Anonymous: OpEndMonsanto claims first victim

Cyber activists associated with Anonymous are claiming credit for the ostensible demise of a PR firm that once represented Monsanto, the US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation.

The Bivings Group recently fell victim to a team of Anonymous hackers, which extracted and publicly posted the contents of a site database, along with hundreds of stolen emails. The group also rooted a number of servers and defaced the company website.

Shortly after the incident, Bivings shut down all servers, liquidated company assets and officially closed its doors. A number of former Bivings employees then opened a new PR company known as The Brick Factory.

“This is after 15+years of running marketing campaigns and helping some of the most corrupt corporations on the planet, as well as several governmental agencies, cover up their dirt,” Anonymous wrote in a communiqué.

“Operation End Monsanto is still very much up and running. Pwnage will continue indefinitely.”

Indeed, Bivings stands accused of orchestrating a 2002 campaign in which fictitious doctors spammed science-oriented listservs to disparage a Nature journal paper detailing how genetically modified corn contaminated native Mexican corn.

Unsurprisingly, Todd Zeigler, who served as senior VP of client services at The Bivings Group and founded The Brick Factory, denied that the Anonymous hack was responsible for the Bivings shutdown.

“The Brick Factory was founded Oct. 1 by former employees of The Bivings Group,” Zeigler claimed in an e-mail sent to SC Magazine. 

“The launch of the new firm is something that has been in the works for a few years. The attacks attributed to Anonymous had no impact on our decision to launch the new firm.”

Of course, the Bivings hack isn’t the first time Anonymous has targeted the multinational corporation, which is currently the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seeds. In June, the group leaked the names, addresses and phone numbers of 2,500 Monsanto employees and associates.