The anarchist group Anonymous is known the world over. If you’ve watched the news in the last decade then you’ve heard about them. Anonymous is a self proclaimed “hacktivist” group that stands against tyranny and oppression whether it comes from other people, companies, or government itself. You’ll frequently see tweets and statements from the group against these as well as efforts to take them down by hacking their sites or disclosing their classified information to “educate the public”. Hacktivism isn’t legal, yet anonymous has managed to stay out of legal trouble for the most part.
The term “legion” is often used to symbolize many. Anonymous maintains that each user is not important on their own but that they are part of the bigger group, working together. This means that while the police may arrest one single person, they’re going to have difficulty arresting them all because they are all equally important. There are no “leaders” like a traditional organization has, only people with ideas and those who choose to follow or not within the organization.
2. They’re Anonymous
The whole point of anonymity is to prevent people from knowing who you are. By using clever computer trickery users mask their online activities and prevent their real location and real data from being discovered. When they must appear, the group uses a face mask from the movie V for Vendetta to hide their real face so that it’s harder to track them down and often disguise their voices as well. They literally are “anonymous” and because the way the group is structured means there are no leaders there’s no way to “cut the head off” and stop the organization.
3. They’re Useful
While not all their activities fit into this category, many people support what anonymous does. They go after corrupt politicians, terrorists, and groups that don’t have the interest of the general population in mind. This means that many people think they’re necessary or doing a good job, and while the government isn’t likely to admit that they’re not making an effort to pursue them, the fact is that they’re often helping the government do their own job like taking down terrorist websites. When it comes to taking down a group that is sometimes helpful they’re not as important to follow up as a group that is threatening an imminent bombing.
4. They’re Clever
Can you hack a computer? Probably not. People who are able to hack and hide their location are clever and they’re very good at covering their tracks. This means it often takes either luck or a cleverer hacker to get past their security to even find one member. Much of the work of anonymous is hosted on what’s known as “the dark web”. A sub version of the internet which isn’t monitored by ISPs or governments the way the regular internet is. It’s harder for people, transactions, and data to be tracked there which is another reason they’re harder to pin down.
5. They’re Global
People from anonymous can be anywhere in the world. Since most of their hacktivism is done over the internet and online there’s no geographic requirement for them to actually be anywhere near the scene of the crime. Global extradition laws and treaties often mean that a foreign government has absolutely no reason to send a hacker anywhere even if they’re caught and in that location what they have done may not even be illegal. It’s a legal loophole that many make use of.
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