Anonymous: what to know about a worldwide hacking group

Anonymous is the most famous hacktivist group in the world. It gained international attention when it attacked the Church of Scientology’s website in 2008. As an informal group without a sanctioned hierarchy, it is difficult to explain what Anonymous is to the general public and non-experts. The hackers behind Anonymous worldwide are united in a belief that they should attack corporations and organizations considered to be corrupted. To do so, they use DDoS attacks, as this is the most common method Anonymous uses to bring down the servers of their target. There is much more to talk about in this group, however. Let’s find out below its history, then!  

Anonymous: Hacktivism

To start, hacktivists run Anonymous. ‘Hacktivist’ is a portmanteau of hackers and activists. What does this mean? Looking up this term, the most common definition reads as follows. “Hacktivism is the act of hacking a website or computer network to convey a social or political message.” Thus, this is a peculiar form of hacking. Now, what does “hacktivist” refer to? “The person who carries out the act of hacktivism is known as a hacktivist.” For the hacktivist, hacktivism is an Internet-enabled strategy to exercise civil disobedience. Therefore, hacktivism is a social and political struggle that employs malicious – and usually illegal – hacking techniques. They may include DDoS attacks, redirects, information theft, and other sabotage forms. Not all of the activities are illegal, however. Some of them may be virtual sit-ins or demonstrations, too.  

Anonymous: what is it?

The group took inspiration from the online image-based bulletin board 4chan, which started in 2003. The perceived anonymity inspired the name “Anonymous,” under which users posted on 4chan. Furthermore, the group two symbols were the Guy Fawkes mask that they wear in public and the “man without the head” image. This symbology underscores the group’s inscrutability and lack of formal hierarchy. This informal group desires to use their technological savvy for a specific purpose and cause. They performed their first attack against the Church of Scientology in 2008. They blamed it for an alleged “anti-freedom of speech” stance. Since then, the hacker collective has been involved in everything from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the shooting of Michael Brown in the US.  


To conclude, the debate is going on whether Anonymous is an illegal group. Nowadays, the group has embarked on a crusade against jihadists on the web. Indeed, some now call the collective “the digilantes” for their efforts to retaliate against the terrorist attacks on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Thus, their activities have been shifting and their reputation changing. Finally, a question arises: will they use their skills and abilities for good forever?