Aaron Barr was the CEO of an Internet security firm called HBGary Federal. Anonymous is a secretive (hence the name) group of Internet users who have no problem shutting down the CIA website if the situation calls for it. Seeing as how Aaron Barr's security firm works with the U.S. government on cybersecurity issues, he decided to conduct an "experiment" in which he would flex his cybersecurity muscles by rounding up actual names of Anonymous members using publicly available resources like Facebook and Twitter.
And yet, just Googling "Anonymous" would have given him enough information to predict what happened next.
Using fake aliases, he actually managed to sneak into forums that Anonymous users used and talked directly to some of the group's leaders. Timing events on the forums to events on Facebook and Twitter, Barr figured he had names for "about 90 percent of their leadership."
Now, he was head of a security firm and these were a bunch of hackers. It makes perfect sense. And, had he just quietly passed this information off to the FBI, who had been tracking Anonymous for months, we probably wouldn't even be talking about Aaron Barr right now. Hell, maybe some good might have been done.
Although several mask vendors would have gone out of business.
But no way was Barr going to let an achievement like this be ignored by the world at large, so he decided to have his work published in the Financial Times, effectively boasting about how much smarter he was than this group of rag-tag hackers.
Do we even need to tell you what happened next?
The Petty Revenge:
Anonymous was quick to act, publishing over 50,000 HBGary company emails, wiping out an entire terabyte of backups, taking down the entire HBGary website and locking everyone out of it by changing every password that could possibly be changed.
Oh, and for good measure, they also remotely wiped Barr's iPad.
"As long as we exist, you will never play Angry Birds again!"
Barr tried to go into the forums again and claim he was never planning on selling them out to the FBI, but Anonymous called his bullshit bluff when they pointed out that they had all his emails, including those between Barr and the FBI.
The president of HBGary Inc., Penny Leavy, went into the forums herself and asked what Anonymous wanted. Their answer was simple: Fire Barr and make him issue a public apology. Barr resigned, and his company's reputation was ruined. After all, their main line of business was freaking cybersecurity. In the end, not only did they fail to defend their website and private emails, but they also couldn't defend their booth at a cybersecurity show. Sad.
This is like catching Big Brother rocking out to a Sex Pistols album.
It was a bad day for 1st Lieutenant Harold Fisher. It was World War II and he was on his 20th bombing mission, coming back from Italy. His B-17 "Bonnie Sue" was barely flyable. Two engines were gone, and he was seriously considering ditching the plane. He had the crew throw everything out -- guns, ammo, flak jackets, anything that could lessen the weight of the aircraft, hoping to stay aloft long enough for a miracle.
"Toss the bombardier last!"
They got one -- a familiar American P-38 fighter came by to cover him. Fisher radioed him asking for assistance, and his comrade happily obliged and pulled alongside to escort him home. Everything was at last looking up.
Until a minute later, when Fisher was shot down by the very P-38 that was supposed to be covering him.
This was before enemy units glowed red on the mini-map.
Instead of an American pilot behind the controls, this particular P-38 was piloted by an Italian named Guido Rossi who had captured it on the ground. Fisher attempted a water landing with his aircraft and, as far as water landings go, it was pretty successful. Translation: Every single person on board wasn't killed. Fisher survived the emergency landing and was eventually rescued by the British.
His plane was dredged up, repaired and sent off to spend its retirement in Air Force One's harem.
As it turns out, Fisher wasn't Rossi's first or last victim, but would prove to be the one who would lead to his undoing.
The Petty Revenge:
Fisher went to his commander, Colonel Bill Hall, and asked permission to borrow an experimental YB-40 aircraft. A YB-40 was essentially a B-17 with the bombs taken out and a ridiculous amount of guns added.
The YB-40 "Flying Arsenal"
There were no YB-40s in Africa, so they had the Brits fly one out there, for the sole purpose of taking down Rossi. The Allies had essentially just condoned a private vendetta using experimental aircraft just to quell the hijinks of one Italian fighter pilot.
After hand-picking a crew, Fisher went out in search of Rossi, but the slimy bastard never showed. Meanwhile, Rossi was still off somewhere in his undercover plane, pulling his ruse and shooting down B-17s left and right.
Fisher wasn't going to give up. He pored over intelligence documents and found something interesting: Rossi's wife, Gina, was located behind friendly lines. Fisher quickly searched her out and found her. After seeing what she looked like, Fisher got a painter to paint a picture of her on his aircraft and put her name on it. All just so he could piss off Rossi even more when he shot him down.
Above: 1,000 percent more tasteful than the nose of Fisher's plane.
On the next bombing mission, Fisher was getting ready to become a pretend straggler again when he all of a sudden was shot and became an actual straggler. Who among us hasn't been there before? After ordering his crew to dump everything except for ammunition, they flew on. Soon enough a P-38 pulled up alongside, but they couldn't tell if it was Rossi or not. Thinking this time it was a legitimate P-38, he ordered ammunition dumped overboard as well, until a curious question came across the radio.
"Pretty girl, Gina. She from Constantine?"
Suddenly thrust back into reality, Fisher ordered his men to keep their ammunition and guns and carried on with his conversation with the P-38 pilot, steering the discussion toward cutesy stories about how nice it was to be straight up boning Mrs. Rossi.
"Enjoy the syphilis, Mr. Fascism."
This infuriated Rossi to the point that he flew far ahead of the bomber and attempted a suicidal head-on attack. Waiting until the last minute, Fisher ordered every gun on board his aircraft to fire on the P-38, which was literally shredded away around Rossi from the massive amount of gunfire.
Rossi was picked up by Allied Rescue crews and became a POW for the rest of the war. Meanwhile, Fisher was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and his entire crew Air Medals for their incredibly hilarious revenge campaign against one Italian pilot.
It did wonders for the morale of the men Rossi hadn't already killed.
Which one of them actually ended up boning Mrs. Rossi while her husband was a POW is still unclear, so we're going to assume they all did.
For more tales of vengeance that are almost unbelievable, check out 7 Legendary Acts of Petty Revenge and 6 Historic Acts of Revenge That Put 'Kill Bill' to Shame.