The Internet has allowed the average person to arm themselves with excesses of information. However, the hacking group Anonymous is one organization that has become infamous for using this information to make demands and expose larger truths. Their “targets” have run the gamut over the years, but it’s safe to say their line of attack generally involves the Internet.
Anonymous is not afraid of making an enemy or two — here are four people and groups the hacktivist group has set their sights on in the past…
GOP Presidential front runner Donald Trump is a polarizing figure to say the least. And things got serious for The Don on March 4, when Anonymous declared “total war” on him. According to Mic, the group said they plan to shut down TrumpChicago.com on April 4 in addition to dredging up more dirt on the Republican candidate. They said in the minute-long video:
“Dear Donald Trump, we have been watching you for a long time and what we see is deeply disturbing. Your inconsistent and hateful campaign has not only shocked the United States of America, you have shocked the entire planet with your appalling actions and ideas.”
As a first line of attack, Anonymous announced on March 17 that they released Trump’s phone number and social security number. Aside from the fact that his social security number was publicized years ago, the New York Daily News reports that the group took to social media a little later to say the phone number is possibly outdated. The group posted a message on its website yesterday saying all the info they purportedly leaked about Trump had actually been accessible online since 2013, going on to mock Trump, the FBI, the Secret Service and more for falling for their “ruse.”
The Internet has been one of ISIS’ strongest recruitment tools. However, following the Paris Terror Attacks, Anonymous decided the terror group must be stopped. According to Mother Jones, the group then launched #OpParis, an initiative aimed at erasing ISIS’ online presence. In late November, Anonymous declared a huge victory against ISIS after getting 20,000 of their active accounts removed from Twitter. The Daily Dot reported that someone from Twitter said that number was “widely inaccurate” while the Daily Mail wrote that the “hit list” included unaffiliated accounts like BBC News and Barack Obama. Furthermore, the International Business Times speculated that some of the targeted accounts were compromised because they tweeted about ISIS and not all of them were sympathetic to the group. “Users flag content for us through our standard reporting channels. We review their reports manually and take action if the content violates our rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told IBT. “We don’t review Anonymous lists posted online, but third-party reviews have found them to be wildly inaccurate and full of academics and journalists.”
Westboro Baptist Church
Anonymous and Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) have gone back and forth for years. Since Westboro feeds off of attention — using the Internet to announce its controversial picketing plans — Anonymous has made it their mission to attack the church where it hurts. One incident occurred in 2011 when Anonymous not only posted a message to the Church on their own website, but carried out the hack while church leader Shirley Phelps Roper debated with a member on a live Internet show. “This domain has been seized by Anonymous under section #14 of the rules of the Internet,” the statement said, according to The Register. Saying they decided to hack the website because the Church called them “crybaby hackers” and encouraging the group to “go away,” the statement concluded: “The world (including Anonymous) disagrees with your hateful messages, but you have the right to voice them. This does not mean you can jump onto Anonymous for attention.” However, their fighting is far from over, as Anonymous allegedly took over WBC’s Facebook in 2013, and threatened the Church if they protested the funerals of Charleston shooting victims.
Anonymous can only do so much. And they realized this in November 2011 when they launched #OpCartel against Mexican Zetas drug cartel. According to the Guardian, Anonymous said the mission would entail revealing the identities of members if they didn’t release one of their own who was kidnapped. Though they obtained more than 25,000 government emails (which they threatened to release), Anonymous held back after the member was released by the cartel, NBC News reported. Though Anonymous claimed they identified 75 Zetas based on those emails, leader Barrett Brown said the group will back down. “As the Zetas left a note with the person threatening to kill ten civilians for every name published, none of us will be proceeding with those particular names,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. Instead of going after Zetas and involved accomplices, Brown said they will use this information to go against other cartels.