Anonymous WikiPedia

Anonymous (group)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many on-line community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitizedglobal brain.[1] It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.[2]

In its early form, the concept has been adopted by a decentralized on-line community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually toward a loosely self-agreed goal, and primarily focused on entertainment. Beginning with 2008, the Anonymous collective has become increasingly associated with collaborative, international hacktivism, undertaking protests and other actions, often with the goal of promoting internet freedom and freedom of speech. Actions credited to “Anonymous” are undertaken by unidentified individuals who apply the Anonymous label to themselves as attribution.[3]

Although not necessarily tied to a single on-line entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chan and Futaba, their associated wikis,Encyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums.[4] After a series of controversial, widely-publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased.[5] In consideration of its capabilities, Anonymous has been posited by CNN to be one of the 3 major successors to WikiLeaks.[6]


Origins as a concept and a meme

An anonymous figure cosplays as Anonymous. Photographed at ROFLcon on April 26, 2008



The name Anonymous itself is inspired by the perceived anonymity under which users post images and comments on the Internet. Usage of the term Anonymous in the sense of a shared identity began onimageboards. A tag of Anonymous is assigned to visitors who leave comments without identifying the originator of the posted content. Users of imageboards sometimes jokingly acted as if Anonymous were a real person. As the popularity of imageboards increased, the idea of Anonymous as a collective of unnamed individuals became an internet meme.[7]

Anonymous broadly represents the concept of any and all people as an unnamed collective. As a multiple-use name, individuals who share in the “Anonymous” moniker also adopt a shared online identity, characterized as hedonistic and uninhibited. This is intended as a satirical, conscious adoption of the online disinhibition effect.[8]

Definitions tend to emphasize the fact that the concept, and by extension the collective of users, cannot be readily encompassed by a simple definition. Instead it is often defined by aphorisms describing perceived qualities.[1]

Iconography and aesthetics

As a cyberculture, Anonymous aesthetics are based in various forms of shock humour, including genres of cringesurreal, and black comedy.[8]

Online composition

Anonymous consists largely of users from multiple imageboards and Internet forums. In addition, several wikis and Internet Relay Chat networks are maintained to overcome the limitations of traditional imageboards. These modes of communication are the means by which Anonymous protesters participating in Project Chanology communicate and organize upcoming protests.[9][10]

A “loose coalition of Internet denizens,”[11] the group is banded together by the Internet, through sites such as 4chan,[9][11] 711chan,[9] Encyclopædia Dramatica,[12]IRC channels,[9] and YouTube.[2] Social networking services, such as Facebook, are used for the creation of groups which reach out to people to mobilize in real-world protests.[13]

Anonymous has no leader or controlling party, and relies on the collective power of its individual participants acting in such a way that the net effect benefits the group.[11] “Anyone who wants to can be Anonymous and work toward a set of goals…” a member of Anonymous explained to the Baltimore City Paper. “We have this agenda that we all agree on and we all coordinate and act, but all act independently toward it, without any want for recognition. We just want to get something that we feel is important done…” [1]


According to self-ascribed members of Anonymous, membership is conditional but easily achieved, being as simple as concealing oneself while performing online activities. Conversely, the simple act of having ones identity revealed automatically removes oneself from the group.[8] Several members or former members have been interviewed or become noted for their own participation in certain Anonymous activities.

Commander X & the Peoples Liberation Front

In 2011, an elusive hacker known by the alias “Commander X” was at the center of an investigation into Anonymous by Arron Barr. Interviewed following the attack on HBGary Federal, Commander X revealed that while Barr suspected that he was a leader of the group, he was in his own words a “peon”. However, Commander X did claim to be a skilled hacker and founding member of an allied organization, the Peoples Liberation Front (PLF), a collective of hactivists founded in 1985. According to Commander X, Peoples Liberation Front acted with AnonOps, another sub-group of Anonymous, to carry out denial-of-service attacks against government websites in Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, and Bahrain. Asked about the demographics of Anonymous, Commander X indicated that the common conception of Anonymous as a youth group is a misconception. “The popular impression is….skewed. There are older people, from the direction of the Chaos Computer Club – that can if needed rein in the “kids” who appear to dominate Anon Ops.” Explaining the relationship between Anonymous and the PLF, he suggested an analogy to NATO, with the PLF being a smaller sub-group that could choose to opt-in or out of a specific project. “Anon Ops and the PLF are both capable of creating huge “Internet armies”. The main difference is Anon Ops moves with huge force, but very slowly because of their decision making process. The PLF moves with great speed, like a scalpel.”[14]


The activities in this section were attributed to Anonymous either by their perpetrators or in the media. The actions taken by Anonymous do not seem to follow any single shared agenda. Those identifying with the term often take action simply for amusement. This is known within sites affiliated with Anonymous as “doing it for the lulz.”

Habbo raids

A popular target for organized raids by Anonymous is Habbo, a popular social networking site designed as a virtual hotel. The first major raid is known as the “Great Habbo Raid of ’06,” and a subsequent raid the following year is known as the “Great Habbo Raid of ’07.”[15] The raid actually predates and was not inspired by the news of an Alabama amusement park banning a two-year-old toddler affected by AIDS from entering the park’s swimming pool.[16] Users signed up to the Habbo site dressed in avatars of a black man wearing a grey suit and an Afro hairstyle and blocked entry to the pool, declaring that it was “closed due to AIDS,”[15][17] flooding the site with internet sayings,[17] and forming swastika-like formations.[17] When the raiders were banned, they complained of racism.[17] In response, the Habbo admins often ban users with avatars matching the profile of the raiders even months after the latest raid.[citation needed]

Hal Turner raid

According to white supremacist radio host Hal Turner, in December 2006 and January 2007 individuals who identified themselves as Anonymous took Turner’s website offline, costing him thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills. As a result, Turner sued4chaneBaum’s World, 7chan, and other websites for copyright infringement. He lost his plea for an injunction, however, and failed to receive letters from the court, which caused the lawsuit to lapse.[18]

Chris Forcand arrest

On December 7, 2007, the Canada-based Toronto Sun newspaper published a report on the arrest of the alleged Internet predator Chris Forcand.[19] Forcand, 53, was charged with two counts of luring a child under the age of 14, attempt to invite sexual touching, attempted exposure, possessing a dangerous weapon, and carrying a concealed weapon.[20] The report stated that Forcand was already being tracked by “cyber-vigilantes who seek to out anyone who presents with a sexual interest in children” before police investigations commenced.[19]

Global Television Network report identified the group responsible for Forcand’s arrest as a “self-described Internet vigilante group called Anonymous” who contacted the police after some members were “propositioned” by Forcand with “disgusting photos of himself.” The report also stated that this is the first time a suspected Internet predator was arrested by the police as a result of Internet vigilantism.[21]

Project Chanology

Protest by Anonymous against the practices and tax status of the Church of Scientology.



The group gained worldwide press for Project Chanology, the protest against the Church of Scientology.[22]

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube.[23][24][25] The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video.[26] In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology.[27][28][29][30] Calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship, members of Project Chanology organized a series of denial-of-service attacks against Scientology websites, prank calls, and black faxes to Scientology centers.[31]

Message to Scientology.ogv
Play video


“Message to Scientology”, January 21, 2008



On January 21, 2008, individuals claiming to speak for Anonymous announced their goals and intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled “Message to Scientology,” and a press release declaring a “War on Scientology” against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center.[30][32][33] In the press release, the group states that the attacks against the Church of Scientology will continue in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, and end what they believe to be the financial exploitation of church members.[34] A new video “Call to Action” appeared on YouTube on January 28, 2008, calling for protests outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008.[35][36] On February 2, 2008, 150 people gathered outside of a Church of Scientology center in Orlando, Florida to protest the organization’s practices.[37][38][39][40] Small protests were also held in Santa Barbara, California,[41] and Manchester, England.[38][42] On February 10, 2008, about 7000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide.[43][44] Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta (who in turn was influenced by Guy Fawkes), or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church.[45][46]

Anonymous held a second wave of protests on March 15, 2008 in cities all over the world, including Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, and Dublin. The global turnout was estimated to be “between 7000 and 8000,” a number similar to that of the first wave.[47] The third wave of the protests took place on April 12, 2008.[48][49] Named “Operation Reconnect,” it aimed to increase awareness of the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy.[23]

On October 17, 2008, an 18-year-old from New Jersey described himself as a member of Anonymous, and he stated that he would plead guilty to involvement in the January 2008 DDoS attacks against Church of Scientology websites.[50]

On December 2, 2009, Anonymous held a competition, “Scientology Sucks: A Contest”, and asked the contestants to carry out (legal) pranks on the Church of Scientology and offered $1000, $300 and $75 (initially $400, $100 and $50) from donation money for the top three entries.[51] The contest was won by a user who called himself MalcontentNazi for his video Scientology’s Secret Nazi Ties in which he dressed as a Nazi and stood in front of a Scientology church and praised the church and consequently made a prank call to the church asking them why they were not able to pull the guy, who dressed himself as a Nazi and made fun of them, off the streets.[52]

Protests continued, and took advantage of media events such as the premiere of the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie, where the venue was chosen in part to reduce exposure to the protests.[53]

Epilepsy Foundation forum invasion

On March 28, 2008, Wired News reported that “Internet griefers“—a slang term for people whose only interests are in harassing others[54]—assaulted an epilepsy support forum run by the Epilepsy Foundation of America.[55] JavaScript code and flashing computer animations were posted with the intention of triggering migraine headaches and seizures in photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics.[55] According to Wired News, circumstantial evidence suggested that the attack was perpetrated by Anonymous users, with the initial attack posts on the epilepsy forum blaming eBaum’s World. Members of the epilepsy forum claimed they had found a thread in which the attack was being planned at, an imageboard that has been described as a stronghold for Anonymous. The thread, like all old threads eventually do on these types of imageboards, has since cycled to deletion.[55]

RealTechNews[unreliable source?] reported that the forum at the United Kingdom-based National Society for Epilepsy was also subjected to an identical attack. It stated that “apparent members of Anonymous” had denied responsibility for both attacks and posted that it had been the Church of Scientology who carried them out.[56] reported that the administrators of had posted an open letter claiming that the attacks had been carried out by the Church of Scientology “to ruin the public opinion of Anonymous, to lessen the effect of the lawful protests against their virulent organization” under the Church’s fair game policy.[54] The Tech Herald[unreliable source?] reported that when the attack began, posts referenced multiple groups, including Anonymous. The report attributes the attack to a group named “The Internet Hate Machine” (a reference to the KTTV Fox 11 news report), who claim to be part of Anonymous, but are not the same faction that are involved in the campaign against Scientology.[57]

Some Anonymous participants of Project Chanology suggest that the perpetrators are Internet users who merely remained anonymous in the literal sense, and thus had no affiliation with the larger anti-Scientology efforts attributed to Anonymous.[57] During an interview with CNN, Scientologist Tommy Davis accused Anonymous of hacking into the Epilepsy Foundation website to make it display imagery intended to cause epileptic seizures. Interviewer John Roberts contended the FBI said that it “found nothing to connect this group Anonymous (with these actions),” and that it also has “no reason to believe that these charges will be leveled against this group.”[58] The response was that the matter was on the hands of local law enforcement and that there were ongoing investigations.[58]

Defacement of SOHH and AllHipHop websites

The second in a series of five defaced SOHH banners and headline feeders, vandalized by hackers.



In late June 2008, users who identified themselves as Anonymous claimed responsibility for a series of attacks against the SOHH (Support Online Hip Hop) website.[59] The attack was reported to have begun in retaliation for insults made by members of SOHH’s “Just Bugging Out” forum against ebaumsworld users. The attack against the website took place in stages, as Anonymous users flooded the SOHH forums, which were then shut down. On June 23, 2008, the group which identified themselves as Anonymous organized DDOS attacks against the website, successfully eliminating 60% of the website’s service capacity. On June 27, 2008, the hackers utilized cross-site scripting to deface the website’s main page with satirical images and headlines referencing numerous racial stereotypes and slurs, and also successfully stole information from SOHH employees.[60]

Following the defacement, the website was shut down by its administration. AllHipHop, an unrelated website, also had its forum raided. By the evening of June 27, 2008 was back online and released an official statement in which it referred to the perpetrators as “cyber terrorists” and announced that it would cooperate with SOHH “…to ensure the capture of these criminals and prevention of repeat offenses.” On June 30, 2008 SOHH placed an official statement regarding the attack on its main page. The statement alleged that the attackers were “specifically targeting Black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish youth who ascribe to hip-hop culture,” and listed several hip hop oriented websites which it claimed were also attacked by the hackers. It concluded with a notice that it would be cooperating with the FBI.[59]

When interviewed, Felicia Palmer, co-founder of SOHH, confirmed that an FBI probe was ongoing, and that each time the website was attacked, data on the suspects was retrieved. Palmer indicated that some of the attackers were “located within the United States, between the ages of 16-21″ and that a few of them were based in Waco, Texas. Initially under the impression that the hackers were pranksters, she came to believe they were “beyond pranksters” and the attack was racist in nature.[60]

No Cussing Club

In January 2009 members of Anonymous targeted California teen McKay Hatch who runs the No Cussing Club, a website against profanity.[61][62] As Hatch’s home address, phone number, and other personal information were leaked on-line, his family has received a lot of hate mail, lots of obscene phone calls, and even bogus pizza and pornography deliveries.[63]

YouTube porn day

On May 20, 2009, members of Anonymous uploaded numerous pornographic videos onto YouTube.[64] Many of these videos were disguised as children’s videos or family friendly videos with tags such as “Jonas brothers.”[64] YouTube has since removed all videos uploaded. The BBC contacted one of the uploaders who stated that it was a “4chan raid” organized due to the removal of music videos from YouTube.[65] BBC News reported that one victim posted a comment saying: “I’m 12 years old and what is this?”[65] which went on to become an internet meme.

2009 Iranian election protests

Front page of The Pirate Bay, June 20, 2009. Anonymous, together with The Pirate Bay, launched an Iranian Green Party Support site.[66]



Following allegations of vote rigging after the results of the June 2009 Iranian presidential election were announced, declaring Iran‘s incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner, thousands of Iranians participated in demonstrations. Anonymous, together with The Pirate Bay and various Iranian hackers, launched an Iranian Green Party Support site called Anonymous Iran.[66] The site has drawn over 22,000 supporters world wide and allows for information exchange between the world and Iran, despite attempts by the Iranian government to censor news about the riots on the internet. The site provides resources and support to Iranians who are protesting.[67][68]

Operation Didgeridie

In September 2009 the group reawakened “in order to protect civil rights” after several governments began to block access to its imageboards. The blacklisting of in Germany infuriated many, but the tipping point was the Australian government’s plans for ISP-level censorship of the internet. The policy was spearheaded by Stephen Conroy and had been driven aggressively[69] by the Rudd Government since its election in 2007.

Early in the evening of September 9, Anonymous took down the prime minister’s website with a distributed denial-of-service attack. The site was taken offline for approximately one hour.[70] On the morning of February 10, 2010, Anonymous launched a more prepared attack codenamed “Operation Titstorm.” It defaced the prime minister’s website, took down the Australian Parliament House website for three days and nearly managed to take down the Department of Communications‘ website.[71] The Australian newspaper later reported that neither attack was considered a serious crime by information security consultants, who suggested they only had an impact because the government “knew the [second] attack was coming but was unable to stop it.”[72] A cover story in Security Solutions magazine said that “[s]uch attacks should not be considered cyberterrorism to ensure its meaning is not diluted.”[73]

Operation Titstorm

Occurred from 8 am, February 10, 2010 as a protest against the Australian Government over the forthcoming internet filtering legislation and the perceived censorship in pornography of small-breasted women (who are perceived to be under age) and female ejaculation. The protest consisted of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) on Australian Government websites. The Australian anti-censorship groups complained that the attack only hurts their cause, and Australian government members dismissed the attack and said that they would just restore the service when the attack finished.[74][75] Analysis of the attacks cited their peak bandwidth at under 17Mbit, a figure considered small when compared with other DDoS attacks.[76]

Operation Payback and Operation Avenge Assange

Anonymous release their flyers and press release in the public domain



In 2010, several Bollywood companies hired Aiplex Software to launch DDoS attacks on websites that did not respond to software takedown notices.[77] Piracy activists then created Operation Payback in September 2010 in retaliation.[77] The original plan was to attack Aiplex Software directly, but upon finding some hours before the planned DDoS that another individual had taken down the firm’s website on their own, Operation Payback moved to launching attacks against the websites of copyright stringent organizations, law firms and other websites.[78] This grew into multiple DDoS attacks against anti-piracy groups and law firms.

In December 2010, the document archive website WikiLeaks (used by whistleblowers) came under intense pressure to stop publishing secret United States diplomatic cables. In response, Anonymous announced its support for WikiLeaks,[79][80] and Operation Payback changed its focus to support WikiLeaks and launched DDoS attacks against AmazonPayPalMasterCardVisa and the Swiss bank PostFinance, in retaliation for perceived anti-WikiLeaks behavior. This second front in the December offensive was performed under the codename Operation Avenge Assange.[81][82][83][84][85][86] Due to the attacks, both MasterCard and Visa’s websites were brought down on December 8.[87][88] A threat researcher at PandaLabs said Anonymous also launched an attack which brought down the Swedish prosecutor’s website when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London and refused bail in relation to extradition to Sweden.[89]

Operation Leakspin

Operation: Leakspin was conceived by the Anonymous group, with the purpose of sorting through recent WikiLeaks releases and raise awareness of potentially important and previously overlooked cables.


The websites of the government of Zimbabwe were targeted by Anonymous due to censorship of the WikiLeaks documents.[90]

Operation Tunisia

The websites of the government of Tunisia were targeted by Anonymous due to censorship of the WikiLeaks documents and the ongoing 2010–2011 Tunisian protests.[91] Tunisians were reported to be assisting in these denial-of-service attacks launched by Anonymous.[92] Anonymous’s role in the DDoS attacks on the Tunisian government’s websites have led to an upsurge of internet activism among Tunisians against the government.[93] A figure associated with Anonymous released an online message denouncing the government clampdown on recent protests and posted it on the Tunisian government website[94] Anonymous has named their attacks as “Operation Tunisia”.[95] Anonymous successfully performed DDoS attackson eight Tunisian government websites. Anonymous’s website suffered a DDoS attack on January 5.[96]

Attack on Fine Gael website

The website for the Irish political party Fine Gael, a centre right party and currently the Republic of Ireland‘s largest opposition party, was hacked by Anonymous according to[97] The site was replaced with a page showing the Anonymous logo along with the words “Nothing is safe, you put your faith in this political party and they take no measures to protect you. They offer you free speech yet they censor your voice. WAKE UP! <owned by Raepsauce and Palladium>”.

2011 Egypt protests

The websites of Egypt‘s Ministry of Information and President Hosni Mubarak‘s National Democratic Party were knocked offline by Anonymous in support of protesters calling for Mubarak’s ouster during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.[98]

Attack on HBGary Federal

On the weekend of 5–6 February 2011, Aaron Barr, the chief executive of the security firm HBGary Federal, announced that his firm had successfully infiltrated the Anonymous group, and although he would not hand over details to the police, he would reveal his findings at a later conference in San Francisco. In retaliation for Aaron Barr’s claims, members of the group Anonymous hacked the website of HBGary Federal and replaced the welcome page with a message stating that Anonymous should not be messed with, and that the hacking of the website was necessary to defend itself. Using a variety of techniques, including social engineering and SQL injection,[100] Anonymous also went on to take control of the company’s e-mail, dumping 68,000 e-mails from the system, erasing files, and taking down their phone system.[101]

Among the documents exposed was a PowerPoint presentation entitled “The Wikileaks Threat,” put together by HBGary Federal along with two other data intelligence firms for Bank of America in December.[102] Within the report, these firms created a list of important contributors to WikiLeaks; they further developed a strategic plan of attack against the site. As TechHerald explains, “the plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.” The report specifically claims that Glenn Greenwald’s support was key to WikiLeaks ongoing survival.[103][104][105]

Anonymous also personally attacked Aaron Barr by taking control of his Twitter account, posting Mr Barr’s supposed home address and social security number.[106]

In response to the attacks, founder of HBGary Federal, Greg Hoglund, responded to journalist Brian Krebs, “They didn’t just pick on any company, we try to protect the US Government from hackers. They couldn’t have chosen a worse company to pick on.”[106] After the attacks, Anonymous continued to clog up HBGary Federal fax machines, and made threatening phone calls.[107]

Purported threat against the Westboro Baptist Church

WBC taunts Anonymous



On February 16, 2011, the group supposedly wrote an open letter to the Westboro Baptist Church, stating: “Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011 … close your public Web sites. Should you ignore this warning … the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover.[108][109][110] On February 19, 2011, the church responded, telling Anonymous to “bring it on” and calling them, among other things, “a puddle of pimple-faced nerds.”[111][112][113] Anonymous subsequently questioned the authenticity of the threat, suggesting that someone from outside Anonymous made the posting.[113][114][115] Due to their website being openly editable by anyone, it is unknown who made the post at this time. Anonymous responded with a press release calling the Westboro Church “professional trolls” stating that they believe that it was a member of the Westboro Church making an attempt to provoke an attack, thus acting as a honeypot which would both allow the church to retaliate against Internet service providers in court, and to gain it further publicity.[113][116] They also claimed that they had more pressing matters to attend to, namely the support of the 2011 Libyan protests.[117] That said, Anonymous later suggested tactics for those who wished to attack Westboro nevertheless, avoiding DDoS in favor of sending “prostitutes, preferably male,” and in general to “rape their asses in the most unpredictable ways possible.”[116]

Anonymous also indicated that an attack would be self-defeating stating: “When Anonymous says we support free speech, we mean it. We count Beatrice Hallamong our Anonymous forebears: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’”[118] Nonetheless, Westboro’s website suffered an attack.[119][120][121]

2011 Wisconsin protests

On February 27, 2011, Anonymous announced a new attack on Koch Industries[122] as a response to the Wisconsin protests. Between 1997 and 2008, David and Charles Koch collectively gave more than $17 million to groups lobbying against unions;[123] the Kochs are one of (Republican) Governor Walker’s largest corporate supporters..[124] Anonymous accused the brothers of attempting “to usurp American Democracy” and called for a boycott of all Koch Industries products.[125][126]

Reception and impact

KTTV Fox 11 news report

KTTV Fox 11 investigative report on Anonymous.



On July 26, 2007, KTTV Fox 11 News, based in Los Angeles, California, aired a report on Anonymous, calling them a group of “hackers on steroids,” “domestic terrorists,” and collectively an “Internet hate machine.” The report covered an attack on a Myspace user, who claimed to have had his Myspace account “hacked” into seven times by Anonymous, and plastered with images of gay pornography. The Myspace user also claimed a virus written by Anonymous hackers was sent to him and to ninety friends on his Myspace contact list, crashing thirty-two of his friends’ computers. The report featured an unnamed former “hacker” who had fallen out with Anonymous and explained his view of the Anonymous culture. In addition, the report also mentioned “raids” on Habbo, a “national campaign to spoil the new Harry Potter bookending,” and threats to “bomb sports stadiums.”[5][127]

The day following the KTTV report, Wired News blogger and journalist Ryan Singel derided the report, stating that the “hacker group” in fact consisted of “supremely bored 15-year olds,” and that the news report was “by far the funniest prank anyone on the board has ever pulled off.”[128] In February 2008, an Australia-based Today Tonight broadcast included a segment of the KTTV report, preceded by the statement: “TheChurch of Scientology has ramped up the offensive against Anonymous, accusing the group of religious bigotry and claiming they are sick, twisted souls.”[129]

Search Engine subject of focus

In January 2008, Search Engine, a Canadian radio show published by CBC Radio One, began reporting on Project Chanology. Host Jesse Brown called Anonymous “clowns,” citing their lack of coordination, vulgar humor, and pack mentality, and invited them to confront him in person. On February 7, two members of Anonymous appeared on the show, explaining the nature of the group and the genuine criticism they held for Scientology.[8] After Anonymous held a protest in front of Scientology compounds around the world on February 10, 2008, Brown admitted that they had “proved me wrong.”[130]

The nature of the protest was unprecedented – picketers wore masks and refused to divulge names – and sparked a follow-up discussion on the show about journalistic standards for source protection, and the meaning of identity. Brown brought the issue to his own workplace, interviewing CBC‘s president Hubert Lacroix in reaction to a conflict between him and an anonymous critic who went by the handle “Ouimet.”[8]

See also






A flag conveying symbolism associated with Anonymous.

Individuals appearing in public as Anonymous, wearing the Guy Fawkes masks popularized by the comic book and film V for Vendetta, Los Angeles, February 2008
Motto Various ascribed including:
“Anonymous is legion. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget.”
“The Internet is Serious Business”[1]
Formation 2003-2004
Type Internet meme;
Multiple-use name/avatar;
Virtual community;
Voluntary association
Purpose/focus Entertainment;
Internet activism;
Internet trolling;
Internet vigilantism
Region served Global
Membership Decentralized affinity group



We [Anonymous] just happen to be a group of people on the internet who need — just kind of an outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn’t be able to do in regular society. …That’s more or less the point of it. Do as you wish. … There’s a common phrase: ‘we are doing it for the lulz.’

—Trent Peacock. Search Engine: The face of Anonymous, February 7, 2008.[8]

[Anonymous is] the first Internet-based superconsciousness. Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they’re travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.

—Chris Landers. Baltimore City Paper, April 2, 2008.[1]

One man, who calls himself Owen, says his Anonymous colleagues broke into the company’s servers. Hackers have a name for what they did. “They decided to just rape his servers and take all the information they wanted,” he says. “Forgive that term … ‘Rape’ is an Internet term, you know, as to go in and take everything out of somebody’s server.” Whatever the term, it was not a nice thing that Anonymous did to HBGary Federal. But now that the company’s e-mails are out, it appears it was also willing to do some not-nice things.
E-Mails Hacked By ‘Anonymous’ Raise ConcernsNPR[99]
“Our best guess is that you heard about us on that newfangled TV of yours and thought we might be some good money for your little church.”
—Anonymous response to the Westboro issue[115]
Computer security portal
Community portal
Internet portal
Politics portal
Social movements portal
Sociology portal


Memetic persona


  1. a b c d e Landers, Chris (April 2, 2008). “Serious Business: Anonymous Takes On Scientology (and Doesn’t Afraid of Anything)”Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  2. a b Jessica Parral, James Clark (February 2, 2008).“Internet Group Takes Action Against Scientology”City on a Hill Press (student newspaper) (University of California, Santa Cruz). Retrieved February 21, 2008.
  3. ^ Davies, Shaun (May 8, 2008). “The internet pranksters who started a war”ninemsn. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  4. ^ Cade Metz (May 14, 2008). “Google kills Anonymous AdSense account”The Register.
  5. a b Tsotsis, Alexia (February 4, 2009). “My Date with Anonymous: A Rare Interview with the Elusive Internet Troublemakers”LA Weekly. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Whipple, Tom (June 20, 2008). “Scientology: the Anonymous protestors.”The Times (London).
  8. a b c d e f Brown, Jesse (February 7, 2008). “Community Organization with Digital Tools: The face of Anonymous”.MediaShift Idea Lab: Reinventing Community News for the Digital Age (PBS). Archived from the original on Feb 11, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2008.
  9. a b c d George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). “Online group declares war on Scientology”National Post(Canwest Publishing Inc.). Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  10. ^ Ryan Singel (January 23, 2008). “War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology – There Can Be Only One”Wired News (CondéNet, Inc.). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  11. a b c James Harrison (February 12, 2008). “Scientology protestors take action around world”The State News(student newspaper) (Michigan State University). Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  12. ^ Davies, Shaun (May 8, 2008). “Critics point finger at satirical website”National Nine News.
  13. ^ Dahdah, Howard (February 8, 2008). Anonymous’ group declares online war on Scientology”Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management (IDG Communications). Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  14. ^ Tynan, Dan (February 18, 2011). “A conversation with Commander X”ITworld.comIDG.
  15. a b “Net users insist ‘racist’ sign is joke”KENS-TV.
  16. ^ “HIV-Positive Toddler Banned From Pool”AolNews.
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  20. ^ Constable George Schuurman, Public Information, for Detective Constable Janelle Blackadar, Sex Crimes Unit (December 6, 2007). “Man facing six charges in Child Exploitation investigation, Photograph released, Chris Forcand, 53″. News Release (Toronto Police Service).
  21. ^ Gus Kim (reporter) (December 8, 2007). “Internet Justice?”. Global News (CanWest Global Communications).
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  24. ^ Warne, Dan (January 24, 2008). “Anonymous threatens to “dismantle” Church of Scientology via internet”APC Magazine (National Nine News). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  25. ^ KNBC Staff (January 24, 2008). “Hacker Group Declares War On Scientology: Group Upset Over Church’s Handling Of Tom Cruise Video”KNBC. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  26. ^ Vamosi, Robert (January 24, 2008). “Anonymous hackers take on the Church of Scientology”CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  27. ^ George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). “Online group declares war on Scientology”National Post (Canwest Publishing Inc.). Archived from the original on January 28, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  28. ^ Singel, Ryan (January 23, 2008). “War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology – There Can Be Only One”Wired (CondéNet, Inc.). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  29. ^ Feran, Tom (January 24, 2008). “Where to find the Tom Cruise Scientology videos online, if they’re still posted”.The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  30. a b Chan Enterprises (January 21, 2008). “Internet Group Declares “War on Scientology”: Anonymous are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center” (PDF). Press Release (PRLog.Org). Retrieved January 25, 2008.
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  32. ^ Thomas, Nicki (January 25, 2008). “Scientology and the internet: Internet hackers attack the church”Edmonton Sun (Sun Media). Retrieved January 25, 2008.[dead link]
  33. ^ Dodd, Gareth (Ed.); Agencies (January 25, 2008).“Anonymous hackers vow to “dismantle” Scientology”.Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  34. ^ Brandon, Mikhail (January 28, 2008). “Scientology in the Crosshairs”The Emory Wheel (Emory University). Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  35. ^ Feran, Tom (January 31, 2008). “The group Anonymous calls for protests outside Scientology centers – New on the Net”The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). Retrieved February 4, 2008.
  36. ^ Vamosi, Robert (January 28, 2008). “Anonymous names February 10 as its day of action against Scientology”.CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  37. ^ Braiker, Brian (February 8, 2008). “The Passion of ‘Anonymous’: A shadowy, loose-knit consortium of activists and hackers called ‘Anonymous’ is just the latest thorn in Scientology’s side”Newsweek (Newsweek, Inc.): Technology: Newsweek Web Exclusive. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
  38. a b Barkham, Patrick (February 4, 2008). “Hackers declare war on Scientologists amid claims of heavy-handed Cruise control”The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved February 3, 2008.
  39. ^ Staff (February 3, 2008). “Group Lines Road To Protest Church Of Scientology”WKMG-TV (Internet Broadcasting Systems and Retrieved February 3, 2008.
  40. ^ Eckinger, Helen; Gabrielle Finley, Katherine Norris (February 3, 2008). “Anti-Scientology group has protest rally”. Orlando Sentinel.
  41. ^ Standifer, Tom (February 4, 2008). “Masked Demonstrators Protest Against Church of Scientology”.Daily Nexus (University of California, Santa Barbara): Issue 69, Volume 88. Retrieved February 4, 2008.[dead link]
  42. ^ Eber, Hailey (February 4, 2008). “Anti-Scientologists Warm Up for February 10″Radar Online (Radar Magazine). Retrieved February 4, 2008.
  43. ^ Carlos Moncada (February 12, 2008). “Organizers Tout Scientology Protest, Plan Another” Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  44. ^ Andrew Ramadge (February 14, 2008). “Scientology protest surge crashes websites” (News Limited). Retrieved February 14, 2008.[dead link]
  45. ^ Harrison, James (The State News) (February 12, 2008).“Scientology protestors take action around world”. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  46. ^ Forrester, John (February 11, 2008). “Dozens of masked protesters blast Scientology church”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  47. ^ Andrew Ramadge (March 17, 2008). “Second round of Anonymous v Scientology” (News Limited). Retrieved March 17, 2008.
  48. ^ Davies, Shaun (March 20, 2008). “Scientology strikes back in information war”National Nine News (ninemsn). Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  49. ^ Andrew Ramadge (March 20, 2008). “Scientology site gets a facelift after protests” (News Limited). Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  50. ^ Staff (October 17, 2008). “Teenage hacker admits Scientology cyber-attack”Agence France-Presse. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
  51. ^ “” (December 2, 2009). “Scientology Sucks: A Contest”. YouTube. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  52. ^
  53. ^ Courtney Hazlett (December 15, 2008). “Group bungles protest at ‘Valkyrie’ premiere” Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  54. a b Andrew Ramadge (April 1, 2008). “Anonymous attack targets epilepsy sufferers” (News Corporation). Retrieved April 1, 2008.
  55. a b c Kevin Poulsen (March 28, 2008). “Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer”Wired News (Condé Nast Publications). Retrieved April 1, 2008.
  56. ^ Michael Santo (March 29, 2008). “Hackers Attack Epilepsy Forum; Cause Headaches, Seizures”.RealTechNews (Underground Networks). Retrieved April 1, 2008.
  57. a b Steve Ragan (March 31, 2008). “Targeted physical attack takes aim at Epilepsy”. The Tech Herald. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  58. a b Scientology vs Anonymous, Critics take it to the web. CNN. Event occurs at 0:50–1:38. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  59. a b Reid, Shaheem (2008-06-30). “Hip-Hop Sites Hacked By Apparent Hate Group; SOHH, AllHipHop Temporarily Suspend Access” MTV Networks. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  60. a b Chideya, Farai (2008-06-30). “Hip Hop Sites Attacked by Hate Groups”News & NotesNPR. Retrieved 2008-07-19. (Radio broadcast)
  61. ^ Rogers, John (January 15, 2009). “Teenage founder of No Cussing Club under siege”. Ventura County Star, The Associated Press. Retrieved January 21, 2009. “(…) a group calling itself Anonymous launched a viral No Cussing Sucks campaign across the Web.”
  62. ^ Potter, Ned (January 16, 2009). No-Cussing’ Club Attracts Followers – and Thousands of Hate Messages”.ABC News. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
  63. ^ Davies, Shaun (January 18, 2009). No cussing’ teen faces net hate campaign”Nine News. Retrieved January 20, 2009. “Anonymous appears to be behind the attacks (…) Anonymous appears to be planning (…) [the earnestness of Hatch's campaign] may have drawn Anonymous’s ire.”
  64. a b Cheng, Jacqui; Ken Fisher (May 20, 2009). “4chan, eBaum’s World carpet bombing YouTube with porn videos” (in en). Ars Technica. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
  65. a b Pornographic videos flood YouTube Siobhan Courtney, BBC News dated May 21, 2009. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  66. a b
  67. ^ Jack Hawke Internet underground takes on Iran Thu Jun 18, 2009
  68. ^ Iranian Support Site
  69. ^ Turner, Adam (July 13, 2009). “Conroy named Internet Villain of the Year”The Sydney Morning Herald.
  70. ^ “Rudd website attacked in filter protest”ABC News. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  71. ^ See:
  72. ^ Neighbour, Sally (March 17, 2010). “Terror moves into the digital age”The Australian: A Plus section, p. 13. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  73. ^ Gifford, Nick; Raghu, Arun (May/June 2010). “Cyberterrorism: Are we there yet?”. Security Solutions (65): pp. 64–66, 68, 70, 72, 74.
  74. ^ Asher Moses (February 10, 2010). “Operation Titstorm: hackers bring down government websites”The Age.
  75. ^ Media Release – Attacks on government websites must be condemned. Stop Internet Censorship group. February 10, 2010.
  76. ^ John Leyden (February 11, 2010). “Aussie anti-censor attacks strafe gov websites: Operation Titstorm DDoS more of a bee sting”The Register.
  77. a b Leyden, John (September 22, 2010). “4chan launches DDoS against entertainment industry”The Register. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  78. ^ Correll, Sean-Paul (September 17, 2010). “4chan Users Organize Surgical Strike Against MPAA”Pandalabs Security. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  79. ^ “Hundreds of WikiLeaks Mirror Sites Appear”. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  80. ^
  81. ^ “Un grupo de hackers lanzó la “operación venganza” a favor del creador de WikiLeaks”. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  82. ^ Posted on 12/6/10 by Sean-Paul Correll (December 6, 2010). “Operation:Payback broadens to “Operation Avenge Assange” | PandaLabs Blog”. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  83. ^ “Hackers take down website of bank that froze WikiLeaks funds”. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  84. ^ “WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates”. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  85. ^ “ is down! And yes we are firing now!!! Keep firing!”. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  86. ^ “PayPal, PostFinance Hit by DoS Attacks, Counter-Attack in Progress”. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  87. ^ Associated Press (December 8, 2010) Hackers Strike Back to Support WikiLeaks Wall Street Journal
  88. ^ Adams, Richard (December 8, 2010). “The Guardian”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  89. ^ “Assange wanted by US for ‘espionage offences. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
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  91. ^ “Anonymous activists target Tunisian government sites”BBC. 4 January 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  92. ^ Evan Hill (03 Jan 2011). “Hackers hit Tunisian websites”ALJAZEERA. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  93. ^ Bilal Randeree (04 Jan 2011). “Violent clashes continue in Tunisia”ALJAZEERA. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  94. ^ Screenshot of the message
  95. ^ Ryan Rifai (04 Jan 2011). “Timeline: Tunisia’s civil unrest”ALJAZEERA. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  96. ^ Yasmine Ryan (06 Jan 2011). “Tunisia’s bitter cyberwar”ALJAZEERA. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  97. ^ Gavan Reilly (9 January 2010). “Fine Gael website defaced by Anonymous ‘hacktivists’” Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  98. ^ Ravi Somaiya (3 February 2011). “Hackers Shut Down Government Sites”. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  99. ^ Martin, Kaste (February 16, 2011). “E-Mails Hacked By ‘Anonymous’ Raise Concerns”NPR. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  100. ^
  101. ^
  102. ^ Lundin, Leigh (2011-02-20). “WikiLicks”Crime. Orlando: Criminal Brief. “CEO Aaron Barr thought he’d uncovered the hackers’ identities and like rats, they’d scurry for cover. If he could nail them, he could cover up the crimes H&W, HBGary, and BoA planned, bring down WikiLeaks, decapitate Anonymous, and place his opponents in prison while collecting a cool fee. He thought he was 88% right; he was 88% wrong.”
  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. a b
  107. ^ Fantz, Ashley (February 23, 2011). “Anonymous vows to take leaking to the next level”. CNN. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  108. ^
  109. ^ “Hackers warn Westboro Church: Stop now or else”. CBS. February 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  110. ^ Peter, Finocchiaro (Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 13:12 ET).“Anonymous warns Westboro Baptist Church to stop with the hate” (Salon). Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  111. ^
  112. ^ “Westboro Baptist Church targeted by Anonymous”. BBC. 21 February 2011 Last updated at 08:51 ET. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  113. a b c John, Leyden (21 February 2011). “Westboro Baptist Church taunts Anonymous over supposed attack plan God hates fags and ‘crybaby’ hackers”. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  114. ^ Message to the Westboro Baptist Church, the Media, and Anonymous as a whole
  115. a b Emma, Woollacott (2011-02-21). “God hates hackers, says Westboro pastor”. TG Daily. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  116. a b
  117. ^
  118. ^ Goldman, Tom (21 Feb 2011). “Westboro Baptists Stage Fake Anonymous Threat”. The Escapist. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  119. ^ Robbins, Martin (20 February 2011). “Anonymous: Defending freedom of speech one blocked website at a time.: The self styled ‘super-consciousness’ of Anonymous has turned on Westboro Baptist church. Are they going too far?”. Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  120. ^ Raywood, Dan (February 21, 2011). “Anonymous hits Westboro Baptist Church websites after online verbal trade-off”. SC Magazine. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  121. ^ “Performance Charts and Statistics for Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  122. ^
  123. ^
  124. ^
  125. ^
  126. ^
  127. ^ Phil Shuman (investigative reporter) (July 26, 2007). “FOX 11 Investigates: ‘AnonymousMyFOX Los Angeles(KTTV (Fox)). Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  128. ^ Ryan Singel (July 27, 2007). “Investigative Report Reveals Hackers Terrorize the Internet for LULZ”Wired News (CondéNet, Inc.). Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  129. ^ Bryan Seymour (reporter) (February 11, 2008).“Anonymous takes Scientology war to streets”(newscast). Today Tonight (Seven Network). Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  130. ^ Search Engine | CBC Radio | This Week’s Show (Feb.14/08)

External links

Activist websites used by Anonymous






4 Responses to “Anonymous WikiPedia”
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