Anonymous: We’re Back

What is Anonymous? It has been one of the most asked questions as the Hacktivist group made a resurgence recently. 

Anonymous, the Batman-like vigilante of the web or the hacktivist group that was once generally dreaded, presently has all the earmarks of being back in real life. The cases have been advanced graciousness a viral video posted initially on Anonymous Facebook page itself, where the once-dreaded outline of a dark hooded coat and the mark Guy Fawkes cover has shown up following quite a while of relative idleness.

In the video, the figure revolts against police fierceness considering the ongoing homicide of George Floyd by ex-official of the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin.

Also, read about Rodney King, 1992

After a few years of silence, the society of online hackers who are deemed as activists, Anonymous, made a resurgence. On May 29, 2020, Anonymous took to Facebook and posted a video threatening to expose the Minneapolis Police Department’s crimes after the murder of George Floyd. The resurgence of Anonymous took the internet by storm as the online hacking society evidently follows a cult following.

Police violence erupted across the country following the police killing of George Floyd. After months of wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage, Black Lives Matter is back in the headlines. And, perhaps surprisingly, so is the hacking collective Anonymous.

Several news websites picked up a new video posted by Twitter accounts who claim to be part of the ever-nebulous collective. Accounts previously associated with the collective tweeted old, debunked court documents tying Donald Trump to Jeffrey Epstein. Accounts previously associated with the hacktivist group also dumped the alleged email addresses and passwords of hundreds of Minneapolis Police Department agents, although it’s more than likely just a collection of old, unrelated dumps made up of passwords cracked from old breaches, as security researcher Troy Hunt concluded.

Who is Anonymous?

Anonymous is an amorphous group of computer-savvy people who sometimes work toward a common cause as so-called hacktivists. A hacktivist (a combination of the word hacker and activist) is someone who uses tech know-how to protest against censorship or perceived political, legal, or societal injustices (among other things). In doing so, a hacktivist hopes to bring attention to a cause and to trigger action that addresses those injustices.

We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us” –Anonymous Motto

Hacktivists often band together to exact revenge of their own design, and Anonymous is a famous (or infamous) example. The Hacktivist group may choose to deface a popular Web site by replacing graphics and text with their own messages. Or they may initiate DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, in which hackers overload computer systems, making sites and networks completely unavailable to anyone.

These tactics often work. For years, Anonymous has succeeded in garnering worldwide attention for specific causes, or other times, just for fun.

Here’s just one example: In 2011, Sony sued one of its customers — George Hotz — for creating a workaround that allowed PlayStation 3 users to run the Linux operating system. The thing is, Sony had initially advertised Linux capability as a PS3 feature but backtracked and created a patch to disable Linux operability.

Sony’s actions were so outrageous to Anonymous that it sabotaged Sony’s PlayStation Network, the company’s online multiplayer system. For nearly a month, no one could access the network, and the company’s stock price took a major hit.

Was Anonymous in the wrong for punishing Sony? Or were these hackers merely exacting justifiable revenge on a gigantic, litigious company that lashed out at its own customers?

Whichever side you support, Anonymous got exactly what it wanted: headlines.

How Anonymous Works?

Foundation of Anonymous:

It began in 2003 on 4chan, a so-called imageboard, which is an Internet discussion forum where users post images on just about any topic you can imagine (including some you don’t want to imagine). Here, people share anything that’s on their minds with zero self-censorships, in part because they can and do post anonymously.

Because you’re reading this information on a family-friendly Web site, it’s worth noting that 4chan is anything but family-friendly. And in fact, that’s exactly how the denizens of 4chan like it. The often over-the-top and obscene language, personal attacks, and roughhouse atmosphere act as filters to repel entire swaths of the Internet population.

4chan is infamous in part for its love of lulz (a derivative of LOL, or laugh out loud), the biting, sometimes vengeful laughter earned at the expense of someone else. To get lulz, 4chan lovers will do just about anything, from stooping to the lowest and crudest form of personal insults to reaching for more sophisticated and coordinated trickery that may or may not involve computer hacking.

Most of the time, these pranks are short-lived, pointless, and quickly forgotten. The whole point, in fact, is to not take anything too seriously. It’s in this environment that Anonymous began its slow and often fractious rise. 

Project Chanology

Organized actions from Anonymous became known as ops (short for operations). Some ops fizzle out before a single Web site is vandalized. Others result in online cataclysms that cause real-world financial and political upheaval to the dismay and delight of millions of people.

Anonymous achieved undeniable celebrity status in 2008. That year, a rather unflattering (and creepy) video of Tom Cruise rambling on about his Scientology beliefs was leaked to the Internet, to the anger of church leaders.

Sparked by non-Anonymous Scientologist critic Mark Bunker, who pleaded with the group to use non-destructive and legal means to accomplish its ends.

Guy Fawke Mask
Mask of Guy Fawke is face of Anonymous|Image Courtesy Unsplash

Thanks to his suggestions, Anonymous shifted from illegal tactics to more legitimate actions, sending thousands of protesters out in front of the churches, all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, the likes of which have become a visual hallmark of Anonymous. These are the same masks worn by the lead character in the movie “V for Vendetta,” in which an anonymous anti-hero takes on the powers that be.

Black Lives Matter

What’s in the Anonymous new video?

Greetings citizens of the Unite States. A Message from the Hacktivist Group on Facebook. This is a still of the video.
A still from the recently released video by Anonymous on Facebook

In the video, the figure says, “Police brutality and murder is a widespread problem in the United States, which has undoubtedly infected nearly every jurisdiction in the country. But, the Minneapolis police department is among the worst and has a horrible track record of violence and corruption. This week’s brutal killing of George Floyd, which has sparked protests and national outrage, is just the tip of the iceberg in a long list of high profile cases of wrongful deaths at the hands of officers in your state.”

Anonymous Message To The Minneapolis Police Department

SO IT BEGINS…A message by Hacktivist Group, Anonymous on Facebook.

The message features the inaction of US cops who remain by culprits of viciousness and sit idle, in this way being complicit to such demonstrations of brutality too. It closes with a reverberating sentence, expressing that start May 29, Anonymous will uncover the “numerous wrongdoings” of United States police divisions.

About a day after Anonymous, posted the message, reports by US residents began asserting that the site of the Minneapolis police division was pulled down, purportedly by Anonymous. While News18 could affirm that the police division’s site was to be sure down as of 3 PM IST, it couldn’t check on the off chance that it was crafted by Anonymous’ individuals.

The video message further states, “In the past two decades, 193 people have been killed by police in Minnesota, including the deaths of Jamar Clark, Philando Castle, Justine Damond, Thomas Blevins, and Brian Quinones. These are only the cases that caught headlines, where videos and other evidence prove that the police are lying.” It eventually states that the “travesty has continued for far too long, and the people have had enough.”

Towards the end…

Towards the end of the message, Anonymous says, “You may have fired the officer to save face, but it is obvious that this type of behavior is condoned, if not encouraged in your department, as it is in others. Officers who kill people and commit other crimes need to be held accountable just like the rest of us; otherwise, they will believe they have the license to do whatever they want.”

#alllivesmatter

More about Rodney King Incident in 1992.

Read my research links too:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity-202/2020/06/02/the-cybersecurity-202-anonymous-hacking-collective-seeks-to-help-protests-against-police-brutality/5ed56763602ff12947e814d4/
  2. https://www.scoopwhoop.com/news/who-are-the-anonymous-hacktivist-group/
  3. https://newsable.asianetnews.com/video/international-news/hactivist-group-anonymous-are-back-to-support-the-black-lives-matter-movement-qb926b
  4. https://gizmodo.com/anonymous-goes-on-megaupload-revenge-spree-doj-riaa-5877679
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/sep/09/jake-davis-anonymous-charged-bail
  6. https://siliconangle.com/2012/03/22/the-anonymous-impact-hacktivism-in-2011-exceeded-criminal-breaches/

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