What is anonymity? The team went from 4chan to cyberattacks on Russia

For nearly two decades, one of the world’s most notorious hacker groups has been operating under the name “Nameless. “And the mysterious online community caused a stir once again.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, a Twitter account with 7.9 million followers named “Anonymous” declare a “cyber war” against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Since then, the group has responsibility for various cyberattacks that disable websites and leak data from Russian government agencies, as well as news agencies and state corporations.

Often referred to as “hackers,” Anonymous carries out coordinated cyberattacks against governments, corporations, or other groups around the world, often in the name of political or social causes. In a tweet on February 24, the account “Anonymous” – which said it “cannot claim to speak for the entire Anonymous group” – appealed to hackers around the world, including in Russia, ” say ‘NO’ to Vladimir Putin’s account. war.”

Over the years, actions related to Anonymous have inspired both Hollywood Filmmakers and other hacker groups around the world. Here’s a look at the murky group’s origins, some of the most notable cyberattacks, and the philosophy that is believed to guide the group’s decisions:

Anonymous origin

The origin story of Anonymous begins in the online messaging forums of 4chan, the anonymous social community site establish in 2003. Even today, posts on 4chan from users who don’t specify a username are labeled as “Anonymous”.

In the site’s early days, users often organized group pranks called “raids,” which flooded in-game chat rooms and other online communities to cause disruption. 4chan started breaking up raids after critic accused participants cyber bullying and post offensive content.

Those raids formed the foundation of Anonymous’s operations: a decentralized movement of like-minded online users who would communicate in encrypted chat rooms to plan online disruption. At first, those plans were mostly about cheap entertainment. Eventually, they begin to revolve around political or social goals.

The group’s most prominent early case of “hacktivism” was in 2008, when user 4chan led by the first Anonymous hacker Gregg Housh launched a concerted effort against the Church of Scientology, using tactics such as denial of service (DDoS) attacks on church websites, prank calls, and faxing of the church’s black pages. to waste their printer ink.

The cyberattacks, labeled “Project Technology” by Anonymous, are retaliation for what hackers see as an attempt to censor censorship: The Church has legally threatened Gawker after the press published a leaked video recording of actor Tom Cruise enthusiastically talking about Scientology.

A series of worldwide protests against Scientology soon followed, with many pro-Anonymous protesters wearing black and white shirts. Guy Fawkes Maskdepicts the British rebelling in the 17th century. Those masks have since become closely associated with the hacking group.

Philosophy and goals

In general, Anonymous opposes governments and corporations they perceive as participate in censorship or promote inequality. Since the group is hierarchical, it has no real structure or hierarchy – so there are often many internal debates about any ideas or causes to support.

ONE pinned 2019 tweets on the Twitter account @YourAnonNews – again, the statement does not speak for the collective as a whole – describing Anonymous members as “working-class people looking for a better future for humanity.” It lists Anonymous’s guiding principles as “freedom of information, freedom of expression, accountability to companies and governments, privacy and anonymity for private citizens.”

Since “Project Chanology”, anonymous members have targeted a long list of parties, including:

Authorities around the world arrested dozens of hackers with alleged ties to Anonymous, including at least 14 people are charged with the PayPal hack in 2011. Barrett Brown, a journalist and spokesperson calling herself Anonymous, more than four years in prison following his 2012 arrest on charges of hacking and threatening a federal officer.

Collective activities monitor after some of those arrests, but resurfaced last year when Anonymous claimed responsibility for attacks on Republicans in Texas, protesting the state’s status Controversial abortion law. Anonymous also claimed responsibility for a September attack by web hosting company Epik, which leaked more 150 gigabytes of data on far-right groups like QAnon and Proud Boys.

Supporters and Critics

In 2012, Time magazine honored Anonymous as one of the 100 most influential people. Today, millions of people follow social media accounts associated with Anonymous.

Jeremiah Fowler, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Security Discovery, told CNBC Last week, Anonymous supporters could see the group as a “cyber Robin Hood”, targeting governments and powerful corporations in the name of popular causes.

“You want action now, you want justice now, and I think groups like Anonymous and hacktivists give people instant gratification,” Fowler said.

But Anonymous certainly has its critics. Many people believe the group’s vigilance tactics are extreme and potentially dangerous. In 2012, National Security Agency considered Anonymous a threat to national security.

Parmy Olson, a journalist wrote a 415 page book about Anonymous in 2012, stated at the time that even the group’s supporters should treat its legacy as a mixed bag.

“Has Anonymous done good to the world? In some cases, yes,” Olson told Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, citing Anonymous’ support of pro-democracy protesters in the Middle East. “Unnecessarily harassing people? I would consider that a bad thing. DDOS the CIA website, stealing customer data and posting it online just for fun and giggles is not a good thing. .”

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