Anonymous: the hacking collective that inherited Wikileaks' legacy
Anonymous has made headlines over the past few years in connection with Internet fueled civil disobedience and DDoS attacks on notable sites such as Sony and MasterCard. The hackers go by the mantra "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." The attacks Anonymous have made are far-reaching, and have effectively hurt many of its targets. Coining the term "hacktivism" the collective chooses its targets based on perceived injustices by the group and attacks through the web accordingly. Here are some of their most infamous hits.
Making Jessi Slaughter cry
Anonymous affiliated site, 4Chan, got sick of one of YouTube's most watched and most hated attention seekers 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter. The site released her personal information resulting in mass amounts of hate mail. The action created one of the funniest memes of all when Jessi and her father made a video in response to the harassment.
Revenge against Aaron Barr
After the "Financial Times" published a statement from Aaron Barr, the head of security services firm HBGary Federal, saying that they had a list of the identities of members of Anonymous, the hacking collective decided to call B.S. and to take a little revenge. Anonymous hacked the firm's website and released Barr's findings on its own. The group also posted archives of company executive emails on file-trading networks.
The lesson learned? Anonymous is really good at hacking and really good at keeping their identities a secret.
After Gawker repeatedly maligned Julian Assange, Anonymous hacked the site bragging that they had taken 1.5 million usernames and passwords from the site in the name of Wikileaks. Gawker has said there is no evidence of such a hack, but that didn't stop Anonymous from boating their alleged feat on Twitter.
Releasing Bank of America information
The collective targeted Bank of America, releasing e-mails obtained from Bank of America Corp. The documents allegedly related to the issue of whether Bank of America has improperly foreclosed on homes.
Credit: Justin Sullivan
Anonymous felt that Koch run organizations that donate to campaigns and produce commercials outside of the politically-endorsed campaign ring were producing falsehoods and swaying the American people incorrectly. In response, they attacked Koch-affiliated sites with DDoS causing the site to temporarily crash.
Anonymous has openly supported Wikileaks since the site published government documents, and Julian Assange was then punished for his acts. When MasterCard prevented donations to the organization, Anonymous decided to seek some retribution for Assange.
Proving invunerability to NATO
Anonymous took aim at NATO taking one gigabyte of classified information, and then publishing said information on the Internet. They did not publish all they stole from NATO , citing irresponsibility as the cause for withholding what they unearthed, but nations around the world took notice of what the hacktivists were capable of.
In response to the Arab Spring and the subsequent oppression facing the citizens in Egypt, Anonymous combated the attempted shut down of the Internet by the Egyptian government. Anonymous sent thousands of faxes into Egypt to keep the people informed of their government's actions since they could no longer receive an unbiased report with out the Internet.
Anonymous made announcements that they would attack a Malaysian government run portals in response to government oppression continuing to paint itself as a vigilante cyber force meant to correct injustices done by the government.
Operation Payback outlines the groups plan to combat any violation of access to the Internet citing the act as a violation of basic human rights. The group refuses to allow Internet censorship.
Hacking Sony, repeatedly
Anonymous received global headlines for repeatedly hacking Sony's PSN network causing the company millions in damages. Using their tried and true DDoS methods of crashing the site, the group sought to punish Sony for requiring payments for services they initially advertised as free.
In response to the Tunisian government limiting access to the Internet, Anonymous struck government websites in the country with DDoS attacks causing the sites to falter and crash.
Anonymous decided that the Church of Tom Cruise was a cult and was causing harm to those who follow it. They launched an online offensive against the church, including phone, fax and e-mail spamming, and DDoS attacks meant to crash the site. The hackers also employed "Google bombing" which caused the search engines to pull up the official website as the top result for searches like "evil cult." The hacking was more annoying than debilitating, but Anonymous caused enough of a stank to have the global community pay attention.
Credit: GREG WOOD
Embarrassing Westboro Church
Westboro Baptist Church faced vigilante justice from a faction of Anonymous during a live interview, in which the group defaced a site run by the Church. Citing the Church's bigotry and hate mongering as cause, Anonymous posted a message on the Westboro's site saying they had a right to voice their hateful messages, but Anonymous would not be party to bringing the church unwarranted publicity by hacking them.
PayPal fell victim to a combined Lulzsec and Anonymous venture called Antisec. The pulled their resources for a combined cyber attack. In a protest against its practices, Antisec asked people to abandon the site causing 20,000 members to leave the site. PayPal is another site that cut off funds to Wikileaks.