There are a lot of talks and rumors about the hacker group Anonymous. Let’s try to explain what these modern Robin Hoods are.
The war in Ukraine forced the whole world to change its mind about Russia. About its imperial, brutal ambitions. Racist fascists bomb my native Kharkiv, destroy Mariupol, shell schools, kindergartens, hospitals and even maternity hospitals.
The whole world helps us as much as we can. IT developers, cyber specialists and even hacker groups did not stand aside either. Especially a lot of noise was made by the hacker group Anonymous, which declared war on Russia. In the context of the Russian invasion, Anonymous decided to support Ukraine by organizing various types of attacks on companies and government agencies of the Russian Federation.
Today I will try to tell you in more detail about the Anonymous hacking community, explain what they are doing, about their successes in the fight against Russian occupants.
It all started with simple Internet trolling
It all started around 2004 and 2006. Back then, the Internet was full of memes, jokes and various funny pictures. At that time, the world of memes was dominated by 4chan, a forum in the style of modern Reddit, focused mainly on communicating with images. In one of its darkest corners, more engaged activists gathered. They wanted drastic actions. They wanted to get noticed.
They started weird. For example, everyone remembers the mass entrance to the Habbo online hotel, a virtual meeting place with three-dimensional avatars. Then everyone from the 4chan site massively entered the game, creating identical characters, placing them in a locking line separating other users from the pool. It was impossible to penetrate the avatars of other players in the game. This simple “hack” caused quite a stir amongst gamers.
Where did the name and the Anonymous logo come from?
Where did the name Anonymous come from? It all started with 4сhan with its anonymous culture. When you post anonymously, “Anonymous” appears with your message, and since the dark corners of the forum were hosted mainly by anonymous users, the name of the group of hackers seemed only natural.
The hackers are mostly known by their Guy Fawkes’s masks from the film V for Vendetta. In 2012, the first March of a million masks was held, which could be joined by all those who accept the characteristic image. The protests in Washington and London gathered the largest number of demonstrators. They were organized under the slogan “against everything that is bad and corrupt in our world.” Around that time, it was accepted that this mask would be the hallmark of the Anonymous group. Interestingly, such marches are still organized annually on November 5. In 2015, they managed to cover hundreds of cities around the world. This tradition continues today.
The first big attack on the Church of Scientology
However, the hacker group Anonymous is famous not only for funny actions, but also for real actions that expose specific problems. The first such significant actions date back to 2008. At this time, the Anonymous group committed very high-profile actions against the Church of Scientology. It all started with an interview with Tom Cruise, which appeared on YouTube. The conversation between a representative of the organization and the actor is quite interesting material. Cruise behaves strangely, unnaturally, and he defends the theses that Scientology will protect us from car accidents or save us from drug addiction.
The material was created only for the internal needs of the organization, but someone stole it and made it public. This shows Scientologists in a very bad light, and the organization claimed that they were manipulated and tried to remove the video. YouTube agreed to delete the video, which caused protests from the hacker group. Hackers decided that the world has the right to know the truth, so it all ended with the restoration of material on the platform. The activity was very large-scale for that time, but most of the hacking concerned sites related to Scientology. Even more materials appeared that opened the eyes to the activities of this sectarian church. The founders of the church raged, threatened with repriage, but could not do anything. According to members of the Anonymous hacker group, their job was to save the Internet from brainwashing by Scientologists.
Bollywood under fire
Since then, Anonymous has been increasingly moving towards hacktivism rather than trolling, although trolling actions have still happened. In 2009, they helped fill YouTube with pornographic content in response to the removal of music videos of large music labels from the site. However, the most interesting thing happened at the beginning of the last decade in 2010 and 2011.
In 2010, two major operations took place, after which Anonymous became especially famous. The first one is known as Pay. It all started when several Bollywood companies hired an IT cyber security company to conduct DDoS attacks on portals illegally distributing Indian films. In response, Anonymous took revenge on the company’s servers. After the hack, all Bollywood servers went down. But the hackers did not stop there and switched to other companies that comply with strict copyright laws. They disabled some sites for tens of hours, which allowed users to download content for free. At that time, Anonymous grew up as a group that fought against large corporations for freedom of speech and choice. They dream of a free Internet accessible to everyone.
Read also: Best video games developed in Ukraine
This idea became especially relevant when Anonymous stood up for WikiLeaks. In 2010, a large number of secret documents containing diplomatic analysis of world leaders and assessments of diplomats from different parts of the world appeared on this portal. For example, we found out that some support Al Qaeda. Since the end of November, the Wikileaks website had published more than 250,000 diplomatic telegrams of the United States. The so-called Cablegate is the largest publication of confidential documents of any organization related to internal affairs, human rights and terrorism.
It should be understood that WikiLeaks at that time was a non-profit organization based on donations. At that time, large corporations such as Visa, MasterCard, Paypal and Bank of America either ceased cooperation or blocked transfers from WikiLeaks donors. In the end, it was a violation of U.S. law. Anonymous joined the fight to protect WikiLeaks, which started with a DDoS attack on MasterCard and Visa payment systems, and then on Paypal. The services were blocked, which prevented mass redirection of traffic to the attacked servers. Finally PayPal surrendered under pressure from the attacks and released money sent to a special fund, to transfer them to WikiLeaks. However, the account of the organization itself is not unlocked, which makes further payments impossible.
But the attack itself proved that close-knit hacker communities can decide the fate of entire companies and corporations. It was clear to everyone that this was just the beginning.
PlayStation Network hack
Another high-profile Anonymous campaign concerned the PlayStation Network system which was attacked in 2011. Back then Sony sued a hacker who broke the security of PlayStation 3. According to its libertarian ideals, Anonymous launched a massive attack on the Japanese corporation and its PlayStation Network service. The attack was so massive that Sony recovered from it only after a few months. PSN practically did not work for several weeks.
For a Japanese company, it was vert bad PR, causing distrust among gamers. However, the reputation of Anonymous was also affected. Because of their attack, ordinary PS3 owners could not comfortably use their console for a long time. At that time, there was a lot of criticism of hackers on the Internet.
Who rules Anonymous?
It should be noted that Anonymous is a hacker group of like-minded people that does not have a sole leader. It’s not even centralized. Yes, hacktivists have their own communication channels, but they never obey one person or a group of key people.
Also, some experts say that many members of the group are not even advanced hackers, but their cohesion can only be envied. But in order for the actions to be very effective, several specialists are enough. In DarkWeb many hackers have supported and joined Anonymous. Sometimes it seems that even DarkWeb fans are uniting against Russia.
Anonymous declared war on Russia and stood up for Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, almost a few hours after the invasion by Russian army, the hacker organization Anonymous officially declared a cyberwar on Russia. Their attacks were primarily aimed at government websites and websites of the media and companies associated with the Kremlin. The pages of the propaganda station RT News, Russian Internet providers and the Ministry of Defense of Russia have not been functioning for a long time. But that was just the beginning.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonOne) February 24, 2022
A day later, Anonymous hackers hacked into the servers of the Ministry of Defense and received a lot of data about employees of the department. There were not only surnames and names, but also phone numbers. All this hackers have made public and posted it freely available on the Internet.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonOne) February 25, 2022
Another attack was aimed at the Belarusian arms manufacturer Tetraedr. The company was supposed to provide logistics support to Russia during the ongoing invasion. According to the hacktivists, they managed to steal and publish more than 200 GB of emails from the company’s employees from Belarus.
Among their subsequent high-profile actions are the seizure and publication of Russian military communications, hacking of Russian television and broadcasting video about Ukraine, as well as the termination of gas supplies to one of the Russian companies. It was perceived with admiration not only in Ukraine, but also around the world.
Anonymous hackers also published a video calling on the Russian President to resign. If he doesn’t do that, a special operation is being prepared for him personally. This time they hit Putin, breaking his luxury yacht Graceful. Hackers have changed the location data in the AIS system, as well as its destination. Thanks to this, the whole world saw that the yacht allegedly crashed on Snake Island, which we know about thanks to the heroic actions of Ukrainian border guards stationed there.
Most recently, Anonymous successfully broke and disclosed the database of Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federal Executive Agency responsible for monitoring, control and censorship of Russian media, publishing more than 360 thousand files. They talk about everything on their Twitter page.
We will constantly supplement the material, talking about new attacks by the hacker group Anonymous. These cyber heroes help Ukrainians fight hordes of invaders from the East in every possible way. We Ukrainians are confident in our victory, because we protect our home, our families, our homeland.
If you also want to help Ukraine fight with Russian occupants, the best way to do so is by donating to the Armed Forces of Ukraine via https://savelife.in.ua/donate/