LONDON — The online movement known as Anonymous has made an unusual appeal to British police: "Stand with us."
Authorities said Thursday that the cyber rebels apparently broke into a forum called UKPoliceOnline to steal officers' email addresses, which they used to distribute a manifesto to current and former members of British law enforcement.
"We know that most of you are working-class people, like the majority of us, and that you too have mortgages, student loans, or your children do, and other debts as well. Don't defend the traitors against us, your fellow citizens," the message read in part. "We offer you our hands in friendship. Join us."
Anonymous is an amorphous, Internet-based insurgency responsible for a slew of cyberattacks against law enforcement websites, so the tone of its latest missive was something of a departure from previous practice.
Geoff Hyams, the managing director of The NSI Group, which runs UKPoliceOnline, described the messages as sober and thoughtful. "It was almost like a recruitment-type email," he said.
It's unclear how successful the recruitment drive will be.
London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement that it was investigating how Anonymous obtained the officers' email addresses.