In a new twist, 'Anonymous' hacker group threatens Zeta cartel in Mexico

An affiliate of the 'Anonymous' hacker group says that if the Zetas do not release a kidnapped member of their team, they will release the names of politicians moonlighting for the drug gang.

John Minchillo/AP/File
A Guy Fawkes mask associated with the hacker group Anonymous lies beside a police scooter in Zuccotti Park on Oct. 14, 2011, in New York. A group affiliated with Anonymous has demanded that the Mexican Zeta drug cartel release a hostage they are holding in Veracruz, Mexico, or else the hackers will release information about the Zetas and corrupt public officials that they work with.

A group claiming affiliation with the international hacking group Anonymous posted a video demanding that the Zetas release a hostage in Veracruz. The person in the video claims to have information about the names of the Zetas and of corrupt public officials working with the Zetas. They say they will release the names and addresses of people linked to the Zetas online.

The group then hacked the website of the former attorney general of the state of Tabasco, someone who has previously been accused of ties to criminal organizations, and posted a note claiming he works for the Zetas.

This is an interesting cyber twist to the ongoing conflict among criminal groups in Mexico. Due to the fact Anonymous is, well, anonymous, it's hard to verify the claims they make. However, clearly someone with some computer skills has decided to threaten the Zetas and those working with them.

Beyond the cyber angle, this is also a twist on the recent spree of vigilantism and paramilitarism that has been seen in Mexico. By threatening to post the names and addresses of officials working with the Zetas, the hackers are obviously aware that groups like the "Mata Zetas" and rival criminal organizations could use that information to commit violent actions.

The hacking and cyber messages are important, but it's always good to remember that the Zetas often prefer low-tech messaging to respond. The Zetas know they can't win by trying to out-hack Anonymous; it doesn't play to their strength. I wouldn't be surprised in the next few weeks to see someone in a Guy Fawkes mask hanging off a bridge with a message painted on a bed sheet next to him. That would match the typical Zetas response in this case.

UPDATE: More from Wired's Danger Room.

--- James Bosworth is a freelance writer and consultant who runs Bloggings by Boz.

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