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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
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.
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.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Exploiting Google Cloud Platform With Ease
Dark Reading Staff 8/6/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15138
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-07
Prism is vulnerable to Cross-Site Scripting. The easing preview of the Previewers plugin has an XSS vulnerability that allows attackers to execute arbitrary code in Safari and Internet Explorer. This impacts all Safari and Internet Explorer users of Prism >=v1.1.0 that use the _Previewers_ plugin...
CVE-2020-9490
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-07
Apache HTTP Server versions 2.4.20 to 2.4.43. A specially crafted value for the 'Cache-Digest' header in a HTTP/2 request would result in a crash when the server actually tries to HTTP/2 PUSH a resource afterwards. Configuring the HTTP/2 feature via "H2Push off" will mitigate this vulnerab...
CVE-2020-11852
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-07
DKIM key management page vulnerability on Micro Focus Secure Messaging Gateway (SMG). Affecting all SMG Appliance running releases prior to July 2020. The vulnerability could allow a logged in user with rights to generate DKIM key information to inject system commands into the call to the DKIM syste...
CVE-2020-11984
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-07
Apache HTTP server 2.4.32 to 2.4.44 mod_proxy_uwsgi info disclosure and possible RCE
CVE-2020-11985
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-07
IP address spoofing when proxying using mod_remoteip and mod_rewrite For configurations using proxying with mod_remoteip and certain mod_rewrite rules, an attacker could spoof their IP address for logging and PHP scripts. Note this issue was fixed in Apache HTTP Server 2.4.24 but was retrospectively...