‘Anonymous’ is a well-known international blackhat group which has been active since 2003. Anonymous beginnings make it difficult to understand the identity even though the concept of anonymous has always existed. They believe themselves to be simply ideas without an origin.
The recent attack by Anonymous was on COX DNS servers when all the DNS servers collapsed which resulted in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana to have no internet access. The main reason that led to this attack was because of COX’s latest message to the consumers mentioning their “Data usage quota” stating the consumers would not be able to access the internet if they exceed their limit.
During the past couple of years, Anonymous has managed to take down some of the high profile websites on the internet by causing a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. They believe themselves to be the “internet hate machine” or “hackers on steroids”. Anonymous includes a number of members that work together to attack a country’s internet coverage like in the case of the Toronto attack. When such a huge scale attack takes place, people from within the country join the Anonymous group in order to help them in carrying out the attack usually because they share similar motives behind the attacks. These blackhat activities usually take place against a stance they disagree with. According to some members of the group, membership to Anonymous can be gained easily but only under conditions which is as short as being concealing one’s identity when carrying out the activities.
The Anonymous mostly uses the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), an open source network stress testing and denial of service application, to achieve its DDoS attacks. Potential members of Anonymous allow their computers to be connected to a Botnet by downloading the LOIC. The AnonOps (a pathway for communication within the group) then direct the Botnet against the target while coordinating their attacks on ITC which allows the individual to become a member of the Anonymous blackhat group.
The DDoS attack acts in a similar manner as a huge surge in the amount of individuals visiting the site. The main aim is to delay the access to prove their point; it directly does no damage to the site. Similar to a protest where hundreds of people get together at a certain place which as a result slows the traffic down from that area which brings even more attention to the protestors’ motives. However, in this case instead of protests and people its the internet and computers.
In past few years, Anonymous has attacked New York Stock Exchange, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Recording Industry Association of America and government sites in Malaysia, Egypt, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Only recently, Anonymous planned on taking down Mexico’s most feared drug dealer Zetas after posting a video on YouTube stating that Zetas had kidnapped a member of theirs and if he was not freed then they would publicize the people linked to Zetas including taxi drivers, local police officers and journalists. However, this issue was resolved soon after in favor of Anonymous.
Anonymous has received a lot of media attention internationally due to their on-going attacks on high profile websites on the internet. KTTV Fox 11 aired a story on them after they attacked a Myspace user who mentioned his account being hacked several times by Anonymous. Additionally, the English version of Al Jazeera publishes regular articles on the activities of Anonymous.
Regardless of all the controversies going on about whether Anonymous is doing the right thing or not, there are a number of people who continue supporting their actions since they share similar motives. A number of members of the Anonymous group have been caught by the police every now and then yet they remain as a strong hacking group with similar morals, motives and thoughts and they continue working in the same direction.