Hacking With A Cause

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Hidden behind a blockade of various VPNs and IP address hiders and, most importantly, Guy Fawkes Masks lie one of the most influential activist groups to ever exist. Anonymous is a group of hackers, commonly termed “hacktivists,” who illegally infiltrate different online organizations or websites in order to pursue an action that they feel is just. Unlike other activist groups, Anonymous rarely has meetings (most of them have never even seen one another). For this reason, it considered as more of an identification than a coalition.



Anyone can join anonymous, all you need is a computer. The group has a large presence on websites such as Twitter, 4chan, and Reddit. To search up an Anonymous account on Twitter, type in “@trutherbot” followed by practically any color on the spectrum (ex. @trutherbotorange). These accounts typically tweet about conspiracy theories, politics, and international controversies with a subtle tone of anarchism and heavy presence of libertarian ideals. Not every member of Anonymous participates in the illegal activities of the minority group but generally support the cause.

In 2008, Anonymous began their first attack, termed Project Chanology, which called for action to be taken against the oppressive Church of Scientology. The attacks consisted of organizing protests outside of the church, wearing the Guy Fawkes Masks, as well as the hacking and tampering with the cult’s website. Later that year, in March, The Epilepsy Foundation of America’s web forums were hacked. The hacker implemented code which caused animations to appear that could cause epileptic seizures. The media blamed this attack on the Anonymous group, however the members believe that it was an attempt by The Church of Scientology to ruin their Robin Hood-esque reputation. In 2009, in Iran the newly elected President planned to implement internet censorship policies. This led to the creation of an undetectable online forum by Anonymous for the citizens to use freely. In a letter to “whom it may concern,” Anonymous explains their reasoning for their “Payback is a B****” operation, which prevented government intervention in a piracy and file sharing website:

“Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another.”

Anonymous also created a large amount of hype toward the Occupy Wall Street movement, a coalition protesting for economic equality. More recently, the group has planned attacks against ISIS. Following the attacks in Paris, Anonymous declared a cyber-war on ISIS and have since shut down 10s of thousands of ISIS related social media accounts. The group has potential to become detrimental to the online presence of ISIS.

Whether you like them or not, anonymous is here, and they are not going anywhere.

About the author

Joseph Smith is 17 years old, a resident of Westborough, Massachusetts, and a member of the class of 2017 at St. Mark’s School. He plans on getting undergraduate degrees in economics and computer science. He is involved in several leadership positions at St. Mark’s, including sustainability prefect and captain of the varsity golf team. He enjoys traveling, computer programming, graphic design, golf and squash. Joseph is also a passionate humanitarian; last summer he spent 3 weeks volunteering as a counsellor at Brantwood sleep-away Camp for the underprivileged and has spent hours upon hours volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Marlborough, during his sophomore and junior years. Joseph is a STEM Research Fellow at St. Mark's working on a data manipulation, allocation, compression and analytics algorithm.

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