What is Anonymous?
Anonymous is a blanket term for a semi-organized group of Internet hackers who target high profile websites. They are more of a collective or “movement” than a cohesive group. Some of their attacks are motivated purely by capriciousness, others by ideological views. A number of individuals have been arrested for actions associated with Anonymous.
Partial List of Attacks Attributed to Anonymous
- Multiple attacks on Arizona’s state law enforcement sites, including DoS Attacks and publishing of private information. (June 21st-July 11th) 1
- Attacked FBI partner site, shared its databases publicly. (July 3rd) 2
- Denial of service attacks on Visa and MasterCard websites, in response to their perceived nonsupport of Wikileaks. (Ongoing, starting in 2010) 2
- Attacks on Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan government websites, in response to independence movements and government crackdowns in the middle east. (Early 2011) 3
- Posting pornography disguised as children’s videos on Youtube. (May 20th, 2009) 3
- Symantec claims Anonymous members stole their source code in 2006. 4
- Attacks on the Church of Scientology websites and public protests against the church. (Ongoing, starting in 2008) 3
Anonymous primarily uses distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS) to take down websites for short periods of time (usually no more than 24 hours). They also illegally collect personal information, such as account names, passwords and associated email addresses from pornography and gaming websites, and publish it online for all to see. 2
- As always, be careful where you share personal information on the web.
- Report Internet crime to the correct authorities. See this web page from the U.S. Department of Justice for more details about reporting Internet crime.