The hackivist group Anonymous

The hackivist group Anonymous is described by Wikipedia as “an international hacking group, spread through the Internet, initiating active civil disobedience, while attempting to maintain anonymity”.

Recently, they have been attributed as the source of denial of service attacks against the Oregon Tea Party, Sony, and the Irish political party Fine Gael.  They have also employed attacks against the governments of Australia, Egypt, and Libya.

The group has also provided websites and support for social-political efforts like Occupy Wall Street, the Green Party movement in Iran, and the Arab Spring efforts in Egypt and Syria.  Additionally, Anonymous recently took down 40 child porn websites and published the names of 1500 people who often visited the illegal websites.

In October, parts of Anonymous have taken on the Los Zetas drug cartel in Mexico.  The drug cartel had kidnapped a member of Anonymous.  In response, Anonymous has threatened to release the names of police and political officials who are illegally collaborating with the Los Zetas drug cartel.  We will see how Anonymous fairs in this battle since more is at stake than just lawsuits and prison time.  Los Zetas has been known to kill whistle-blowers and hacktivists in the past.

So what role do you see hacktivists playing in society?  Do they act as modern-day Robin Hoods to correct social injustices, or are they disruptive elements like Tyler Durden in “Fight Club”?

In my readings about them, it looks to me like Anonymous is more of a brand that can be placed on a hacking attack.  There does not appear to be any hierarchy or centralized managing authority, which makes it easy nearly anyone to say that they are part of the group.  If a hacker attack is popular and successful, then the event is publicized.  Case-in-point is the fact that parts of Anonymous were active both for and against the war in Libya.  Anonymous members were also divided over the Westboro Baptist Church and its claim to free speech while protesting at military funerals.



4 thoughts on “The hackivist group Anonymous

  1. It’s definitely interesting to see this group give a new name to “hackers”. In the past, they’ve been depicted in movies as basically social engineers that are all about the money. Here that isn’t the case. They’re using their talent to help; like you said, Robin Hood. It just goes to show that there are “hackers” out there that aren’t trying to steal money.

  2. Yes it is very refreshing to see people considered to be hackers doing social good. The loose-knit nature of their group sometimes allows some more radical elements to be socially disruptive and attribute the undesired actions to Anonymous. Overall, it sounds like there are older, more experienced members who work to police such actions. Like you said, it is good that they are using their talents for good.

  3. If they are not being controlled by higher powers or some monetary giant they seem to be doing good for the world expressing their opinions through more technical measures.

    • The loose-knit and anonymous (no pun intended) organization of the whole group make it difficult to pin them down with a purpose. As a result, there could be people who claim to be with the group and lead parts of the group (and their resources) to do stuff for higher-powers or ulterior motives (kind of a Pied Piper trick). It would be a tricky way to get the hacker group to do their dirty work. It would also make an interesting screen play for a movie, but I digress.

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