A hacker has leveraged their skills to make a statement politically — by stealing €10,000 from a bank in order to help fund an anti-capitalist Kurdish group dangerous close to land seized by IS.
The hacktivist, believed to be responsible for high-profile attacks on targets including exploit peddler Hacking Team, revealed on Wednesday via a Reddit forum that he stole the funds from an unnamed bank and donated the proceeds to a Kurdish group in Rojava.
Based in north Syria, the autonomous area borders territory now held by Daesh and Turkey, neither of which are happy to trade, which will eventually lead to shortages of food and essentials.
The hacker, who goes under named including “Phineas Phisher” and “Hack Back,” also promoted his actions in a tweet.
The money, which equates to 25 Bitcoin, was donated through the Rojava Plans’ public crowdfunding campaign, which highlights how the area is suffering through export and import restrictions.
Speaking to Ars Technica, Deniz Tarî, from Rojava Plan commented:
“We are currently extremely busy and it is sometimes hard to get online, this being a warzone and all. And for what we will do with the money […] you can also check our campaign page where we have a rough description of where the money is going.”
The campaign’s Bitcoin address reveals the donation was made on 5 May 2016. At the time of writing, Rojava Plan has raised almost €27,000, which will go towards tools and workers to create fertilizer for future harvests.
This is an example of a hacker putting their skills to political use — and while some have applauded his efforts, others are not impressed with the tactics used to raise the funds.
The cyberattacker admitted there was “a lot to learn” from the methods used by Russian cybergangs for the sake of giving themselves luxurious lives, but for the average hacker, Phineas suggests “carding,” which is otherwise known as credit card fraud.
Whether his intentions in stealing from the bank are good is up for debate, but Reddit contributors lashed out at his tactics, noting that credit card theft and fraud can result in stress, pain and anger for the average, innocent individual — and it is not always a quick process in sorting out the problem with the bank. One poster commented:
“It takes about a month for a credit card company to reimburse victims of credit card fraud, and about 1-2 weeks before a new card will come in the mail. In your deluded mind that might be a minor inconvenience but in reality that’s enough to really mess with the average person’s life.
People like you are the absolute worst.”