1:10 am - 18/03/2017 | Categories: Hacking
You’ve seen them in the media, on tv and in the movies. The ultimate deviants of the online world capable of wreaking havoc to major organisations all the while standing for lofty goals. You’re ready to dedicate yourself to these noble ideals and learn the ways of the craft. Except there’s one problem – how do you join this elusive secret group of underground hackers?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how inspired or committed you are, or even how good your mad computer skills are. You will still never join the group known as ‘anonymous’.
But before you click away, allow me to explain. There is no hacking group called anonymous, it is not an organisation nor does it have leaders.
It is not a group – it’s an idea.
An idea that has morphed and grown over time into what we know today, but where did ‘Anonymous’ come from, lets take a quick history lesson…
Where better to start than 4chan, the popular image based forum. It has a strong link to the anonymous identity which often causes it to be labelled infamously according to most media you’ll probably see.
Originally started as an off-branch of other popular anime focused sites but soon spread to cover a variety of different boards containing different content. Posts here quickly rise and fall with users posting anonymously, without a login and simply referring to one another as ‘anon’, most likely the origin of the group name – anonymous. Users quickly developed a taste for unusual humour posting images based on its own bizarre culture and in-jokes.
From here this bunch of autistic kids, loners, weaboos and geeks would go on to shape the internet, creating the meme and even uniting together to do this crazy new thing called ‘trolling’.
In 2006, users swarmed onto popular game of the time Habbo Hotel, with the goal of wreaking havoc, closing the pool by surrounding it with a wall of players. – ‘it was serious business’, as the joke went.
This was an early demonstration of users ability to group together to great effect online, if for a suitably ridiculous purpose. When asked what they were doing or where they from they dutifully followed the 4chan culture by concealing the identity of the site and not saying where they’d come from, in true Rule #1 of fight club fashion.
Instead users would often instead pretend to be all sorts of things, one day they’d pose as being from a rival website, next they’d be undercover cops or some shadowy secret society. After all, nobody had heard of them, they could pretend to be whatever they wanted.
But this was all just a joke – right?
In 2008 with the sites userbase on the rise, 4chan did something unprecedented. They somehow persuaded their users to leave their basement strongholds and venture out into the unknown, something known as ‘outside’. On a cold February morning the protest began. Over 100 people arrived and amassed outside the Chruch of Scientology in Florida to protest against the organisation for its ‘restrictions of free speech’ and ‘cult’-like nature after a video of Tom Cruise discussing the church hit widespread news.
Sticking to conventional 4chan ways, users once again protected both their identities and that of the site. Most notably, the Guy Fawkes masks that have grown to be so iconic of the “Anonymous” movement.
The protest can certainly be seen as a turning point – The anonymous protest had been born. With it came a new age of the anonymous identity, focused on freedom, privacy and civil rights, they were no longer simply trolls…
They were “Moral fags” as the rest of the 4chan community described them.
Hacking and LulzSec
What about the hacking? To launch an effective attack you usually need a strong and tight-knit team to work together. But as we’ve already established anonymous are no fixed-group, they’re more of an ideology, so how were they able to perform attacks?
While there is no official ‘Anonymous’ group there have been many groups which have borrowed the name to gain notoriety.
One hacker group that is often confused with the ‘Anonymous’ name is LulzSec. However unlike the generic anonymous brand, LulzSec really was an actual hacking group with an actual leader!
Formed in 2011 they went on a mad spree of attacks including hacki into The PBS Website, where they published the fake story seen below. This followed by the famous Sony Pictures data leak and ended with a successful DDoS attack on the CIA itself, taking the site down for over 2 hours. Unsurprisingly none of this worked out too well for them in the end.
Stop listening to those crappy news reports.