Anonymous, the infamous hacker cult was the only thing on my mind and I was going to unravel their secrets and understand the real ideology hidden behind the Guy Fawkes mask. In the world of deep internet, fake proxies and distributed networks, resided a world of secrecy and darkness.
It has been six months since I thoroughly started researching about them. I contacted the white hat hackers group around the world and tried to gain access to the their chat rooms many times in past. Not all efforts went futile. I knew I hit a lottery when I saw the following mail in my inbox.
Date: 2nd February, 2015
Hey, kid. Back off from the chat room. The world of hackers ain’t for little kids. Go back to your Facebook and Twitter world.
This hacking business is not a joke.
The moment I read this, I knew I had their attention. This blew my mind. Yes, I was snooping around in the not-so-friendly online chat rooms and encountered a couple of hackers. No, they aren’t the usual Lets-Take-The-Internet-Down-And-Upload-Naked-Pictures-esque hackers. They had a motive. A reason to use their computer skills and a collective goal. Take one down and ten will rise to take up their space. They are called Anonymous.
‘None of them are as cruel as all of them‘ is their motto. They stand for knowledge, truth and function as a legion.
My trusted source in Germany mentioned about the 4Chan,the website they all mostly function. With some insiders help and assistance of the white hat hackers I finally gained access to the chat rooms where some group members were talking about their attacks. I gained a guest access and was strictly told not to step the line else things will end nasty. So while I was hovering around the website, I found a chatroom and things got very interesting.
Anon1: Hey, who’s the new user Janzy_007?
Janzy_007: Hi! I am doing a study on hacktivists. Are really the Anonymous?
AnonY: Yes, kid. I can trace your user IP to India. What are you doing here?
Janzy_007: Curiosity, it got me here.
AnonY: Curiosity kills cats.
Janzy_007: Curiosity killed cat but satisfaction brought it back. So temme how did a bunch of hackers start working as a community?
Anon1: How do we trust you\ Janzy_007?
Janzy_007: I believe you folks are misunderstood and I want to understand your true nature of ideology that Anonymous is based on. I have no reason to betray your trust.
AnonY: You better not mess with us, kid. The movement evolved, from a loose collective of teenaged 4channers posting porn, into one of the most interesting and unusual groups of our time, terrifying businesses, governments and individuals with their hacking and programming skills.
Janzy_007: Oh, I didn’t know that. I heard you are planning an attack on the Church of Scientology. You found the campaigns misinformative and dissent. Is that true?
Anon1: Yes, we did on 4Chan. And their campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; their litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of their latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of their malign influence over those who trust them, who call them leader, has been made clear to us.
AnonY: Anonymous has therefore decided that Scientology organization should be destroyed. For the good of their followers, for the good of mankind–for the laughs–we shall expel them from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge them as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign.Their methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of the organization have sounded its death knell.
Janzy_007: Oh. You call is Chanology? You guys sound wickedly interesting. How did Scientology react to that? Something tells me they didn’t take it well. I heard that Scientologists believe that Anonymous is being funded by evil psychiatrists.
Anon1: Externally, Scientology has been largely silent, with the exception of issuing a press release calling Anonymous cyber-terrorists, communists, Fascists, Nazis, religious bigots and KKK members, which was released in the St. Petersburg Times.
AnonY: Kid, understand, this is not a game for you to play. This is some serious business. You better not fool around this chatrooms.
Janzy_007: Yes, I better go now. Catch. You. Later?
There was something about the hackers. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. The dedication they had for their task was commendable. But what is morally correct? I decided that before I come to a conclusion, I’ll try to understand their philosophy and ideas. For that day I decided to crash.
I was coming the observations of first chat and I tried my luck and got myself suggested into their chat box for second time. I knew it was going to be hard. Outsiders snooping around in their chat boxes were given hostile responses. I logged on to my system and connected to the chatroom. I searched for user name AnonY and Anon1 but wasn’t able to find them. Maybe I’ll talk to some new member of the team today.
Janzy_007: Hello, Anon1? AnonY? Anyone here?
Darth_Bhr:Anon1 is in prison
Janzy_007: What? How?
Darth_Bhr:Hackers are a controversial, chaotic and commonly misunderstood bunch. Many of us have been arrested. You don’t get that Anonymous is not a monolithic entity but a wide spectrum of backgrounds, politics and tactics.
Janzy_007:Did one of your people sell you to the legal authorities? And how do you lot get arrested? It is ironic. You do an undercover task and boast about it on the Social Media platforms? What sort of approach is that?
Darth_Bhr: Yes, few hackers have convinced others of their street credibility. They don’t do much hacking himself, but are in every chat room. They keep tabs on upcoming hacks. They run their mouth on Twitter to establish their self-appointed gatekeeper status. This “hacker vanguardism” detracted from the populist meritocracy of Anonymous and left us more vulnerable to infiltration and arrest.
Janzy_007: You mean to say that select few to do all the attacks or act as spokesperson for the team?
Darth_Bhr: We are condemned as criminals without consciences, dismissed as anti-social teens without a cause, or hyped as cyber-terrorists to justify the expanding surveillance state. But hacktivism exists within the history of social justice movements. Hacktivism is still the future, and it’s good to see people still doing something about it.
Janzy_007: Darth_Bhr I have heard that the hacktivist group Anonymous is planning to launch a series of digital attacks against nations it accuses of funding or arming the radical Islamic terror group ISIS. Is that true?
Han_Solo: You’re asking too many questions. You sound like those undercover journalists.
Janzy_007: I am not an undercover Journalist or a government spy. I am an independent researcher. I heard that the campaign against ISIS will be called Operation NO2 ISIS and will target three states suspected of offering support to the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].
Han_Solo: Government websites will be blasted with DDoS attacks with Anonymous planning to “unleash the entire legion” upon its enemies.
Darth_Bhr:For an organization like ISIS that relies so heavily on social media to spread its propaganda, it’s likely to be a critical blow. Anonymous claimed responsibility for targeting dozens of websites, forums and social media accounts used to broadcast ISIS propaganda and recruit new fighters.
Janzy_007: Anonymous accounts are using the hashtag #OpSIS and uploading lists of email addresses, hundreds of social media accounts and personal details of alleged ISIS members to Pastebin.com.That is a good thing, right?
Darth_Bhr: As they say in your country ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s revolutionary.’ Who are you to judge the right and wrong?
And his words left me thinking about the whole concept of right and wrong. What is morally correct?
I came home to find the telly flashing with the news of Charlie Hebdo massacre. My thoughts first went out to the Hacker Activist group. I ran to my laptop and logged in. The chat room was buzzing with the views and opinions on the the attack. This time, I found a new member from Anonymous.
Janzy_007: The news headline says “Hacktivist group Anonymous has fired the opening salvo in its online war on terror groups following the Charlie Hebdo massacre.” What is it all about?
Sherl_Error:Yes, Anonymous has always fought for the freedom of speech, and will never let this right besmirched by obscurantism and mysticism. Charlie Hebdo, historical figure of satirical journalism has been targeted.
Janzy_007: You feel that it is your job to remind every citizen that the press’s freedom is fundamental to democracy. Opinions, speech, newspaper articles without threats or pressure, all those things are rights you can’t change.You folks are amusing and bizarre in your own way. What is your real identity?
Sherl_Error: Be careful. This might be the last question you would ever ask.
We cannot die; we are forever. We are getting bigger every day–and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many. Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon’s actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.
Knowledge is free.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive
We do not forget.
The computer screen flickered for a while and went blank showing nothing but this one message.