Anonymous is one of the most notorious groups on the Internet, known for its attacks on various groups and websites. This week, Anonymous made headlines again for feuding with a notorious group known for its hate speech.
SC Magazine reports that the informal hacker organization Anonymous targeted the controversial Westboro Baptist Church’s website Thursday, Feb. 24. Anonymous crashed the site with repeated distributed denial-of-service attacks during a live interview. The two groups have been feuding since last week, when an open letter was posted on the Anonymous website to the church which called for it to stop organizing. Anonymous claimed it did not post the letter and accused the church of provocation.
Anonymous is known for attacks on various websites. Anonymous is probably most famous for its attack on the Church of Scientology in 2008, which was dubbed “Project Chanology.” Fox News reports that Anonymous declared war on the Church of Scientology, and accused it of spreading misinformation and lies. Anonymous began attacking the church’s website and used phones and fax machines to create havoc. Anonymous also went after Scientology’s most famous follower, Tom Cruise, and held protests at the premiere of his movie “Valkyrie.”
BBC News reports Anonymous also hacked YouTube in 2009 and posted several porn videos with unsuspecting tags. This attack was “YouTube Porn Day” and it was in response to YouTube taking down a number of music videos due to copyright violations. Anonymous flooded the website with videos of porn and would tag them with groups like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, which led to many children seeing the porn instead of their favorite family-friendly bands. This was definitely bad for parents of children who went on this website to watch a music video, but it did prove a point and was pretty comical to a lot of people. YouTube promptly began taking down the porn, but the damage had been done and many children posted comments about what was going on in the videos.
In 2009, Anonymous also got word of a California teen who started the No Cussing Club, which is a website against cussing. Well, Anonymous of course did not like that McKay Hatch was organizing such a group, so they began their attacks on him, according to Ventura County Star. Anonymous found his home address, phone number and other personal information which was used to harass Hatch; the information was also posted online. Hatch was sent a lot of hate mail, obscene and phony prank calls, and also a lot of pornography materials. Hatch also had the privilege of getting a lot of pizzas delivered to his home, which is often a favorite prank from Anonymous.
Anonymous has pulled many attacks over the years, and most of the time they are standing up for something they believe in. They often have a reason for attacking the groups and people they do; they are not just random events. Anonymous is like the big brother on the Internet: They will go after people or groups that try to limit free speech or limit certain behaviors. Anonymous has mostly been trying to use their power for good on the Internet and has been fairly successful in getting their point across. Whether or not Anonymous actually makes a difference is debatable, but they have spotlighted many different issues over the years.
Dan Kaplan, “Anonymous defaces Westboro site during live interview”, SC Magazine
Jonathan Richards, “Hackers Declare War on Scientology”, Fox News
Siobhan Courtney, “Pornographic Videos Flood YouTube”, BBC News
John Rogers, “Teenage Founder of No Cussing Club Under Siege”, Ventura County Star