Do you remember Anonymous, the controversial hacker group that made liberal use of the Guy Fawkes V for Vendetta mask? Anonymous made countless cybersecurity news headlines for some of the most visible online hacktivist protests. But in recent months, they seemed to have shrunk from public view. Why is that?
Below we will discuss the possible disappearance of the infamous hacker collective and the chances of their resurgence.
Neither Heard or Seen
Anonymous broke onto the scene in 2006 with a number of purposefully offensive 'trolling' campaigns to frustrate and annoy web users. It wasn't until 2008 that the group found international acclaim for Project Chanology, a globally coordinated effort to protest the Church of Scientology and its overly restrictive and litigious methods through cyberattacks and highly visible 'in real life' protests.
As the energy of Chanology began to wear off, the group faced its first major schism. Was Anonymous meant to be a moral force or a vexation for anyone who took the internet too seriously?
Just a few months later, Anonymous (allegedly) launched a dramatic attack on an epilepsy support website, resulting in seizures for several members due to rapidly flashing colors that took up the whole screen. It was clear that not everyone was onboard with the new "moral**g Âù direction of Anonymous.
Since then, Anonymous executed dozens of 'operations' in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Julian Assange, Arab Spring and more. It has also launched attacks on private businesses, hate groups, police officers, terrorist groups and cybercriminals. Anonymous has been described in cybersecurity news as a "digital Robin Hood Âù and "cyber-lynch mob. Âù
What makes Anonymous so difficult to pin down is that it is a loosely associated network of hacktivists that can be fighting for nearly any cause at any given time. There is no centralized command, no charismatic leader, no founding document. There is, however, a few philosophical constants which include a decentralization of power, anti-censorship and the belief that the internet should be an extension of free speech and an available resource for everyone.
However, this type of fluidity may have led to the groups remission. The 2016 U.S. president election was a contentious moment in American history. In March, Anonymous declared "total war" on Donald Trump for what they saw as a "deeply disturbing" campaign run on greed and hate.
Conversely, a YouTube channel associated with Anonymous released a video denouncing #OpTrump as censorship. The schizophrenic group also declared war on Hillary Clinton and joined with controversial figure Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to oppose Clinton's candidacy and ties to big money.
In an interview with Vice, representatives from YourAnonNews said, "We believe that major Anonymous operations simply did not take place because of the divide of the collective on the political spectrums. The U.S. election pitted friend against friend, mother against son. It did the same within Anonymous as many activists became caught up in the debate instead of remaining true and steady against the establishment."
Recently, Anonymous has shown signs of life in cybersecurity news after releasing a simple 'how to' guide for hacking President Trump's notoriously insecure cell phone and launching an attack on illegal dark web activities.
The moral of the story, if there is one, is that hackers and hacker groups are rather volatile and constantly evolving. If you want to safeguard yourself and your business from an ever-changing threat, it's best to establish a safety net. Invest in cyber insurance from CyberPolicy today!