Hacktivist collective Anonymous is mostly famous for launching attacks on the Church of Scientology, ISIS, world governments, child pornography websites and, er, Kanye West. But its latest mission is to unite humanity and get us working together to go into space and colonize new worlds. No, seriously.
I suspect someone at Anonymous may have enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar a little too much.
Facebook has just updated -- or rather clarified -- its Community Standards document, which outlines the type of content that are not allowed on the social network. Among the list of banned topics is, as you might expect, terrorism.
Anonymous has been battling terrorism online for a while now, taking down Islamic State related sites and Twitter accounts via its #OpISIS campaign. The aim of this operation is to prevent the terrorist organization from spreading its message online, but now Facebook has taken steps to prevent Anonymous from spreading its own message on the social network.
Anonymous is a very loose collective of hackers. In the video setting the record straight on #OpISIS, it is described as a family that is as "divided and fractional as any more traditional, not so Anonymous family in any city, town, or isolated rural village in the world".
Almost anyone can claim to be in Anonymous, and launch their own attacks or operations, and proving the point, someone claiming to be from the hacktivist collective has released a video targeting Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian.
Hacktivist network Anonymous has been taking down ISIS related sites and Twitter accounts in a bid to prevent the terrorist organization from spreading its message online. Anonymous has declared ISIS a virus, and itself the cure.
However, cyber blog Krypt31a has described Anonymous's recent actions as Whack-a-mole without a plan, spurring a representative of the hacktivist group to issue a video reply setting the record straight.
A month ago hacker collective Anonymous vowed to go after terrorists, and shortly afterwards took down its first target, ansar-alhaqq.net.
That was just the first shot in Anonymous’ war on terror and the hacktivists have been actively targeting Islamic State-related Twitter and Facebook accounts to reduce the terrorist group’s ability to spread its message online.
The other day I wrote about hacker collective Anonymous, covering its war on Lizard Squad and its vow to now go after terrorists. This isn't the slippery slope that some may think it is. The group isn't attacking Islam, it is targeting the extremists responsible for the murders of people. That clarification makes it hard to not be behind them. After all, entire governments have been doing this in a less technological way.
Those promised threats are now no longer just promises. Anonymous has taken down its first target -- ansar-alhaqq.net (we aren't linking to them), rendering the site, which was deemed a terrorist hive back in 2013, completely inaccessible. Reaching the site is now impossible as the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) targeting of it is well underway.
Despite its unwavering popularity, Facebook continually finds itself under fire for one thing or another. We've had debate about the social network's real names policy, a raft of people thinking they can rewrite the rules, advertising woes, and constant complaints when changes are made to how timelines operate. But one thing crops up time and time again -- people's desire for privacy.
This may seem rather at odds with use of a social network (there's a clue in the name there), but a new contender thinks it has the answer. Social X describes itself as a social platform where users can set up numerous identities, including an anonymous one. There's one problem -- Facebook credentials are used to sign into Social X, and this is undeniably going to be a massive stumbling block.
This is a story I never thought I'd write. After all, while we're all for finding and fixing flaws in systems, hacking goes a bit against our principals. Well, certain kinds of it at any rate, there's a debate there that I will not be starting as it becomes complex in a hurry. One of the most notorious groups known is Anonymous, those folks in the Guy Fawkes masks. You've likely seem them around if you look at news of the tech slant.
The thing is, lately the news coming from them isn't too scary -- well depending on who you are. The organization has been active and a couple of groups of people certainly should be scared, as Anonymous is not to be taken lightly when it comes to a fight or attack.
Kickstarter projects are ten a penny these days, as startup after startup vies for attention and financing. While many projects fall by the wayside, just a handful come to fruition and one of the latest is a handy USB dongle that allows for secure, anonymous web browsing. In just 45 days the campaign reached its target of $60,000, meaning that larger scale production can now go ahead on the line of security-focused USB sticks.
Webcloak is designed as an alternative to the likes of Tor, offering users a secure, self-contained browsing environment. This not only helps to keep browsing anonymous, but also protects against the threat of viruses, and its blend of hardware, encryption and "secure access" software has been designed with ease of use in mind.
Lizard Squad, the group believed to be behind the Christmas DDoS attacks on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network now has a new target -- Tor. Just a week ago, the leader of the Tor Project, Roger Dingledine, warned that the anonymizing network could come under attack, and now it seems as though his prediction was correct.
War has already been declared on Lizard Squad by Anonymous, but this does not seem to have been enough to deter the group from its attacks. Reports suggest that more than 3,000 Tor relays have been compromised, and there are fears that this could impact the anonymity Tor was designed to offer.
Hacker outfit Lizard Squad was seemingly responsible for the misery of thousands of gamers this Christmas after a series of DDoS attacks were launched on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Mega's Kim Dotcom stepped into the breach and was seemingly -- temporarily -- successful in negotiating with the group and getting them to stop the attacks.
While the gaming networks appear to have come back online for some, this is not enough for Anonymous -- yes, that Anonymous. The international activist group has declared war on Lizard Squad, saying that the hackers have "made an enemy" and warning that "now you are all going down".
Roger Dingledine, leader of the Tor Project, has warned it could be the subject of an attack this week. In a blog post, he cautioned users that the project had learned that directory authorities might be seized in an attempt to incapacitate the network. Dingledine does not hint at who might be responsible for a future attack, but reassured users that anonymity would be maintained.
Directory authorities are used by Tor clients to help route traffic through the network, ensuring that users remains anonymous at each stage. An attack on directory authorities would probably have little effect to start with, but there is potential to take down the network if enough servers were targeted.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack is no different from someone repeatedly tapping F5 in their web browser, at least accordingly to loose hacktivist collective Anonymous. The group (or someone claiming to be affiliated with it at least) has added a petition to the White House's We the People website, asking the US government to recognize DDoS as a legal form of protesting, and comparing it to the international "occupy" movement.
The petition also calls for the immediate release of those who have been jailed for DDoS attacks, and for their records to be cleared.
Over the long weekend I saw McAfee had predicted that the threat from Anonymous would decline in the new year. The group apparently disagrees and has posted a video boasting of its accomplishments in 2012 and stating emphatically: "We are still here".
The two minute and twenty second video, posted to YouTube, lays out a rather lengthy list of past endeavors including attacks on government websites in the United States, Syria and Israel, as well as on groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America and the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.