah.” Someone else “married @ the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, MD (non-denominational ceremony).” Barr was even willing to helpfully guesstimate the ages of children in photographs (“they have 2 kids, son and daughter look to be 7 and 4″).

More here.