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HBGary Chief Exec Resigns Over Anonymous Hack

HBGary Federal's CEO, Aaron Barr, has reportedly announced his resignation at the security firm after a series of cyber attacks exploited the companies infrastructure and exposed controversial emails of Barr's.

The emails included the revelation that Morgan Stanley, a HBGary client, was hit by the Operation Aurora attacks of late 2009, as well as messages that purported to show HBGary was planning a dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks.

"I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation," Barr told Threatpost in a telephone interview.

"It's been a challenge to do that and run a company. And, given that I've been the focus of much of bad press, I hope that, by leaving, HBGary and HBGary Federal can get away from some of that. I'm confident they'll be able to weather this storm."

Barr's problems surfaced after he bragged to the Financial Times that he had infiltrated Anonymous, the movement behind Operation Payback, and planned to uncover the identity of leading figures within the organisation.

On claiming HBGary had cracked Anonymous's identity, the company were set to reveal the information in a blog posting and press release.

However, Anonymous responded to Barr's interview by breaking into HBGary's IT system, stealing confidential files, publishing 71,000 of HBGary's email archive and defacing Barr's Twitter account.

HBGary, while admitting it was hacked and not denying the authenticity of any particular message, has said that the notorious mischief maker at Anonymous had plenty of opportunity to alter the published emails.

"Do I regret [making those claims] now? Sure," Barr told Forbes reporter Parmy Olson after the hack. "I'm getting personal threats from people, and I have two kids. I have two four-year old kids. Nothing is worth that."

Barr's decision may have been confirmed by a segment shown on the Colbert Report late last week that mocked Barr's World of Warcraft account and pointed to one of the hacked emails from Barr's wife threatening divorce.

The security firm has since withdrawn from the recent RSA conference, and the HBGary Federal web site is currently off-line.

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