The other day, a video message was released to Elon Musk from a group of people who named themselves after the hacker group Anonymous. The video featured a criticism of Elon Musk, as well as a message with a threat element. Who is Anonymous? Let’s talk in the article.
The authors of the video are also dissatisfied with the fact that Musk manipulates the price of the first cryptocurrency through his Twitter and thanks to this “destroys” the lives of ordinary people. The video makes a lot of other claims about the conduct of business by Musk. For example, the exploitation of child labor, for the sake of mining lithium, which is well used in the creation of batteries for electric cars. Also that he wants to become famous at the expense of people who will go to colonize Mars. But based on the opinion of the Entrepreneur journalists, the colonialists will die there.
Origin of the organization
Anonymous originated in 2003. A group of hackers teamed up on the 4chan site, where trolls and pranksters were usually regulars. Activists, or as they are commonly called “hacktivists”, Anonymous declared itself five years after its inception. A large operation was carried out against the Church of Scientology. DDoS attacks were organized on their website, and then it all came to protest actions. Then Anonymous demonstrated to the public its strength and cohesion as a new subculture.
In 2010, hackers showed all their abilities in colors. The CEO of HBGary, Aaron Barr, said that he can disclose the identities of Anonymous residents to anyone who is willing to pay for this information. He didn’t forget to add that he would be happy to cooperate with the FBI. According to Barr, he managed to find all the information thanks to social networks. After a short period of time, HBGary’s website was hacked. All of Barr’s correspondence was leaked, and all of Barr’s personal social media pages were hacked. Anonymous has also removed all data from the CEO’s personal tablet.
After these events, the slogan “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We don’t forgive. Don’t forget. Wait.” There was an assumption that the phrase “We are legion” came from the biblical utterance of pure evil “My name is Legion”.
In the years that followed, Anonymous only gained momentum and popularity. Hackers from around the world were opponents of censorship, supporters of revolutions and pirate movements. In 2012, they were published in the American magazine Time. According to the magazine, they were among the most influential people in the world. Year after year, they were discussed by different publishers, thanks to their new actions. For example, they declassified secret documents, collected data on popular people.
Beginning of a lull
In 2012, eight successful cyber operations were conducted, including operations against the FBI, Interpol and other major organizations. But after that, there was a lull.
As former Anonymous member Gregg Howsch said, structure and organization have never been the strong points of unification. Anyone could have been part of the group. If the hacker wanted his activity to be under the “brand” of Anonymous, he just said so. There were participants of all ages in the community, political views could vary, wealth and nationality also did not play any role. The group didn’t care who you were in real life. Therefore, disunity led to universal disunity. Small parts of the residents could communicate with each other, but there was no talk of any large-scale associations.
The community did not have a specific goal. Different parts of the organization implemented a common ideology about ” anti-oppression” in their own way. Most of the activists fought against censorship within the network, they wanted to make the Internet more free. This policy soon influenced the emergence of virtual democracy within Anonymous. If some part of the organization wanted to do one particular thing, then there were chances to gather with like-minded people for the sake of common ideas and interests. But this led to the following problem: according to former residents, it was impossible to find at least one person who would be completely happy with what was happening on the network. But I had to accept everything that other members of the community were doing, since everyone was in the same boat.
A series of troubles and the actual end
Early in Anonymous’s journey, a number of countries did not want to tolerate hacker pranks, so several arrests were made in 2010. It didn’t really hit the community, but on the contrary, they were having fun in chat rooms.
Soon Anonymous decided to join forces with another well-known hacker group LulzSec. In 2012, hackers from both groups were arrested, and Hector Monsegur, who was recruited by the FBI, turned them in. Thanks to him, one of the popular Anonymous activists, Jeremy Hammond, also fell into the hands of law enforcement officers. Over the next few years, more than a hundred hackers were caught.
But a palpable blow to unification came during the presidency of Donald Trump. Perhaps the former president himself did not realize how controversial he would become for hackers. Many American hacktivists wanted to join forces and destroy Trump. They feared what it might bring upon the United States, something that could not be undone. This view was held by Anonymous’s elders. But this approach was not supported by another part of the anonymous. They liked the fact that Trump was a kind of upstart who brought sumber to politics. The president was quite fond of this approach by the hackers because he fit their ideals. Thanks to this, a rift occurred in the collective. Most members of the community were unable to reach a common compromise and many left the group.
Former members of the community have also said that the break-up of Anonymous occurred due to misunderstanding of goals. According to some data, to date, many former hacktivists have moved into the legal sector – information security, participation in various conferences, etc. Also, most already have families. Cyber security research shows a decline in hacker activity since 2015. Hacking has decreased by 95 percent. Interestingly, this period of time is coming close to the extinction of Anonymous.
The hacker association Anonymous, caused a lot of noise in the period from 2010 to 2015. They successfully declared themselves, showing their strength and power in the virtual world. But to date, there is no news about any of their new cyber attacks. After the video dedicated to Elon Musk, a post was posted on the community’s Twitter that this was not their doing. Although they may just be looking away from themselves. There is a chance that some hacktivists decided to return, but in any case, time will tell what will happen next.