Anonymous – Everything you need to know

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“WE ARE LEGION. WE DO NOT FORGIVE. WE DO NOT FORGET. EXPECT US”

This slogan is powerful and it strikes fear in the hearts of many corporations and government institutions. We all know snippets of the origin story, though many of us aren’t sure whether Anonymous are heroes or villains.




How did Anonymous come together?

Anonymous Masks

In 2003 a website named 4chan was created. It was supposed to be a platform for Anime fans to discuss their shows and share jokes and pictures. The main idea was for the site to be an escape from serious topics and current events.

Those users who did not enter a screen name were automatically given the handle Anonymous.

As the site expanded conversations moved away from anime and instead early versions of Memes were traded for points. These points were called ‘lulz’. The more graphic or disturbing the meme or the image, the more ‘lulz’ that were earned. 

The worst memes and pictures were kept on a part of the site called /b/ and users labelled themselves/b/tards. 

In 2004 users on the site started referring to Anonymous as if it were one group or entity. It wasn’t really a group as it was open to anyone. There were no requirements for entry, all members had to do was pledge their allegiance to Anonymous.

Some members of Anonymous considered themselves crusaders for justice and launched vigilante campaigns. These members entrapped pedophiles and handed their details over to the police.

Other members spread chaos for the lulz. 

One member in particular posted pictures of homemade pipe bombs in the /b/ section of 4chan and threatened to blow up various buildings and landmarks. This Anon was arrested by the FBI in 2007.
Anonymous does not operate as one group, instead they are several groups who operate under the same name and fight for different causes. They are like a spider’s web; many members cross over and fight for different Anonymous groups and for different causes.


Anonymous and The Church of Scientology

Anonymous and Scientology

In 2008 Gawker posted a video that was originally created and copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. They were issued with a cease-and-desist letter.

Anonymous saw this as an attempt at censorship and they retaliated.

Calls to arms were posted on 4chan. Anons insisted that something must be done. Those that had pledged allegiance to Anonymous moved to Internet Relay Chat channels to continue their plans.

One Anon released a video on YouTube telling the Church of Scientology that they had “nowhere to hide”. 

Using DDoS attacks Anonymous disabled the Church of Scientology’s website for several days. Other Anons put the website at the top of Google’s search results for “Dangerous Cult”. Hundreds of pizzas were delivered to Scientology Centers in Europe. They then overwhelmed the Churches headquarters in Los Angeles with faxed pages filled with black ink, this continued until the ink ran dry.

They weren’t finished though.

On the 15th of March 2008 thousands of Anons marched past scientology churches in hundreds of cities.

They all wore the same mask.


What does the mask mean?

Guy Fawkes

The Guy Fawkes mask was supposedly selected because it was widely available and affordable of all of the Anons to access.

However, there is speculation that these masks are more than just an easy disguise.

For those of you familiar with British history, you will know Guy Fawkes as the ring leader of the Gun Powder plot. A historical plot to assassinate a King. He plotted in the shadows to take down a powerful leader in society… sound familiar?

This particular mask though was used in the film ‘V for Vendetta’. The film was about a vigilante who took up arms against the oppressors in the world he lives in.

Anonymous



Their Attacks

Anonymous have launched many attacks and they have been operating for more years than many of you may realise. Some of their most notable (and most applaudable) attacks have been detailed below.

BART Attack – 2011

The BART attacks were repercussions of police shooting an unarmed passenger. This took place when protestors were trying to organize themselves because of the shutdown of certain cellular services by BART. The shooting hindered any opportunity to protest so Anonymous took matters into their own hands.

They posted names and passwords of members on mybart.org. When the company’s spokesman Linton Johnson failed to admit that this was unintended and that an attack had taken place, Anonymous posted naked pictures of him online too.

Naked


Federal Attack – 2012

Anonymous showed their power by hitting back after MegaUpload was shut down for copyright infringement. They shut down the Recording Industry and also the America and Motion Picture Association of America’s websites. This attack was swift.

Mega Upload


Dark Discovery – 2011

If you are familiar with the Dark Web (if not then see this post) you will know that it is a haven for undesirables. Hidden Wiki is a website hosted on the Dark Web and it kept a list of sites users could visit. Anonymous gained access to this and targeted the Child Pornography sites.

Lolita City, a file sharing website frequented by pedophiles, was hit hardest. Anonymous publicly posted the names of 1,589 members. Proving that even where the hands of the law can’t reach you, Anonymous can.

Dark Net


Hacking Trump – 2015

Donald Trump upset a lot of people in 2015 when he opened his mouth and said that he wanted all Muslims to be barred from the US. Anonymous took the Trump Towers website down for a while and a video was posted asking Trump to think twice before he speaks.

Donald Trump


ISIS Website Attack – 2015

This attack was launched by Ghost Sec, a group related to Anonymous. Ghost Sec posted an Ad on an ISIS website for an online pharmacy. It urged Isis members to calm down and buy drugs like Viagra and Prozac instead!

A lot of ISIS sites are being moved to the Dark Web to hide them from law enforcement. But nothing is beyond the reach of Anonymous.

ISIS



Conclusion:
Anonymous are pretty amazing.

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