In this article I will talk about IRC, a very common server software. Ever since my adolescence I've been on and around IRC, it's just something I'll never forget about. Perhaps this is where my offensiveness comes from.

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”

What is IRC?

IRC is an open protocol that uses TCP and, optionally, TLS. An IRC server can connect to other IRC servers to expand the IRC network. Users access IRC networks by connecting a client to a server. There are many client implementations, such as mIRC, HexChat and irssi, and server implementations, e.g. the original IRCd.

An IRCd, short for Internet Relay Chat daemon, is server software that implements the IRC protocol, enabling people to talk to each other via the Internet.


My go to client for Windows usage would be mIRC, this client only runs on the Windows operating system, so it will not work on Linux.

mIRC client - Windows
mIRC client - Windows

But if you are on Linux you'd want to pick between irssi or Xchat, these clients also work on Windows and of course there are more options to pick from. It's all about your preferences in terms of simplicity and graphics.

XChat - freenode server - Linux
XChat - freenode server - Linux

mIRC and Xchat creators

mIRC - Khaled Mardam-Bey, the developer of mIRC. Started working on mIRC in 1994 while studying for a Cognitive Science degree at the University of Westminster in London, where he first learned about the Internet.

XChat is the project of one man, Peter Železný also known as zed. XChat was initially developed as a Unix/Linux GTK application, however XChat now works on Windows too, this was due to being in such a high demand.

Connecting to IRC servers

The largest IRC networks have traditionally been grouped as the "Big Four"

The "Big Four" were:

  • EFnet
  • IRCnet
  • UnderNet
  • DALnet

Some statistics:

IRC reached 16 million users in 2001 and 10 million users in 2003.

Here are some of the largest IRC networks:

  • freenode
  • IRCnet
  • EFnet
  • Undernet
  • QuakeNet
  • Rizon
  • OFTC
  • DALnet

Latest news about IRC

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has lost 60% of its users, from 10 million in 2003 to about 400,000 today. In 2003 there were 500,000 channels; now there is half that number. This is mainly due in large part to the advent of the Web, social media platforms, and other software that is more interactive and can do a lot more than plain text can do.


So if you may wonder what happens over on IRC servers, right now you'll be able to find all kind of servers ranging from seeking help with your project (e.g Freenode, previously known as Open Projects Network, is an IRC network used to discuss peer-directed projects.) or if you just want to hang out and talk to people you could try (DALnet). Let's not forget iRC servers have been the home for many hackers for a very long time, you could find some old school hackers on UnderNet however many of those guys will run private servers and hide from the world.

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”


The birth of Anonymous itself was sporadic and amorphous. It was created over several years, the beginning was around 2006 on the popular 4chan message board and in Internet Relay Chat channels. The first Anons were in it for the lulz–simple amusement.

Anonymous and its factions LulzSec and AntiSec drew widespread attention between 2008 and 2012 as they tore loudly through the internet ruthlessly hacking websites, exposing corporate secrets, raiding email spools, and joining the fight of the "We are the 99%". The groups appeared to be unstoppable as they attacked one target after another, more than 200 in all by the government's count. It seemed nobody was beyond their grasp.

Just as Anonymous gained mainstream notoriety, however, it seemed to disappear. Little was heard from the group again until 2010, when Anonymous defended the cause of file-sharers with DDoS attacks aimed at the Motion Picture Association of America and others. But the move that really got the group attention was Operation: Payback, a series of DDoS attacks against PayPal, Visa and MasterCard for their refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks after the site began publishing the leaks of Chelsea Manning also Operation Last Resort, which targeted the U.S. Sentencing Commission and MIT websites to protest the unusually harsh prosecution of internet activist Aaron Swartz, Anonymous has gone silent for the most part.

When WikiLeaks drew attention to the DDoS attacks, interest in Anonymous grew exponentially. Participation on the public channel where members and spectators communicated jumped tenfold from 700 to 7,000 people.

I personally remember the AnonOps IRC server which I believe it still exists to this day, They were using Etherpad to keep the participants updated on the current Operations. Etherpad is a web application that allows for real-time group collaboration of text documents.

Anonymous Hacking Group
Anonymous Hacking Group

The group was undone in part by Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online by the nom de hack Sabu.

Check this if you are curious to see all the Ops that were carried out by the Anonymous hacking group.

LulzSec? Sure!

LulzSec Hacking Group
LulzSec Hacking Group

Lulz Security, abbreviated as LulzSec, was a black hat computer hacking group that claimed to be responsible for several high profile attacks, including the compromise of user accounts from Sony Pictures in 2011. The group also claimed responsibility for taking the CIA website offline.

One of the founders of LulzSec was identified by Backtrace Security in 2011 in a PDF publication named "Namshub". Hector Xavier Monsegur.

Sabu featured prominently in the group's published IRC chats. The Economist referred to Sabu as one of LulzSec's six core members and their "most expert" hacker.

He later helped law enforcement track down other members of the organization as part of a plea deal. At least four associates of LulzSec were arrested in March 2012 as part of this investigation. British authorities had previously announced the arrests of two teenagers they allege are LulzSec members T-flow and Topiary.

At just after midnight on 26 June 2011, LulzSec released a "50 days of lulz" statement, which they claimed to be their final release, confirming that LulzSec consisted of six members, and that their website is to be shut down. This breaking up of the group was unexpected.

Those who have followed the movement closely have said Sabu's participation in the arrest of Jeremy Hammond and others has had a chilling effect on Anonymous, causing members to lay low and worry if additional informants are lurking among them.

Below are chatroom logs of discussions between the hackers involved in LulzSec.

. /$$                 /$$            /$$$$$$
.| $$                | $$           /$$__  $$
.| $$       /$$   /$$| $$ /$$$$$$$$| $$  \__/  /$$$$$$   /$$$$$$$
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$|____ /$$/|  $$$$$$  /$$__  $$ /$$_____/
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$   /$$$$/  \____  $$| $$$$$$$$| $$
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$  /$$__/   /$$  \ $$| $$_____/| $$
.| $$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/| $$ /$$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/|  $$$$$$$|  $$$$$$.$
.|________/ \______/ |__/|________/ \______/  \_______/ \_______/
                          //Laughing at your security since 2011!

   )|     ________________________.------,_ _
 _/o|_____/  ,____________.__;__,__,__,__,_Y...:::---===````//    #anonymous
|==========\ ;  ;  ;  ;  ; \__,__\__,_____ --__,-.\   OFF  ((     #lulzsec
           `----------|__,__/__,__/__/  )=))~((   '-\  THE  \\    #antisec
                        \ ==== \          \\~~\\     \  PIGS \\   
                        `| === |           ))~~\\     ```"""=,))  
                         | === |           |'---')                
                        / ==== /           `====='
  • Log.txt - Tensions Inside The Group 'for the lulz'

Identity [Sabu]

Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu
Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu

At the time of his arrest Xavier was 28-year-old, unemployed and facing a sentence of 124 years in prison.

Xavier served 7 months in prison after his arrest but had been free since then while awaiting sentencing. At his sentencing on May 27, 2014, he was given "time served" for co-operating with the FBI and set free under one year of probation.

Anonymous reacted to Sabu's unmasking and betrayal of LulzSec on Twitter, "#Anonymous is a hydra, cut off one head and we grow two back".

If you would like to learn more about Anonymous, here are some suggested reading materials: We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency


Here is my own copy of "The Many Faces of Anonymous".

The Many Faces Of Anonymous - Book
The Many Faces Of Anonymous - Book

Have you got any suggestions for me ? Get in touch!

Thank you for reading my article, Until next time!

Your friendly neighbourhood Hacker.

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