Top 10 Hacks by Anonymous
With everything moving online, it’s not surprising that even protests have moved online. Its face is ‘hacktivism’ in which few very intelligent and tech savvy programmers use their genius hacking skills to fight back against what they deem wrong. However, these non-violent hacking acts are illegal and legally ambiguous which have made these perpetrators act anonymously. They made their existence known publicly on social media for the first time with its members flaunting the signature Guy Fawkes masks. Viewed as heroic vigilantes by many, they have been responsible for the downfall of many esteemed websites with their series of especially infamous hacks. Let’s look at some of their top ones which have put the world in awe of them –
10. Operation Ice Isis
Starting their crusade against the ISIS as well as Levant terrorist group on February 9th 2015, the anonymous group attacked their social media accounts used for internet based recruitment and spread of their fanaticism. Consequently, within 24 hours of operation start, they succeeded in destroying months of recruitment work with over 800 ISIS affiliated Twitter accounts getting closed. The number reached over 1000 within first three days of operation.
9. Donald Trump Website attack
2015, The Republican US presidential candidate invited worldwide criticism by stating of Muslims to be barred from entering his country. He also got under the radar of the anonymous who took it upon themselves to teach him a lesson. His website went downtime for over an hour. The Anonymous’ Twitter account and a You Tube video announced of the hack with a warning to him to think twice before opening his big mouth.
8. Federal Takedown
On Jan. 19 2015 the FBI arrested several top shots of a file hosting services provider company,MegaUpload for copyright infringement. In retaliation, the group disabled the Washington’s powerful media websites of the Recording Industry of America (RIAA),Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the DoJ website, the very same day. This clearly showcased the speed and the gravity of their power and intent.
In February 2011, the HBGarry Federal’s CEO Aaron Barr boasted of his cyber-security firm succeeding in infiltrating Anonymous and promised of posting details about them publicly at a conference. Obviously, this was not well received by the Anonymous Group. To demonstrate the result of putting their hands on a snake’s hole, they first hacked the HBGary Federal’s website, placed their logo on it and posted the message of not to mess with them. They then crashed the company’s phone system and extracted over 7,000 messages from their email system. What’s more they created a searchable database of the emails and posted a link of it in the hacked Barr’s twitter account. The link revealed some extremely incriminating information about the company’s shady intentions which triggered a government’s investigation and ultimately the resignation of Aaron Barr.
6. Dark Discovery
People familiar with darknet know of the Hidden Wiki which enlightens one on many underground websites supporting illegal activities. In October 2011, targeting over underage pornography websites and specifically the Lolita City which is a file sharing site frequented by pedophiles; they exposed names of it’s about 1,589 active members. This clearly showed their power and reach to bring justice where even the law officials failed.
5. BART Bash
Bart bash was organized in August 2011 as a repercussion to BART’s (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system) censorship of shutting down the subterranean cellular phone service in a bid to clamp down the protestors voice on the fatal shooting of an unarmed passenger by the BART police a month earlier. Anonymous group first accessed the user database of BART’s consumer-outreach website, MyBART.org and posted the personal detailed information like name, email, account password etc. of many of its users along with the manifesto of BART violating the people’s right to assemble. They also organized numerous protests on BART’s train platforms in the following weeks. Moreover, when BART’s spokesman Linton Johnson refused to acknowledge the interruption of cell-phone service as a mistake, the group took things further and posted his nude pictures online.
4. Operation Titstorm
February 2010 saw the Australian government falling victim to the Anonymous group. When the Aussie government passed legislation barring porn featuring women with smaller breasts and showcasing female ejaculation; the group first threatened and then shut down the Australian Parliament House website and all but caused the downfall of their Department of Communications website.
3. Operation Payback
The Anonymous group mounted this attack on 2010 to punish pro-copyright groups, cracking down on Internet piracy. The US government at that time had ordered WikiLeaks to stop making public, top secret diplomatic cables. Many previous supporters of WikiLeaks shunned them by freezing accounts and even shutting down the site’s servers. Anonymous group then decided to stand with WikiLeaks owner,Julian Assange and declared war on brands like PayPal, MasterCard and Visa who refused to transact any business with WikiLeaks. On December 8 2010, the group crippled these big shots websites with ‘denial-of-service’ attacks.
2. Project Chanology
This month long campaign in 2008 by the Anonymous group against the Church of Scientology, earned the then newly formulating group, the international notoriety and recognition. The group believed the Church to be disseminating misinformation on Scientology through internet censorship. The group crashed the church’s website and depleted their printer inks by flooding their fax machines with black faxes. Deploying Google bombing, they linked the word, ‘Scientology’ to terms like ‘dangerous’ and ‘cult’ which gave skewed results on searching the term. The church sued You Tube for a propaganda video posted on its website. Responding to it, Anonymous posted their own video which procured over 4.6 million views.
1. The Chris Forcand Arrest
December 2007 saw the arrest of Chris Forcand, a 53 year old internet predator. Accused of luring two children below 14 years into sexual acts, he was caught by individuals linked to Anonymous who posed as children to try to collect evidence against child abusers and molesters. Procuring evidence against Forcand through those revealing photos, they contacted the authorities and facilitated the first ever arrest of an internet predator through internet vigilantism.