Following on from the arrest of a number of LulzSec hackers who were affiliated with Anonymous, analysts have begun to speculate that the collective may be in need of a "re-brand".
Backing up his comments on OpAntiSec, F-Secure security expert Sean Sullivan suggested that the recent betrayal of the Anon known as Sabu, had done permanent damage to Anonymous's credibility.
"I think these LulzSec arrests and Sabu's actions have damaged the 'Anonymous brand'. At least an important part of it. Its soul has been tainted. And as the counterproductive nature of OpAntiSec becomes more apparent over time, critics will blame LulzSec/Sabu," said Sullivan.
Moving on, Sullivan suggested that the news that Sabu had become an FBI informant would cause a further schism within Anonymous.
"Those that use Anonymous to organize real-world movements, such as Occupy, will drift away. Those that align with Anonymous to hack have already been splintering off. Numerous hacking teams have been doing 'co-ops' for a while now. I suspect that will continue. Hacktivism will continue. But Anonymous may well need to re-brand or else it will fade away," said Sullivan.
Sullivan's comments refer to the speculated ideological schism currently going on in Anonymous. Speculation of the change began in 2011 when a number of Anonymous's sections re-focused their efforts, decreasing their hacking activity to support Adbuster's Occupy movement.
The change in focus has since been viewed by some analysts as an evolution within the group, indicative of its growth. As the collective's profile has grown, several individuals with no hacker knowledge or desire to enact cyber-attacks have begun to define themselves as Anons due to their belief in the symbolic, anti-authoritarian stance Anonymous holds.
The new members have in turn begun using the Anonymous moniker as a means to portray discontent at the current global political and economic systems rather than an alias under which to enact cyber-attacks.
"There is a wing of Anonymous which is older and looking for more lawful ways of making our voices heard, but if we are not heard, we'll just step back and let the skiddies do their thing," commented one individual claiming to be an Anon to the International Business Times UK.
The FBI confirmed that Sabu (aka Hector Xavier Monsegur, an unemployed 28-year-old Puerto Rican living in New York) was an informant for the law enforcement agency on Tuesday.
"HECTOR XAVIER MONSEGUR, a/k/a 'Sabu,' a/k/a 'Xavier DeLeon,' a/k/a 'Leon,' who also identified himself as a member of Anonymous, Internet Feds, and LulzSec, pled guilty on August 15, 2011 in U.S. District Court to a 12-count information charging him with computer hacking conspiracies and other crimes. MONSEGUR'S information and guilty plea were unsealed today," read the FBI's statement.
Sabu reportedly turned informant after being arrested several months ago during a larger campaign by law enforcement. The campaign saw a further five alleged LulzSec members arrested around the globe on Tuesday - two in the UK, two in Ireland and one in Chicago. The operation follows the 2011 arrests of several other believed LulzSec members including the group's alleged "PR man" Jake Davis - aka Topiary.