Anonymous, the group who first gained notoriety in their protest of the Church of Scientology, has made the headlines once again. Their movement has challenged—often successfully—organizations they oppose in political and social ideologies. They are often referred to as “freedom of information cyber-supporters”. Their efforts range from uploading pornography to YouTube in protest of the site complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the removal of copyright-infringing music videos, to its most recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to Visa’s and MasterCard’s website and fax-bombing half a dozen corporations.
On December 8, 2010, Anonymous successfully rendered Visa’s website unavailable. The DDoS attack was a result of the credit card company’s refusal to allow donations to the controversial website WikiLeaks.
“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks,” a statement on the Anonymous website reads, “we fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and we counter censorship. The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and are unable to express our opinions and ideas.”
The group has restructured its attacks as “Operation Payback” through its Twitter feed @Anon_Operation. As the attack started, they tweeted in victory:
Their most recent attack, named “Leakflood,” has appeared on many fax machines. Fax-bombing is nothing new to Anonymous and was actually prominent in the attacks against the Church of Scientology. Several of the corporate fax numbers have since been disconnected, further complicating their businesses. Those that support Anonymous are encouraged by the organization to send multiple faxed messages to companies that have opposed WikiLeaks, such as Amazon, Mastercard, Moneybookers, and Visa.
But the message is not one of violence or obscenity. Supporters are asked to send pictures of Guy Fawkes and the main character “V” from the 2006 dystopian film V for Vendetta. Previous DDoS attacks have been orchestrated to stop companies from operating, but this recent assault is simply meant to cause disruption.
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