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Anonymous on the road to Immortality P1

21 de Fevereiro de 2011

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, digitized global brain. 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.

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. As of 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.

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 wikisEncyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums. 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.

Background

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 on imageboards. 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.

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

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.

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.

Iconography and aesthetics

As a cyberculture, Anonymous aesthetics are based in various forms of shock humour, including genres of cringe,  surreal, and black comedy.

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.

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

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. “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…”

“[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

Activities

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.”

lulz (uncountable)

  1. (Internet, slangFunamusementhumor; especially schadenfreude.

Habbo raid

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.” 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. 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,” flooding the site with internet sayings, and forming swastika-like formations. When the raiders were banned, they complained of racism. In response, the Habbo admins often ban users with avatars matching the profile of the raiders even months after the latest raid.

Hal Turner raid

Main article: Hal Turner
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 sued 4chan, eBaum’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.

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. 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. 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.

Global Television Network report identified the group responsible for Forcand’s arrest as a “self-described Internet vigilant 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

Project Chanology

Main article: Project Chanology

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

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. The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video.  In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology. 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.

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. 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.  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. On February 2, 2008, 150 people gathered outside of a Church of Scientology center in Orlando, Floridato protest the organization’s practices. Small protests were also held in Santa Barbara, California, and Manchester, England. On February 10, 2008, about 7000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide. 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.

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. The third wave of the protests took place on April 12, 2008. Named “Operation Reconnect,” it aimed to increase awareness of the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy.

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.

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. The contest was won by a user who called himself MalcontentNazi for his videoScientology’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.

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.

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 — assaulted an epilepsy support forum run by the Epilepsy Foundation of AmericaJavaScript code and flashing computer animations were posted with the intention of triggering migraine headaches and seizures in photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics. 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 7chan.org, 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. RealTechNews 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. News.com.au reported that the administrators of 7chan.org 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. The Tech Herald 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 newsreport), who claim to be part of Anonymous, but are not the same faction that are involved in the campaign against Scientology.

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.  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.” The response was that the matter was on the hands of local law enforcement and that there were ongoing investigations.

Defacement of SOHH and AllHipHop websites

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. The attack was reported to have begun in retaliation for insults made by members of SOHH’s “Just Bugging Out” forum against 4chan’s users. The attack against the website took place in stages, beginning when Anonymous users flooded and trolled the SOHH forums, which were then shut down. On June 23, the group organized DDoS attacks against the website, successfully eliminating over 60% of the website’s service capacity. On June 27, the hackers utilized cross-site scripting to alter the website’s main page with satirical images and headlines referencing numerous racial stereotypes and slurs, and also successfully stole information from SOHH employees.

No Cussing Club

In January 2009 members of Anonymous targeted California teen McKay Hatch who runs the No Cussing Club, a website against profanity. 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.

2009 Iranian election protests

Main article: 2009 Iranian election protests

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 Anonymous Iran. 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.

Operation Didgeridie

Main article: Internet censorship in Australia

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 Krautchan.net 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 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.  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. 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.”A cover story in Security Solutions magazine said that “[s]uch attacks should not be considered cyberterrorism to ensure its meaning is not diluted.”

Operation Titstorm

Main article: 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. Analysis of the attacks cited their peak bandwidth at under 17Mbit, a figure considered small when compared with other DDoS attacks.

Operation Payback

Operation Payback is a coordinated, decentralized group of attacks on opponents of internet piracy by internet activists using the “Anonymous” moniker. Operation Payback started as retaliation to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on torrent sites; piracy proponents then decided to launch DDoS attacks on piracy opponents. The initial reaction snowballed into a wave of attacks on major pro-copyright and anti-piracy organizations, law firms, and individuals. Following the United States diplomatic cables leak in December 2010, the organizers commenced DDoS attacks on websites of banks who had withdrawn banking facilities from WikiLeaks.

Background and initial attacks

In 2010, several Bollywood companies hired Aiplex Software to launch DDoS attacks on websites that did not respond to software takedown notices. Piracy activists then created Operation Payback in September 2010 in retaliation. 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 organisations Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, giving the two websites a combined total downtime of 30 hours. In the following two days, Operation Payback attacked a multitude of sites affiliated with the MPAA, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), British Phonographic Industry. Law firms such as ACS:LawDavenport Lyons and Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver (of the US Copyright Group) were also attacked.

Attacks on the recording industry

Law firms

On 21 September 2010, the website of ACS:Law was subjected to a DDoS attack as part of Operation Payback. When asked about the attacks, Andrew Crossley, owner of ACS:Law, said: “It was only down for a few hours. I have far more concern over the fact of my train turning up 10 minutes late or having to queue for a coffee than them wasting my time with this sort of rubbish.”

When the site came back online, a 350 MB file which was a backup of the site was visible to anyone for a short period of time. The backup, which included copies of emails sent by the firm, was downloaded and made available onto various peer-to-peer networks and websites including The Pirate Bay. Some of the emails contained unencrypted Excel spreadsheets, listing the names and addresses of people that ACS:Law had accused of illegally sharing media. One contained over 5,300 Sky broadband customers whom they had accused of illegally sharing pornography, while another contained the details of 8,000 Sky customers and 400 Plusnet customers accused of infringing the copyright on music by sharing it on peer-to-peer networks. This alleged breach of the Data Protection Act has become part of the ongoing investigation into ACS:Law by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

On 30 September, the Leesburg, VA office of Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver law firm – also doing business as the “U.S. Copyright Group” – was evacuated by the police after an emailed bomb threat was received. It’s believed the event could be connected to Anonymous. Non-related copyright or law firms sites, such as websheriff.com, were also attacked. These attacks were originally organized through an Internet Relay Chat channel. The attacks also became a popular topic on Twitter.

Australian pro-copyright organization

On 27 September 2010, the DDoS attack on the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) unintentionally brought down 8,000 other small websites hosted on the same server.

ACAPOR

In September 2010, in an attempt to ensure that Portuguese citizens can’t access thepiratebay.org, Associação do Comércio Audiovisual de Portugal (ACAPOR) has filed a complaint against The Pirate Bay. The complaint was filed with the General Inspection of Cultural Activities, which is part of the Portuguese Ministry of Culture. According to the movie rental association, The Pirate Bay is directly responsible for about 15 million illegal downloads in Portugal every year. By installing a Pirate Bay block at all ISPs, ACAPOR hopes to decrease the financial damage they claim it causes.

On 18 October 2010, the ACAPOR website was defaced, presenting a speech from Operation Payback and a redirect to The Pirate Bay after a few seconds. In addition to defacing the website, they also managed to grab a copy of the email database of ACAPOR and uploaded it to thepiratebay.org. The leaked e-mails so far revealed ACAPOR’s methods of denunciation, their dissatisfaction with the Portuguese government and justice system, their perception of the copyright debate as war, and their antagonism with the ISPs. ACAPOR claimed that “the business of ISPs is illegal downloading.”

More attacks

On 4 October 2010, Operation Payback launched an attack on the Ministry of Sound website and the Gallant Macmillian website.

On 7 October 2010, they attacked the website of the Spanish copyright society, sgae.es. As of 7 October 2010, total downtime for all websites attacked during Operation Payback was 537.55 hours.

On 15 October 2010, Copyprotected.com was SQL injected and defaced, and three days later Operation Payback launched a DDoS attack against the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Production companies SatelFilm.at and Wega-Film.at were hit by “drive-by” DDoSes during October 21, 2010,
in response to their efforts to gain a court injunction against an ISP that refused to block a movie streaming website, and Operation Payback then knocked porn website Hustler.com offline the following day.

Musician and copyright advocate

During the 2010 MIPCOM convention, Gene Simmons of KISS stated:

Make sure your brand is protected…Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.

In response to Gene Simmons’ comments, members of Operation Payback switched their attentions to his two websites SimmonsRecords.com and GeneSimmons.com, taking them both offline for a total of 1 day and 14 hours. At some point during the course of this DDoS, GeneSimmons.com was hacked and redirected to  ThePirateBay.org, In response to the attack Simmons wrote:

Some of you may have heard a few popcorn farts re: our sites being threatened by hackers. Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case and we have found a few, shall we say “adventurous” young people, who feel they are above the law.

And, as stated in my MIPCOM speech, we will sue their pants off.

First, they will be punished.

Second, they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who’s been there for years and is looking for a new girl friend.

We will soon be printing their names and pictures.

We will find you.

You cannot hide.

Stay tuned

This led to additional attacks and subsequently more downtime for his websites. Later, Simmons’s message was removed from his website.

RIAA

On October 26, 2010, LimeWire was ordered to disable the “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” after losing a court battle with the RIAA over claims of copyright infringement. The RIAA also announced intentions to pursue legal action over the damages caused by the program in January to compensate the affected record labels. In retaliation, members of Operation Payback announced that they will attack RIAA’s website on October 29, despite that the group typically doesn’t hit targets twice. On October 29, riaa.org was taken offline via denial-of-service attack. After the attack, riaa.com and riaa.org sites became unavailable from Europe. Operation Payback’s main site was attacked later that day and they moved their website from tieve.tk to anonops.net.

November 5

Around October 28, 2010, the group set up a new website with the intention of coordinating protests around the world to raise awareness of their cause. The date for the protest activities were on November 5, the intended day of the Gunpowder Plot, which Anonymous heavily affiliates with through its use of Guy Fawkes masks. After that event, Operation Payback took a break from attacking websites to organize.

FBI investigation

After an attack on the United States Copyright Office, the FBI launched an investigation. FBI representatives did not respond to interview requests.

 

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