The U.S. government has declared war on hacktivist group “Anonymous” and its offshoot group LulzSec, having identified four of its leaders, including Hector Xavier Monsegur, AKA Sabu, who has joined forces with the feds to expose fellow “bros” from the surprisingly effective hacking group.
“Anonymous” refers primarily not to a hacking group, but to an internet playground for disaffected teens and young adults, who participate with the picture board /b/, on the website 4chan. The concept of leveling all posters with the same name “anon,” and making few strictures on what is allowed to be posted has inadvertedly created a counterculture think tank, bringing minds that would normally be isolated and brooding into direct contact. Such exposure to like-minded rebels has led to various hacking projects that are especially interested in executing a sort of vigilante internet justice that fights for the values of equal access of information to all, piracy rights, transparency in government and corporate communication, though many members report they “do it for the lulz.”
Such an unlikely group of rebels has managed to cost various governments and corporations billions of dollars, through such high profile attacks as shutting down the websites of MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa, for boycotting their help with donations to WikiLeaks; including an attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, Infragard Members Alliance, PBS, and Fox Broadcasting, who referred to the group as “Hackers on Steroids.” They also shut down the FBI’s website.
Monsegur agreed to aid FBI after he pled guilt to 12-counts of indictments of computer hacking and conspiracy. Since then, three other prominent members have been arrested, including Ackroyd, 23, Davis, 29, and Martyn, 25, from the UK. They could face up to 20 years in prison for their involvement with the group known as “InternetFeds.” The FBI alleged they were “engaged in a series of cyber attacks that included breaking into computer systems, stealing confidential information, publicly disclosing stolen confidential information, hijacking victims’ e-mail and Twitter accounts, and defacing victims’ Internet websites.”
“This is devastating to the organization,” an FBI spokesman told Fox News, “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
Anonymous has responded in a twitter, “We are done talking about Sabu. He is a person who is too scared for revolution. We will continue to fight and show that Sabu was no one.”
The group, which loosely bases its ethic on the novel and movie, Fight Club, regards the strength of their group in their collective anonymous identity.
Many participants of anonymous use the site as a sort of “meme womb,” and attempt to impress each other with funny phrases and pictures, which have since become popular across the internet. Anonymous does not refer only to those engaged in illegal activities.