In order to understand Anonymous it is essential to start from their history. This begins with 4chan and the group’s involvement into a movement whose key objectives of trade turned out to be hacking attacks and service denial. The group also releases public information towards the public and this is inclusive of individual’s personal data who are involved with the company that is placed in cross-hairs. The Anonymous public arms involve videos and press releases containing a lot of information regarding its activities and thus give commentary on the current events. The group has also targeted various security corporations. Anonymous has also been identified for opposing homophobia, government corruption and scientology and this at some point is seen as an advantage towards the citizens especially in opposing corruption. The members of Anonymous can be identified among the publics due to wearing of masks which are styled Guy Fawkes.
Anonymous acts out against cases where justice miscarriage or that of corruption is of high concern and these are actions that have merit while they are controversial. Anonymous does hacking attacks as a symbol of opposition to a particular issue and their leaking of information is a practice that generally predicts the group but thus acts as a powerful tool in revealing how governments and organizations operate. These fall outs create serious public relations disaster for the parties affected and it also acts as a reminder that when there is availability of accountability in a society and trust between the governed and the government then positive results are expected.
Though it is not evident that websites are tied to a single entity online it is true that there are so many websites which are associated with Anonymous. Some of these websites include Encyclopedia Dramatica, imageboards like 4chan, their linked wikis and also some forums. After a number of widely publicized controversial protests, the website defacement and distributed denial service attacks in 2008 by Anonymous incidents which were linked to its members increased. In 2011 CNN posited Anonymous in consideration to its capabilities to become one of the key successors of Wiki leaks. Anonymous was also named as one of the most influential world groups by Time in 2012
Anonymous Effects on Future of Cyber security
Anonymous is a virtual community that is decentralized. The group is referred to as a collective based hacktivists of the internet whose goals are decentralized just like its organizations. Anonymous is clearly said to seek revolution and mass awareness against entities which are claimed to be corrupt while at the same time the group tries to maintain anonymity. Anonymous has had an impact of hacktivist and this is a timeline of various activities which is claimed to be carried out by the group.
Anonymous has had a serious impact on Cyber security and this has been raised as a major concern in the globe. Most of security professionals and IT professionals feel and believe that anonymous are among the feared groups likely to carry an attack to their organizations during the next few months and this is according to survey results which were sponsored by security vendor Bit9.There were around 2000 IT professionals who participated in Bit9 Cyber Security Survey in the year 2012 and out of the number almost 64% had a belief that their companies will suffer from a cyber attack during the next few months that followed.
Most of the respondents were given an opportunity to select those who they felt might be their attackers and the choices mostly pointed Anonymous/hacktivists. Others who were pointed included cyber criminals, disgruntled employees, corporate competitors and nation states. However, Anonymous turned to be the highly pointed at by the IT professionals though based on the organization type there were some differences. Attacks by Anonymous create a serious impact on the organization and the reason why most of the IT professionals fear these attacks is due to the bad publicity that comes along with it. It is evident that an attack by Anonymous creates a wide publicity and the whole world is likely to have the knowledge since within 24 hours the announcement will be in Pastebin.
Many people however feel that attacks on data breaches should be disclosed for everyone to find out especially the public and the customers. Most of the people feel that the company should also be in a position of disclosing the attack by the Anonymous regarding the breach occurrence as well as dictate what was stolen and how the breach took place.
Anonymous has however raised a lot of concerns towards the Cyber Security and several organizations have taken it their responsibility to try and stop them. NSA gave warnings to Anonymous group due to their ability to take down the power grid at a most appropriate time and this according to Anonymous sources. NSA also issued a warning that Anonymous were intending to target the power grid of US though according to the Anonymous group they had no such intention because of the important support that people rely on. NSA has also brought forward the passing of a bill in 2012 called the Cyber security Act of 2012
Anonymous went on to threaten their biggest ever play by exposing a massive of Wiki leaks in the secrets of U.S government. To show their power on this, they clearly gave an announcement on their plan details on the hacked government website which was the United States Sentencing Commission. With a clear citation of Aaron Swartz recent death they gave an explanation that they can no longer wait. The group went ahead to say that the time has come for them to show United States Department of Justice the true meaning of infiltration and also show the same to their affiliates.
Anonymous plans attacks on different organizations and institutions and this has made the group be named as a threat. Anonymous latest target was towards Habbo which a social is networking site mainly designed as a virtual site. The aid pre-dated and Alabama Amusement Park news on tha banning of a two year old toddler from entering the swimming pool because of being HIV infected did not inspire at all. The users signed to the site of Habbo dressed in Afro hairstyle and avatars of a black man wearing a grey suit and went ahead to block the entry to the pool with a declaration that the reason for closing was due to AIDS. The raiders then complained of racism when they were banned.
Anonymous also claimed to have had influence against the Israeli military operations in Gaza. It is however clear that about 44 million cases of cyber attacks were registered since the Israeli operations and this attacks were to impede different government websites efforts in Israel. Anonymous claimed to have been involved in about ten thousand of the attacks in the Israeli websites and it is clear that only one attack was successful. According to the Finance Ministry Chief Information Officer, the attack managed to put down one of the ministries small unit. Since then Israel has created and developed a defense system that is strongly computerized and this is an investment that has well paid off with only minor attacks and thus by far. It is however evident that if Israeli has not taken such serious precaution the results could have turned out more disastrous with groups like Anonymous working harder to distract their systems. This would have resulted in disruption of thousands of government data bases.
Governments all over the world have become quicker in condemning and punishing Anonymous actions and those of the associated groups and this is due to a rise of mounting concerns for computer security. United States is claimed to be more bullish in the affair particularly. This is seen especially as NSA tried to frame Anonymous as a global threat with the claim that the group might have the ability to shut down the national power grids. However, according to Law professor Yochai Benkler, the attitude that is currently directly towards Anonymous is there for only the incrimination of relatively innocuous and in other cases bad acts of online dissent. The professor claims that the United States campaign against Anonymous can also be a threat towards the freedom of expression, innovation and creativity compared to any threat that the disruptions have caused. He states that despite some fringe fundamentals of the rather uncertain ideology, most of the notable acts carried out under the Anonymous banner sum to a form of audaciously irreverent, and infrequently poignant, online protest
In conclusion, Anonymous is therefore a group that has caused unrest to many companies, organizations and institutions. Many governments in the world feel threatened by this group of hacktivist and are trying to carry out campaigns to stop them. However at some point the group is helping the world cub some of these in disparities such as corruption and it is evident that the governments are acting towards prevention of these disparities from reaching the public. It is therefore important for the governments to come up with strong technological strategies which will prevent these hacktivists.
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Burns, C. (2012, February 22). Anonymous reveals Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.slashgear.com/anonymous-reveals-cybersecurity-act-of-2012-22214783/
Constantin, L. (2012, April 23). Most IT and Security Professionals See Anonymous as Serious Threat to Their Companies. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.pcworld.com/article/254270/most_it_and_security_professionals_see_anonymous_as_serious_threat_to_their_companies.html
Kopstein, J. (2012, April 9). Is Anonymous a threat to national security, or just trolling? Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/9/2930626/yochai-benkler-anonymous-cybersecurity-laws
Ragan, S. (2011, September 9). FBI says Anonymous is a potential threat to national security. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from The Tech Herald: http://www.thetechherald.com/articles/FBI-says-Anonymous-is-a-potential-threat-to-national-security