Anonymous hacker Phineas Fisher will pay up to $100,000 in crypto to hackers for leaking some damaging information about global high-profile firms. The bounty, called the “Hacktivist Bug Hunting Program” was published on Nov. 15 and targets big companies including Israeli spyware vendor NSO Group and American oil company Halliburton, as Vice reported on Nov. 17.
The idea of the new bounty is to pay other hackers who carry out politically motivated hacks against firms, which would lead to the disclosure of documents in the public interest, according to Vice. Other targets reportedly include mining and livestock companies in South America.
Phineas Fisher will pay hackers in Bitcoin or Monero
In a purported manifesto published on Friday, Phineas Fisher said that he will pay hackers in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (BTC) or privacy-oriented coin Monero (XMR).
Phineas Fisher, who has never been identified and may be an individual or a group of hackers, reportedly stated:
“Hacking to obtain and leak documents with public interest is one of the best ways for hackers to use their abilities to benefit society [...] I’m not trying to make anyone rich. I’m just trying to provide enough funds so that hackers can make a decent living doing a good job.”
Anonymity of hacktivism raises major concerns
As reported by Vice, Phineas Fisher’s identity has never been made public — even after an investigation into the famous Hacking Team hack. In 2015, Phineas Fisher took over the servers of the Hacking Team, an Italian firm providing hacking and surveillance software for police and corporations, in order to expose all the company’s secrets in a 400-gigabyte torrent file containing internal emails, files, and source code. After an extensive investigation, Italian authorities reportedly said that they had no idea who Phineas Fisher was.
As Phineas Fisher has remained anonymous since 2014 and recently announced the controversial bounty, the anonymity of hacktivism has raised major concerns among nations so far. Andrew Thompson, a manager at the cybersecurity firm FireEye, tweeted Nov. 17 that he has “zero percent trust in anything portrayed as hacktivism, which is anonymous.”
On Nov. 14, Cointelegraph reported on an anonymous organization called Unknown Fund, which plans to donate $75 million in Bitcoin to startups focused on anonymity and the protection of personal data.