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.
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
Architectural Analysis IDs 78 Specific Risks in Machine-Learning Systems
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  2/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9308
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
archive_read_support_format_rar5.c in libarchive before 3.4.2 attempts to unpack a RAR5 file with an invalid or corrupted header (such as a header size of zero), leading to a SIGSEGV or possibly unspecified other impact.
CVE-2019-20479
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
A flaw was found in mod_auth_openidc before version 2.4.1. An open redirect issue exists in URLs with a slash and backslash at the beginning.
CVE-2011-2498
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
The Linux kernel from v2.3.36 before v2.6.39 allows local unprivileged users to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering creation of PTE pages.
CVE-2012-2629
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Axous 1.1.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add an administrator account via an addnew action to admin/administrators_add.php; or (2) c...
CVE-2014-3484
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in the __dn_expand function in network/dn_expand.c in musl libc 1.1x before 1.1.2 and 0.9.13 through 1.0.3 allow remote attackers to (1) have unspecified impact via an invalid name length in a DNS response or (2) cause a denial of service (crash) via an invalid ...