Anonymous Hackers Target Facebook

(UPDATED - See below)

The notorious hacker group Anonymous plans to attack Facebook on November 5, 2011 -- which just happens to be my wedding anniversary. Lovely.  Read all about it on the Huffington Post and other places.

No one is sure yet if Anonymous is a centralized organization with an established leadership or just a bunch of random folks around the world connected by the Internet.  They have embraced symbols of anarchy and pop culture (such as the masked face of Guy Fawkes which the vigilante anti-hero wore in V for Vendetta) and their goal seems to be to disrupt the online infrastructure of various corporations.  Their mission (if they have one beyond causing mayhem) apparently is to promote "Internet freedom and freedom of speech," but past actions for which the group claimed responsibility seems to be so diverse that it is unclear if there is in fact a defined political or social objective for the group.  Likely, Anonymous is a broad group of individuals who use the symbols and notoriety of the brand to push their own agenda or to stir up some publicity.

Wikipedia has an excellent chronology of their activities since as early as 2006.  They attacked a wide range of targets, including Apple, Google, Amazon, the FBI's cybersecurity contractor ManTech, the Westboro Baptist Church, the state of Tennessee, the Web site of Spain's national police force, Sony, Monsanto, U.S. law enforcement Web sites, the Israeli Knesset, BMI, and more. 

Now, it's aiming at Facebook, claiming that its actions against the social network are an attempt to "defend privacy."  The group's statements sometimes seem to be full of righteous motivation to serve the public good, but other times come across as the mischief of bored tech-savvy youths inspired by conspiracy theorists and entertainment icons.

Previous attacks have proved disruptive and costly, so it is wise to take their threats seriously.  If nothing else, hackers prove the vulnerability of cyberspace, forcing us to be ever vigilant.

UPDATE - I received this response from Newsy.com. 

Nick,


I read your post about Anonymous hackers targeting Facebook and I am sad to hear that the date they chose fell on your anniversary. I also think it is important to take the threat seriously but as this Newsy video points out they may not be able to pull it off.


http://www.newsy.com/videos/anonymous-vows-to-kill-facebook

I found it very interesting that they tweeted this was just a group of people in the organization and not the whole organization acting as one.

(Note from Nick -- Yes, I think that's another example that Anonymous may not be the unified global entity that some people claim it to be, but rather a bunch of individual or smaller groups with their own agendas.)

I also think it is important to note that the hacker group has failed to take down giants in the past like Amazon so I am not sure if they will be really able to take out the Internet king like Facebook.

I was hoping you would embed the video with your post. I think it would compliment it well as you documented much of the history of the hacking group while the video gives some background on the current situation.

(Note from Nick - Done. The embedded video is below. Thanks for sharing.)

Newsy uses multiple news outlets to analyze and synthesize the news. This unique method allows for Newsy to provide viewers with great context for complex stories.

Alex Blum
Community at Newsy
alexb@newsy.com

(Note from Nick - And here's the video.  If you can't see it, check out the link above.)


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