Doyon beneath a primitive shelter he built in Canada. Nate Anderson When HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr decided to out the leaders of Anonymous, the loose hacker collective, he spent months infiltrating the group under the name “Coganon.” By the end of it he had identified three people who appeared to wield the most influence in the group. One of them was “Commander X,” the 50-something hacktivist who jumped bail and fled to Canada to avoid federal hacking charges. Barr’s name has long been a punchline among the Anonymous crowd, synonymous with “getting it wrong.” When several members of Anonymous broke into HBGary Federal computers in retaliation and stole Barr’s e-mail spool, they released it to the world. They told anyone who would listen that Barr’s project was so wrong as to be laughable rather than dangerous to them. Take Commander X. Barr identified the man behind the mask as one Benjamin Spock de Vries of San Francisco, but de Vries quickly told any journalist who would listen that he had nothing to do with the Commander X persona (he sent me several e-mails as well, hoping to get the matter cleared up, as he said it was causing him a good deal of anxiety).
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How Aaron Barr correctly identified Commander X