Starting from a simple meme and growing into a worldwide group of "hacktivists", Anonymous has perpetrated a number of socially conscious computer attacks. Their activity, both real and supposed has ranged from simple pranks to fighting censorship, taking down pedophile rings, fighting back against perceived corporate abuses, and most recently, fighting against the social media penetration of ISIS.
While much of the hacking of Anonymous is directed at those they have personal beefs with, much of this work has also been greatly beneficial in hampering the operation of people and group that pretty much everyone hates. While their methods are controversial, it's hard to deny that they've done great damage to ISIS, exposed sex offenders, curbed corporate malfeasance, fought for the rights of oppressed people.Here are some of the top operations carried out by Anonymous and their Guy Fawkes mask wearing recruits.
Who are Anonymous?
Anonymous is a group of independent activists working together to achieve mutually-agreed upon goals. These goals are not assigned by one person or leader, but by the consensus of the whole.
Supposedly started in 2003, Anonymous enacts forms of "hacktivism", where they centralize on one goal and work in unison against that person or company. The group formed on imageboard sites like 4chan and continue to use such sites for planning and communication.One of their most common angles of attack is to take down objectionable websites with "DDoS" or Distributed Denial of Service attacks where a group of different computers log on to a single site over and over again until the resources for the server are completely consumed and it is forced to shut down. They have also been known to stage live protests throughout the world. The group is most commonly seen in public wearing the Guy Fawkes mask from the 2005 film V for Vendetta.
Anonymous vs. Trump
Shortly after billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump released his proposal to ban Muslim entry to the United States, members of Anonymous swung into action. A Twitter account associated with the group announced it had hacked the website for Trump Tower in New York, and included a YouTube video with a stern warning to the mogul to back off his racially inflammatory rhetoric.
Operation Ice ISIS
In February 2015, Anonymous began attacking what they saw as the nearly unfettered social media access enjoyed by ISIS. Their hacking offshoot Ghost Security, made up almost entirely of women, attacked ISIS recruiting websites and Twitter accounts. Destroying what the terror group claimed was "months of work", Ghost Security took down or reported thousands of ISIS-affiliated websites, blogs, videos and social media accounts.After the November 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris, Anonymous swung into action again, taking down over 3,800 ISIS-supporting Twitter accounts.
As one of the highest trafficked web sites in the world, millions of people give Facebook their personal information. Facebook's vast data storehouse is ripe for abuse, and Anonymous felt the social media site used this power wrongly.
In a statement released by the group, Anonymous announced they would launch a full scale attack on the site in an attempt to halt its operations and bring it down. Among their grievances were how Facebook stores data, how it uses it for advertising purposes, and how it makes deleting Facebook accounts extremely difficult.But befitting an organization with no leadership, it also appeared that this attack wasn't officially sanctioned. A person claiming to be a high-ranking Anonymous member came forward and said that this supposed attack is actually just an effort to raise awareness about Facebook's privacy policies. Sure enough, November 5, 2011 came and went with no attack and no official statement by Anonymous.