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Meet Anonymous

September 21st, 2008 Posted in Oddities

Anonymous at Scientology in Los Angeles
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sklathill

After Sarah Palin’s email was hacked, the world was introduced to Anonymous.

Who or what is Anonymous?

It’s a group that formed on IR channels – and starting to get recognition for it’s practice of “Griefing” or terrorizing web communities and games. Primarily younger males, the idea is to show off with Internet exploits.

The group has been around for a while and my son was a victim about five years ago – they hacked into his account on an online game. He had spent a year building up the character and was among the top in the game. In a matter of minutes it was gone. This was the only time I have ever seen him curl up and cry.

We laugh about it now, but it was traumatic at the time for him… hence the term “griefing”.

Here’s Anonymous’ ‘greatest’ hits from Wired magazine:

The Epilepsy Attack — In March, a group of internet griefers flooded an epilepsy message board with flashing images that caused migraine headaches and seizures in some users. While it’s not certain whether it was properly the work of Anonymous, the assault was rumored to have started on a thread at 7chan.org — another Anonymous hang out — and much was blamed on eBaumsworld, an online site often derided by Anonymous. The FBI is reportedly investigating what may be the first computer attack that physically harmed people.

The Scientology War — In January, Anonymous decided to take on a real target — the Church of Scientology — which its members considered to be an overly litigious cult. Soon, anonymous pranksters were ordering pizzas to Scientology offices, using denial-of-service attacks to scuttle its web servers and posting previously unseen secret Scientology documents.

They also briefly pointed denial-of-service attack tools at the wrong IP address — which happened to be a Dutch school. The publicity drew hordes who wanted to participate, and soon many longtime Anonymous users found themselves annoyed with the new converts who thought Anonymous was a crusading organization.

The Habbo Hotel Raid – Anonymous has staged many minor incursions into other people’s online playgrounds, but one of the most storied involved a virtual world known as Habbo — a frequent target for bored Anonymous lurkers interested in ruining other people’s fun.

In 2006, hundreds of Anonymous users showed up using identically dressed avatars: a black man with an Afro in a grey suit. They blocked off the pool to other users, claiming it was infected with AIDS. They also formed swastika-like formations and flooded the site with stupid internet sayings. When users were banned, they claimed it was racist.

The Mitchell Henderson HarassmentThe suicide of Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader, stirred Anonymous, who gleefully decided that Henderson shot himself because he had lost his iPod, a fact he’d noted on his MySpace page. Anonymous grabbed onto a badly written message on an online memorial page for him, and turned the phrase “an hero” into an internet meme. For more than a year, Anonymous kept up the fun, calling Henderson’s parents, pretending to be his ghost.

The Hal Turner Campaign – In late 2006 and early 2007, Anonymous had much fun with Hal Turner, a small-time white supremacist who ran an online radio show. Anonymous flooded one of his shows with prank calls, which then escalated in mutual internet stupidity. Anonymous eventually flooded his site with too much traffic for his web host to handle.

Turner tried suing the image boards — unsuccessfully — and finally he closed down his show after a hacker managed to unearth correspondence suggesting Turner was an FBI informant.

Watch your back.

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