Anonymous: hacktivist group accused of carrying out a cyberattack in USA
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Cyber security
- The ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous has been accused of carrying out a cyberattack on the websites of Minneapolis city and its police department.
- The attack made the websites temporarily inaccessible.
Important value additions
- It is a decentralised online collective with no particular political affiliation.
- It protests against causes such as opposing censorship and government control and promoting freedom of speech.
- It also supported the Occupy movement and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.
- It is believed to include anyone who wants to join.
- Its members are referred to as ‘anons’.
- A signature characteristic of Anonymous is the Guy Fawkes mask, portrayed in the dystopian novel and film ‘V for Vendetta’.
- Cyber Attacks tactics used by Anonymous:
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: hackers swamp a website’s server with data that causes it to crash, making the website inaccessible.
- Defacement: the target website’s pages are replaced with the hacktivists’ messages and graphics.
- Redirection: a change in the chosen website’s address causes its users to be redirected to another page.
- Doxing: private or sensitive information is stolen,
- Destroying data using computer viruses
- Phishing is used for extracting personal data.