The loosely organised hacker group Anonymous was created in 2003. Since then, they’ve committed many ‘serious’ attacks, with many of them taking place in 2010 & 2011. The group has been known to hack into large corporations (PayPal) and governments (US gov’t) showing how easy it is to get past their security systems, as well as take ‘revenge’ against what they believe are poor decisions and actions by such organisations. The group tends to gather personal information from their target’s databases and post them publicly, as well as organise protests. An example of this is how they organised protests against the San Francisco Transportation’s decision to block phone service in their stations to quell growing protests when the take place. Anonymous has also used an internet traffic blocking method called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. This clogs the targeted organisation’s web servers so that they have virtually no use of their computer systems any longer. This can cause major damage to daily operations costing hundreds of thousands of Pounds at times. Often, it’s the less technically able members that carry out many of these attacks, while the technical skilled members lead.
Some love these guys, others consider them a major problem that needs to be dealt with, either way it’s clear that they believe in things and follow their talk up with action. Doing so has landed them into a lot of hot water with the FBI and other world governments. LulzSec is a similar hacking group primarily based in the UK, while Anonymous is mainly US based. Governments are coming down hard on both groups. The FBI has made over 75 raids on suspected Anonymous members and has arrested 16 people since they consider the group a national security threat. They are trying hard to make more arrests and take the group out entirely, but the problem is that there is no central head of the group. Members work together informally and tend to remain isolated much of the time. Virtually anyone can hack an organisation and say they’re from Anonymous. It’s not easy for the FBI or others to rid the world of a group that has little to no structure. The lack of structure has also drawn lines within Anonymous. The group has stated they plan to take down Facebook in November, but there’s word that many member do not support this act.
With the lack of structure within Anonymous, or any other hacking group, they are much more dangerous as anyone can do what they want and label it as Anonymous, while making it hard for authorities to catch up with them. So whether you believe they’re a national/international threat or they’re fighting for civil freedoms, it’s interesting to watch this cat and mouse chase. I have a feeling it’s not over yet even though the FBI and others are claiming they’re disbanding the group.