The Westboro Baptist Church, located in Topeka, Kansas, attacked the members of the Anonymous group last week, saying that groups like them only existed because parents don’t spank their children. Anonymous, a group whose motto is “Anonymous is legion. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget,” fought back against the church on Thursday.
During a live radio interview between an Anonymous member and Westboro spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper, the group attacked the church’s website and as of 1:35 a.m. Eastern Time, is still offline. The group initially planned to not attack the church after their initial comments, but the spanking comment was too much for them to overlook.
This isn’t the first time the group has struck high-profile groups or individuals. In December, the group attacked fax machines under the program called Mission: Leakflood. Under this mission, the group asked members to fax random State Department cables and images of Guy Fawkes to those who were made targets by moving against WikiLeaks. Prior to the fax machine attacks, the group went after MasterCard and Visa in what has been called “Operation Payback.” They attacked those two sites and others, including PayPal and Amazon, after they stopped donating to WikiLeaks.
The group also made moves against the Egyptian government earlier this year. When the government shut down Internet access during the uproar, Anonymous was there when the Internet was turned back on to attack the sites, taking them down temporarily. The Italian government also met the wrath of the group earlier this month. Citing “political grievances,” the group attempted to take down the nation’s website. Much like the situation with the Egyptian website, the group used what they call distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) to attack the sites. This is basically an attempt to overload a website with too much traffic.
It’s been proved to not be a wise decision to go against the group. Aaron Barr is the CEO of the security firm HBGary. According to Matt Rosoff, Barr claimed to have identified some of the members of the group. Although Barr claims that he wouldn’t have reported his information to the FBI, the group attacked him personally anyway. They infiltrated his personal accounts, posted e-mails on BitTorrent and posted messages on his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Basically, Anonymous is fighting for free speech. The group feels that WikiLeaks is not something the United States government or anybody should fight against. Those who have voiced their opinions that don’t match the group’s have faced the consequences. While some would say that the group is wreaking havoc on the Internet, others would say that they are just fighting for our constitutional right. In attacks against the Egyptian and Tunisian governments, they may be wreaking havoc, but a majority of their business has been for a purpose.
Ditz, Jason, “‘Anonymous’ Group Launches Mass Fax Attacks,” AntiWar.com
“Hackers attack Italian Government Site,” Google
Rosoff, Matt, “Hacker Group Attacks Security ‘Expert,’ Posts His Emails Online,” Business Insider
“Hackers Trash Westboro Church Website,” My FOX Philly