Anonymous is a group whose members are geographically scattered around the world but united through the Internet, consisting largely of multiple imageboards and forums. Originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, the name came from the perceived anonymity of users posting content on the Internet. In its early form, Anonymous was a decentralized online community of people acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually towards a loose goal of entertainment. Beginning in 2008, the group became increasingly associated with international hacktivism, often with the goal of promoting Internet liberty and freedom of speech. The name “Anonymous” is inspired by the perceived anonymity under which users post images and comments on the Internet. Usage of the term anonymous in the sense of a shared identity began on imageboards. A tag “Anonymous” is assigned to visitors who leave comments without registration. According to self-ascribed members of Anonymous, membership can be easily achieved: being as simple as concealing oneself while performing online activities. The Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) is a network stress testing application that Anonymous uses to accomplish its DDoS attacks. Individuals download the LOIC and voluntarily contribute their computer to a bot net. This bot net is then directed against the target by Anonymous Operations (AnonOps), one of Anonymous’ subgroups. Joining the bot net and volunteering one's computer for the use of the group is one way of being a "member" of Anonymous. As a multiple-use name, individuals who share the "Anonymous" moniker adopt a shared online identity. Anonymous has no leader or controlling party and relies on the power of its individual participants. "Anyone who wants to can be Anonymous and work toward a set of goals..." a member of Anonymous explained to the Baltimore City Paper. "We have this agenda that we all agree on and we all coordinate and act, but all act independently toward it, without any want for recognition. We just want to get something that we feel is important done..."
A simple definition of Anonymous tend to emphasize the fact that the concept cannot be encompassed. Instead, it is often defined by aphorisms describing perceived qualities. One selfdescription is: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” Reporter Chris Landers of Baltimore City Paper say “Anonymous is the first Internet-based superconsciousness. Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they're traveling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.” No official way of communication between members of Anonymous has been announced, but the group is banded together by the Internet. Signs of members communicating has appeared on sites such as 4chan, 711chan, Encyclopædia Dramatica, IRC channels, and YouTube. Social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter, are used for the creation of groups which reach out to people of the public. In its early form, Anonymous was an online community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually towards a goal of entertainment, but beginning in 2008, the group focused on Internet Liberty. Below are some major acts done by Anonymous. Habbo is a popular social networking site designed as a virtual hotel. Anonymous did two major raids known as the “Great Raid of ‘06”, followed by the “Great Raid of ‘07”. Members would sign up with avatars of a black man wearing a grey suit and an Afro hairstyle and blocked entry to the virtual pool, declaring it was “closed due to aids.” Many think these raids were inspired by the news of an Alabama amusement park banning a two-year-old toddler affected with AIDS from entering the park’s swimming pool, although no official announcement from Anonymous said this was the cause. When the raiders were banned, they complained of racism. In response, Habbo now bans any users with avatars matching the profile of the raiders, even years after the raids. December 2006 through January 2007, individuals who identified themselves as Anonymous took Hal Turner’s website offline, costing him thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills. No official announcement was made by Anonymous about this raid. On December 7, 2007, Toronto Sun newspaper published a report on the arrest of Internet predator Chris Forcand. Age 53, he was charged with two counts of luring children under the age of 14, attempted to invite sexual touching, attempted exposure, possessing a dangerous weapon, and carrying
a concealed weapon. A Global Television Network reported that the group responsible for Forcand’s arrest was a “self described Internet vigilante group called Anonymous” who contact the police after some members received “disgusting photos of himself” from Forcand. The report also stated that this was the first time a suspected Internet predator was arrested in result of Internet vigilantism. A video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked on the Internet and uploaded to YouTube. The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against Youtube requesting the removal of the video. In response, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology: calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship. Participates, both individuals and members of Anonymous, organized a series of DDoS(distributed denial-of-service) attacks with prank calls and black faxes to Scientology centers. A video “Call to Action” appeared on YouTube on January 28, 2008, calling for protest outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008. On February 10, 2008, about 7,000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide. Many protesters wore Guy Fawkes mask from the movie “V for Vendetta”. A second protest was held on March 15, 2008 in cities all over the world, including Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Las Angeles, London, Paris, Toronto, Berlin, and Dublin. The global estimated participates was estimated to be between 7,000 to 8,000 people. On March 28, 2008, Wired News reported assaults were posted on an epilepsy support forum, run by the Epilepsy Foundation of America. Flashing computer animations were posted with the intention to trigger migraine headaches and seizure in photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics. Members of the the epilepsy forum claimed they found a thread on 7chan.org, (an imageboard that has been described as the stronghold for Anonymous), that said assaults were being planned. On the other hand, News.com.au reported that the administrators of 7chan.org posted an open letter claiming that the assaults were carried out by the Church of Scientology “to ruin the public opinion of Anonymous.” In 2010, several Bollywood companies hired Aiplex Software to launch DDoS attacks on websites that did not respond to software take down notices. Anonymous then created Operation Payback in September 2010 in retaliation. The original plan was to attack Aiplex Software directly. Fortunately, hours before the planned DDoS attack, another individual had taken down the firm`s website on their own, and Operation Payback moved to launching attacks against the websites of copyright stringent organizations,
law firms, and other websites. On April 2, 2011 Anonymous launched an attack on the media giant Sony, calling it #opsony, as a part of Operation Payback. The attack was a success after they took down the PlayStation Network and other related PlayStation websites. The website for the Irish political party Fine Gael, currently in coalition government with the Labour Party, was hacked by Anonymous during the 2011 general election campaign according to TheJournal.ie. The site was replaced with a page showing the Anonymous logo along with the words "Nothing is safe, you put your faith in this political party and they take no measures to protect you. They offer you free speech yet they censor your voice. WAKE UP! <owned by Raepsauce and Palladium>". During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Egyptian government websites, along with the website of the ruling National Democratic Party, were hacked into and taken offline by Anonymous. The sites remained offline until President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Anonymous rolled out DDoS attacks on the Tusisian government’s websites which led to an upsurge of Internet activism among Tunisians against the government. A figure associated with Anonymous released an online message denouncing the government clampdown on recent protests and posted it on the Tunisian government website. Anonymous has named their attacks as "Operation Tunisia". Anonymous successfully performed DDoS attacks on eight Tunisian government websites. The Tunisian government responded by making its websites inaccessible from outside Tunisia. Tunisian police also arrested online activists and bloggers within the country and questioned them on the attacks. HBGary Federal is the US Government’s very own anit-hacktivism federation. In their effort to track down hacktivists tied to cyber-attackers conducted in support of WikiLeaks, they claim to have successfully infiltrated the Anonymous group. Aaron Barr, chief executive, announced that he would not hand over details to the police but he would reveal his findings at a later conference in San Francisco. In retaliation of HBGary Federal’s claims, members of Anonymous hack the website of HBGary Federal and replaced the welcome page with a message casting doubt on the company’s findings and offering to release them to the public. Anonymous also went on to take control of the company’s e-mail, dumping 68,000 e-mails from the system, erasing files, and taking down their phone system. Aaron Barr resigned his position three weeks after the hacking stopped. “I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation,” Barr told Threatpost.
Members of Anonymous took down the websites of the Orlando, Florida Chamber of Commerce and inserted a message into the website of the Universal Orlando Resort requesting that users “boycott Orlando”. They did this in response of the arrests of members of Food Not Bombs for feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park against city ordinances.The group has vowed to take a different Orlandorelated website offline every day, and have also targeted the re-election website of Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, and the Orlando International Airport. A member of the group left a Guy Fawkes mask outside of the mayor's home; the police are treating the picture taken of the mask as a threat against the mayor. During the Occupy Wall Street movement, several contingents of Anonymous have given vocal support, with hundreds members attending local protests and several blogs run by members covering the movement extensively. In early August 2011, Anonymous hacked the Syrian Defense Ministry website and replaced it with an image of the pre-Ba'athist flag, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in the country, as well as a message supporting the 2011 Syrian uprising. In September, a group working with Anonymous appeared on Twitter, calling themselves RevoluSec, short for Revolution Security. They announced their mission very clearly with a press release posted on Pastebin. They defaced many Syrian websites, including the site of every major city in Syria. Telecomix, a group similar to Anonymous, mirrored the defaced websites so people can view them after the websites return back to normal. RevoluSec also defaced The Syrian Central Bank and a number of pro-regime sites, replacing them with a warped image of Basha al-Assad, accompanied by Nyan Cat. Telecomix worked with Anonymous throughout the the rest of the operation. Telecomix showed Syrians how to bypass the censorship and Anonymous hacked the regime anyway they can online. Both groups had support IRC channels for Syrians. In October 2011, during the collective campaigned against child pornography, Anonymous took down 40 child porn sites and published the names of over 1500 people who were uploading content to those websites. They also invited the FBI and Interpol to follow up. In October 2011, Anonymous released a video stating that Los Zetas, the second most powerful drug cartel in Mexico, had kidnapped one of the group's members, and threatened that unless the hostage was freed, they would publish personal information about members of the cartel and their
collaborators in politics, police, military, and business, which might lead to their prosecution by Mexican authorities, or targeting by rival cartels. The website of Gustavo Rosario Torres, a former Tabasco state prosecutor, was subsequently defaced with a message suggesting his involvement with the organization. Early November, Los Zetas reportedly freed the kidnapped victim. November 2011 to January 2012, in response to the increased recognition of the Stop Online Piracy Act bill, Anonymous decided to take drastic action. It called for Emergency Action from the people as well as mass protests and spreading the word, in a video they released on November 18th. Anonymous have previously called for a blackout from 8a-8p Eastern time, convincing Google Inc. and Wikipedia itself to participate. Wikipedia was blacked out for 24 hours, Google shut down every service but the search engine, while blacking out their own name, and other sites participated in less-extreme ways. In retaliation for the shut down of the file sharing service Megaupload and the arrest of four workers, Anonymous rolled out DDoS attacks on the websites of UMG , the United States Department of Justice, the United States Copyright Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the MPAA, Warner Brothers Music and the RIAA, as well as the HADOPI; the companies responsible for the shut down, the afternoon of January 19, 2012. On January 21, a series of DDoS attacks on Polish government took place, which Anonymous announced they were responsible and referred it as “the Polish Revolution”. The group stated, via their Twitter account, the attacks were acts of revenge for the upcoming Polish government signing of ACTA. Websites of the Polish Prime Minister, President, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego) Ministry of Foreign Affairs were blocked. The attacks were further strengthen by the media coverage which resulted in extremely high interest of public opinion, followed up by blackout of popular polish websites. Protests of thousands of people were held on the 24th and 25th of January, in major cities of Poland, against signing ACTA. “In January an individual claiming to be part of the ‘Anonymous’ group attempted to extort a payment from Symantex in exchange for not publicly posting stolen Symantec source code they claimed to have in their possession,” Symantec spokesman Cris Paden said. Symantec was working with a law enforcement agency to trick YamaTough, the Anonymous member Symantec was negotiating with, into giving the source code back, but YamaTough maintained as the one to make deals. “We tricked them
into offing us a bribe so we could humiliate them,” said YamaTough in a statement. Later in February 6, Symantec’s pcAnywhere and Norton Anti-virus software source code was published in a 1.27 GB Pirate Bay dump after Symantec failed to negotiate with Yamatough. Anonymous opposes any sign of Internet restriction and do DDoS attacks, as a method of defilement, on the representative website. This is often against the copyright law of the website. Matthew George, an individual involved with Anonymous, was arrested and says “There is no way to hide on the Internet, no matter how hard you cover your tracks, you can get caught. You're not invincible.” Based on the arrest of members, each have adopted the online dis-inhibition effect, also known as the Greater Internet
Fuckwad Theory. Psychologically, the online dis-inhibition effect refers to the way people behave on the
Internet with less restraint than in real-world situations. Below are some arrest announced by police departments. In December 2010, Dutch police arrested a 16-year old for cyber attacks against Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal in conjunction with Anonymous' DDoS attacks against companies opposing WikiLeaks. In January 2011, the FBI issued more than 40 search warrants in a probe against the Anonymous attacks on companies that opposed WikiLeaks. The FBI did not issue any arrest warrants, but issued a statement that participating in DDoS attacks is a criminal offense with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. In January 2011, the British police arrested five boys and men between the ages of 15 and 26 with suspicion of participating in Anonymous DDoS attacks. On June 10, 2011 the Spanish police captured three purported members of Anonymous in the cities of Gijon, Barcelona and Valencia. The operation deactivated the main server from which the three men coordinated DDoS attacks. This particular group had made attacks on the web servers of the Playstation store, BBVA, Bankia, and the websites of the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand. Investigations revealed that their structure consisted of "cells" which at any given time could coordinate attacks through the downloading of software; the decision-making process to attack occurred in chat rooms. The Spanish national police stated that this operation corresponds to the fact that the Spanish government and NATO considers this group of hackers a threat to national security
On June 13, 2011 officials in Turkey arrested 32 individuals that were allegedly involved in DDoS attacks on Turkish government websites. These members of Anonymous were captured in different cities of Turkey including Istanbul and Ankara. According to PC Magazine these individuals were arrested after they attacked these websites as a response to the Turkish government demand to ISPs to implement a system of filters that many have perceived as censorship. During July 19-20 2011, as many as 20 or more arrests were made of suspected Anonymous hackers in the US, UK, and Netherlands following the 2010 Operation Avenge Assange in which the group attacked PayPal, as well as attacking MasterCard and Visa after they refused to give service WikiLeak. According to US officials statements suspects homes were raided and suspects were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington DC, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio, as well as a sixteen year old boy being held by the police in south London on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and four being held in the Netherlands Anonymous is a dangerous group to oppose. Anonymous aroused as a group acting out of selfcentered goals, but developed into a global empire to fight for online liberty. Thomas Jefferson once said, ”When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Internet liberty has been a complication for years and Anonymous revolts unnecessary Internet censorship. Anonymous articulate it’s antagonism through protests with the public or DDoS attacks. In result of DDoS attacks being illegal due to copyright laws, many Anonymous members get arrested. Even so, Anonymous fights for what they think is right. They are Anonymous. They are Legion. They do not forgive. They do not forget. Expect them.
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