All about the mysterious hacker collective

Photo: iStock

Thursday on Twitter, a leading hacktivist group Anonymous declared a “cyber war” against the government led by President Vladamir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

“The Anonymous collective is officially in cyber warfare against the Russian government. #Anonymous #Ukraine,” the group tweeted. Shortly after, the group claimed to have deactivated several Russian government websites as well as the Russian state-controlled broadcast network, Another Twitter post from the group’s account also alleged that it leaked the Russian Defense Ministry database.

The hacktivist group has also signaled its intention to continue its attacks on Russian cyberinfrastructure, doubting that the international economic sanctions currently imposed on Russia will have the desired effect. “We are convinced that the sanctions against Putinthe criminal regime will have no effect. We call on countries that support #Ukraine to sever ties with #Russia and expel Russian ambassadors. #Anonymous will escalate cyberattacks on Kremlin this afternoon #OpRussia,” he tweeted.

What is Anonymous?

It’s unclear exactly when Anonymous first appeared, but reports indicate it had its origins in the early 2000s on forums like 4chan. The loosely connected hacktivist organization rose to prominence in 2008 when it orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on the Church of Scientology after the institution decided to remove a video of high-ranking member and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise talking about his religious beliefs, the web. .

Anonymous has also previously shown solidarity with Julian Assange-led Wikileaks, going so far as to carry out cyberattacks on PayPal, MasterCard and Visa after it blocked transactions with the whistleblower. Since then, the group has developed a growing notoriety, having targeted government agencies in the United States, Israel, Uganda, Egypt, Tunisia and Spain. The Islamic State and the Ku Klux Klan have also been the target of Anonymous cyberattacks in the past.

The ideology of the hacktivist group is not stated convincingly, however, it is largely based on the promotion of freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom to demonstrate. A signature of the group is the Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by the novel and film “V for Vendetta” in which an anarchist anti-hero takes on a fascist government.

The group has, on several occasions, insisted that anyone can join, its members being called “anons”. Little is known about the organizational structure or hierarchy of the group, and who it is headed over or whether it actually has a leader.

Over the years the group grew in influence and at the height of its popularity it is believed to have created a network of thousands of activists opposed to government censorship and the consolidation of corporate power.

However, after several arrests in 2012, he largely disappeared from the mainstream. It has continued to operate in the shadows, however, with recent attacks on Russian cyberinfrastructure serving as further evidence of the significant levels of sophistication and collaboration it has demonstrated in the past. But the impact Anonymous’ attacks on Russian government agencies have or will have on disrupting Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine remains unclear at this time.