I've written recently about the dangers of online vigilantes infringing on the free speech of others. Anonymous is one of the biggest offenders in this department, but there are numerous hacking groups that -- under the banner of fighting one evil or another -- take the law of the web into their own hands without a thought for the consequences.
Online vigilantes stir up populist support by throwing around the keywords associated with the enemy of the moment -- terrorists, ISIS, racists, fascists, communists, socialists, pedophiles. All very emotive issues, but vigilantism can all too easily get out of hand. This has just been demonstrated perfectly by YouTube star Keemstar who took it upon himself to expose a 62-year-old pedophile online through his DramaAlert podcast. The only problem is that he and his team got the wrong man.
My colleague Brian Fagioli has referred to the web being rather like the Wild West. I'm inclined to agree, but that's not to say that we have reached the same conclusion for the same reasons. For me, the web -- like the Wild West -- is not a world filled with danger, but one occupied by vigilantes. As a proponent of free speech, I find this concerning. One of the most highly-lauded of vigilantes is the disparate group marching under the ragged banner of Anonymous.
One of its taglines is 'We Are Anonymous', a phrase that can be uttered by anyone as there is no membership process -- if you say you are part of Anonymous, you are part of Anonymous. The group is not, for the most part, organized. Individuals and factions can fight for or against whatever cause they want, just like real-world vigilante groups. But Anonymous is not alone. There are hacking collectives and other online crusaders who see fit to take the law into their own hands. This might sound wonderful, but it's not necessarily a good thing. As New World Hackers demonstrate, attacks can target the wrong people and restrict free speech.
A huge DDoS attack took the BBC's websites offline on Thursday, as well as the broadcaster's iPlayer streaming service. The disruption lasted for several hours, and now a US-based group of 'cyber hackers' that usually targets ISIS has claimed responsibility.
The New World Hacking group is a self-proclaimed hacktivist group that supports Anonymous. It says that despite effectively knocking the BBC from the face of the web, it was only meant to be a test of server power rather than a targeted attack on the corporation.
The hacktivist collective Anonymous does a lot of good. It’s been fighting Islamic State online for quite some time, outed Ku Klux Klan members in another operation, and even targeted Kanye West for being a "spoiled child in a grown man’s body", which is hard to argue with.
If you’ve ever aspired to join Anonymous but weren’t sure how or where to begin, here’s the bad news. You can’t "join" Anonymous. Not because you’re not wanted or welcome, but because, as a new recruiting video explains, it’s "not an organization. It is not a club, a party or even a movement. There is no charter, no manifest, no membership fees". That said, if you want to be part of Anonymous you can, and it’s easy to do so.
ISIS has been in the news for some time now, and events like the recent terror attacks in Paris keep pushing the group into the public consciousness. Governments may be waging war on ISIS on the ground, but on the web it is the likes of Anonymous and vigilante hackers who have taken it upon themselves to curtail terrorist propaganda.
In the latest twist in the tail, hacker group VandaSec traced the IP addresses relating to some ISIS Twitter accounts to the UK government -- the Department of Work and Pensions specifically. Given that the accounts have been used not only to spread ISIS propaganda, but also to recruit members, does the UK government have a dirty little secret? As you might expect, it's not quite that simple.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has been hacked by Anonymous, and the names and login credentials of some of its employees have been posted online, the media reported on Monday.
The data released into the wild includes full names, email contact details, clear text passwords, office addresses, phone and fax contact details of those registered on the ESA database. The information contains 52 names, email addresses and passwords of 52 internal ESA users.
Hacktivist group Anonymous, which has recently declared "war" on ISIS, has released a guide on how to find and take out ISIS-related websites and social media accounts.
The group posted three different guides, to be used within #OpParis, the online campaign against the Middle-Eastern militants.
As you might have seen on other news sites over the past few days, hacktivist collective Anonymous has declared war against Islamic State following the massacre in Paris last Friday. The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones has an interesting interview with one of the members which is worth reading here.
While Operation Paris -- which has the aim of tracking down members of IS -- is a new venture, Anonymous has actually been engaged in a cyberwar with the terrorist organization since February through its continuing #OpISIS campaign. A new video, posted today by the group behind that operation, Anonymous Red Cult, reiterates its aims, and reveals how you can join the fight.
Tor has long been thought of as offering a level of privacy, security and anonymity that enables people to do whatever they want online; it also facilitates access to the so-called Dark Web. Despite this, law enforcement agencies were able to crack Tor and identify a Silk Road 2.0 user. Now it seems that the FBI was helped out by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
It was previously known that the FBI tracked down Brian Richard Farrrell using information from a "university-based research institute". The Tor Project itself believes that the FBI paid researchers at the university at least $1 million to attack the network and gather data from Tor relays that could be analyzed and used to identify users' IP addresses.
The hacker group Anonymous is almost synonymous with attacks and data leaks, but while they tend to strike fear into some people, the truth is, if you aren't doing anything wrong then don't be scared. The group tends to stand up against bullies and human rights infractions -- witness its attack against ISIS.
Anonymous has threatened to release details about one the most feared hate groups in the United States, the Ku Klux Klan. The organization was conceived in 1865, just after the Civil War, It was quickly suppressed but reemerged in 1915, though the current incarnation began in 1946. Thankfully, after a long reign of terror, membership numbers have dwindled in recent times.
One thing no one seems to understand is that you don’t mess with Anonymous. Not unless you want all your dirty laundry publicly exposed on the plains of the digital world.
This time around, Anonymous has set its crosshairs at the KKK, or to be more specific, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAKKKK) of Ferguson. It plans on revealing the identities of 1,000 of its members.
Tor -- The Onion Router -- is used as a way of browsing the web (more) anonymously. Most well-known for providing access to what has become known as the Dark Web, Tor has faced competition from other secure browsing systems such as HORNET. But now it is set to benefit from key changes that will improve security and have further implications.
Engineering Task Force (IETF) along with Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, part of ICANN, has granted formal recognition to the .onion domain, adding it to the list of Special-Use Domain Names. Previously known as a psdeuo-TLD it was technically possible for the .onion domain to be used on the regular web -- now it is limited to Tor. There is also the possibility of site-specific encryption and the use of security certificates.
Fresh details have been released related to the US Government data that was stolen by hacking group Anonymous.
According to the reports, data for more than 4,200 employees was compromised during this hack but fortunately, the hackers were shut down within 90 minutes of detecting the intrusion.
With the current concerns about surveillance and privacy, more and more people are turning to anonymizing tools. The existence of unknown numbers of spying tools means that increasing numbers of people are turning to the likes of Tor to keep their online activities private.
But encryption systems such as those used by The Onion Relay have a horrible tendency to slow things down. A new encryption system called HORNET could be a solution. Its creators say that data transfer speeds of up to 93GBps are possible, with much of the acceleration coming from a reduction in the number of hops data has to make around the network.
It’s fair to say Anonymous is no fan of Islamic State. The hacktivist collective has been waging an online war against the terrorist organization for a while now as part of #OpISIS. Five months ago it described Islamic State as a virus, and itself as the cure.
Now Anonymous has a new weapon which it’s using to reduce the impact of Islamic State’s presence on Twitter -- female Japanese Anime characters.