Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

2/6/2012
12:17 PM
100%
0%

Who Is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts

Anonymous 'hacktivists' aim to expose what they call government and establishment hypocrisy. Take a closer look at the group, its offshoots, and its infamous attacks.
Previous
1 of 10
Next


The Anonymous "hacktivist" collective, known as much for its self-branding as its anything-goes, anti-authoritarian sense of online comeuppance, first came to public attention in January 2008. The occasion was an internal Scientology video starring Tom Cruise, which had been leaked to YouTube. The church, saying that the video was copyrighted, requested that YouTube remove it. Members of Anonymous, however, took issue with that request, and as part of what it dubbed "Project Chanology," reportedly began launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Scientology websites, blanketing church centers with prank phone calls and faxes, and "doxing" the church by releasing its sensitive documents into the public domain, for example via peer-to-peer networks.

On January 21, 2008, a YouTube post set the template for future Anonymous proclamations. The video, in this case criticizing the Church of Scientology, includes the now-common Anonymous sign-off: "Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." By the next month, Anonymous claimed that 7,000 people had staged protested outside of Scientology centers around the world, many of them sporting the now-famous, black-and-white Guy Fawkes mask, as worn by the protagonist of the film V for Vendetta to hide his identity. (Notably, in the film, the masses also wore it as they rose up to help overthrow the ruling dictatorship.)

By early 2008, Anonymous--which reportedly grew out of the anarchic 4chan imageboard website--was already pursuing online attacks as a form of nonviolent protest. By 2010, it was launching regular DDoS attacks against pro-copyright websites.

But the group really came to public prominence during its defense of WikiLeaks and its charismatic--if reportedly mercurial--leader, Julian Assange. WikiLeaks, of course, came under fire from the U.S. government after the site obtained video footage from a U.S. helicopter strike in Iraq that killed two Reuters employees, as well as two children. Next, Assange began to coordinate--together with major newspapers in multiple countries--the release of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government cables beginning in December 2010.

The government-orchestrated reaction was swift. PayPal and credit-card processors MasterCard and Visa blocked payments to WikiLeaks, which relied on donations to lease server space and pay staff. There's a short lifespan for a whistle-blowing website that can't remain online.

In response, Anonymous mobilized, unleashing its so-called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool, with which anyone could participate in Anonymous DDoS attacks by lobbing packets at designated website. From there, meanwhile, Anonymous expanded its focus, and backed by what appear to be numerous international chapters, has tackled everything from cartels in Mexico and child pornography file-sharing sites, to takedowns of Israeli government servers and U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Keep reading for a closer look at the group, its offspring organizations, and its infamous hacks. Photo: Anonymous Hollywood Scientology protest, by Jason Scragz, Flickr. Used with permission via a Creative Commons license.

Previous
1 of 10
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ritu_G
50%
50%
Ritu_G,
User Rank: Moderator
7/23/2018 | 4:03:51 AM
re: Who Is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts
Look how influential a single group of activists could be regardless of their goal and purpose. What their real intention is does not matter but what entices the public is the content that they are able to deliver. As long as they have something that the viewers would like to see, like concrete evidence against anyone, then they already have the viewers' attention. If only this same group of people could spend their time more wisely like speaking out for the injured, the minorities, the hurt, and others, the world would be a better place.
rjones2818
0%
100%
rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
5/22/2012 | 7:05:52 PM
re: Who Is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts
Interesting article. The Guy Fawkes mask idea is from the graphic novel for 'V for Vendetta' by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
More SolarWinds Attack Details Emerge
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  1/12/2021
Vulnerability Management Has a Data Problem
Tal Morgenstern, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Vulcan Cyber,  1/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-36192
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in the Source Integration plugin before 2.4.1 for MantisBT. An attacker can gain access to the Summary field of private Issues (either marked as Private, or part of a private Project), if they are attached to an existing Changeset. The information is visible on the view.php p...
CVE-2020-36193
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
Tar.php in Archive_Tar through 1.4.11 allows write operations with Directory Traversal due to inadequate checking of symbolic links, a related issue to CVE-2020-28948.
CVE-2020-7343
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
Missing Authorization vulnerability in McAfee Agent (MA) for Windows prior to 5.7.1 allows local users to block McAfee product updates by manipulating a directory used by MA for temporary files. The product would continue to function with out-of-date detection files.
CVE-2020-28476
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
All versions of package tornado are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with default configura...
CVE-2020-28473
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
The package bottle from 0 and before 0.12.19 are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with defa...