Magazine article Risk Management

An Anonymous Threat

Magazine article Risk Management

An Anonymous Threat

Article excerpt

The hacking collective known as Anonymous, along with its sister-group LulzSec, have wreaked havoc on the websites, email accounts and phone systems of a variety of organizations, political figures and groups that they deem evil, anti-democratic or pro-censorship. The Sony PlayStation Network, Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have all fallen victim. And though the group has suffered setbacks as of late, it insists that it will not slow down its salacious streak of hacking. In fact, a recent Verizon data breach report states that hacktivists like Anonymous stole more data than organized crime in 2011. Here, we take a look at a few of the lesser-known, though still noteworthy, Anonymous events.

--Emily Holbrook

December 2006

In late 2006 and early 2007, Anonymous took action against Hal Turner, a white supremacist radio host. Turner, who hosted a weekly webcast from his home in suburban New Jersey, claimed the group took his website offline with a denial-of-service attack and cost him thousands of dollars in bandwith bills due to the group flooding his site. Turner sued several rogue websites that posted information obtained during the hack. A judge dismissed the copyright infringement case in 2007.

January 2008

Anonymous gained worldwide attention for its protest against the Church of Scientology. The incident began when a video produced by the church featuring Tom Cruise was uploaded without permission to YouTube and the church issued an order for removal of the video. Seeing this as a form of internet censorship, Anonymous formed "Project Chanology," which bombarded the church with denial-of-service attacks, prank calls its phones and black faxes (pages of faxed black paper that exhaust toner supply and take fax machines offline).

June 2009

The 2009 Iranian presidential election was allegedly fraught with vote rigging. To protest this perceived injustice, Anonymous, together with The Pirate Bay, a pro-online piracy and bit torrent site, and various Iranian hackers, launched an "Iranian Green Movement Support" website. The portal continues to provide resources and support to protesting Iranians, despite attempts by the Iranian government to censor news on such topics.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

January 2011

Anonymous launched an attack on the website of the Irish political party, Fine Gael. The personal details of up to 2,000 people were compromised in the attack, and the homepage of the party's website was changed to show an Anonymous logo with the text "Nothing is safe, you put your faith in this political party and they take no measures to protect you. …

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