Anonymous is a decentralized group of unknown international activist hackers. Members of the group are usually known to wear the Guy Fawkes mask to obscure their identity. While the group has no specific goals, there is an overarching desire to combat Internet censorship, promote freedom of speech, and frustrate authoritarian governments. Anonymous has no membership list or committees, so members of the group usually communicate via secret chat groups.
Although Anonymous is known for crashing web servers, defacing websites, and leaking private information online, there are certain times that the group has acted in the overall interests of humanity. These are the top ten times Anonymous acted for the benefit of people.
10 Exposed The Involvement Of The Chinese Army In Cyber Attacks Against The US
One of the great deeds of Anonymous is that it helped expose the involvement of the Chinese military in a string of attacks on American companies, organizations, and government agencies in 2011. American security researchers and government officials have long claimed that China was behind the 2011 cyber attacks on the US, but there was no evidence to back up the claim. China vehemently denied the the allegations due to said lack of proof.
Anonymous, however, intervened and provided incriminating and convincing evidence linking the Chinese military to the attack. The revelation made headlines all over the world and allowed the Obama Administration to blame China for its malicious acts. The Chinese government was greatly humiliated, and the attacks stopped immediately.
9 Helped Fight Government Tyranny In Iran
Following Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s controversial and disputed reelection in 2009, the Iranian government started clamping down on opposition activities online. It blocked opposition websites and media as well as disrupted mobile phone connections during the civil uprising that followed the election.
The widely imposed censorship shut out many Iranian citizens from the open Internet, and Anonymous was forced to intervene. The hacking group provided much-needed advice on how Iranian citizens could get around the online censorship and access the Internet unrestricted. Anonymous’s intervention played a great role in supporting Iranians’ right to freedom of speech during the uprising.
8 Fought Government Corruption In Nigeria
In 2016, Anonymous declared cyber war against the Nigerian government in a fight against its corruption and lack of accountability by government officials. In an online post, the group called upon its members to take out the websites of Nigeria’s ministries of finance, foreign Affairs, and justice as well as its Federal Capital Territory Administration. In a matter of hours, those agencies’ websites were down.
Anonymous cited rampant corruption by government officials, unemployment, illiteracy, and poor health care as the reasons behind its attack. The group also promised to conduct other attacks if the Nigerian government didn’t immediately address its grievances.
7 Fought For LGBT Rights In Uganda
Anonymous has used its hacking prowess to campaign for the rights of the LGBT community on several occasions. A number of countries have made laws against LGBT people, 38 of them in Africa alone. Among the African countries involved, Uganda appears to be the worst-case scenario. Uganda is probably the first country in Africa to come close to making a law in parliament that would have gay people executed. First introduced in the Ugandan Parliament in 2009, the bill was widely referred to as “kill the gays bill.” It proposed that anyone found guilty of the offense of homosexuality should be sentenced to death.
So terrible was the Ugandan government’s disposition toward LGBT people that Anonymous was forced to intervene. The group hacked the Ugandan prime minister’s website in retaliation for the government’s stance against the LGBT community. Anonymous also cautioned the government that it would not stand by and do nothing while Uganda victimizes and abuses its LGBT citizens. The group threatened to continue to target Ugandan government websites and communication until the the country treated its LGBT community with the dignity and respects it deserves. The successful cyber attack humiliated the Ugandan government, prompting them to take measures to tighten Internet security in their country. Unfortunately, the bill was finally passed in 2014, making homosexuality punishable by life in prison instead of death.
This wasn’t the only time Anonymous has intervened to protect the LGBT community in Africa. In 2013, Anonymous took down an official Nigerian government website over the government’s intent to pass a law that could see LGBT people go to jail for up to 14 years.
6 War Against Child Pornography
One of the notable accomplishments of Anonymous is its war against child pornography and exploitation. One of the ways the group has waged war against child pornography was by exposing enterprises that provided a platform for the crime to be committed. Anonymous outed the owners and operators of Freedom Hosting for their unwavering support for child pornography, which encourages pedophiles to abduct, molest, and rape children.
In December 2007, Anonymous helped in the arrest of Chris Forcand, an Internet predator and pedophile. Forcand’s arrest was made possible by members of Anonymous posing as children online to collect evidence against child molesters. After collecting various logs of overtly sexual chats and pictures, Anonymous turned the evidence over to law enforcement Agents.
One of the group’s most notable actions against child pornography is the successful cyber attack of Lolita City, a website which enabled pedophiles to view innocent children being abused. Moreover, Anonymous published the names of 1,500 people who used the website. Aside from Lolita City, the hacking group also hacked other websites that hosted child pornography, forcing the websites to go offline. Interestingly, Anonymous’s cyber attacks on child pornography websites are well-documented. In two separate Pastebin posts, the hackers provided a timeline of events as well as methodologies used in tracking and taking down the servers.
5 Waged War Against Zimbabwe Over Its Suppression Of The Press
When Wikileaks alleged in one of its online publications that the first lady of Zimbabwe was involved in illicit diamond trade, a Zimbabwean newspaper published the report, which prompted First Lady Grace Mugabe to institute a lawsuit against the newspaper. The suit prompted Anonymous to rise in the defense of freedom of expression. The group successfully attacked Zimbabwean government websites in retaliation.
One of the websites that was hacked was the finance ministry’s. The official site of the Zimbabwean government was also hacked. The hacking group attributed the attacks to the effrontery of Zimbabwe’s government in censoring free press.
4 Supported The Arab Spring
Anonymous’s opposition of authoritarian governments came to a head during the Arab Spring. Arab nations are among the most undemocratic in the world, and Anonymous rose to the occasion during the Arab Spring.
During the Tunisian revolution, the government focused a substantial portion of its anti-revolution efforts on the Internet. The Tunisian Internet Agency began modifying web pages and arbitrarily deleting social media accounts. As if that wasn’t enough, it used the information available on its citizens’ social media accounts to track, locate, and arrest them. It was at this juncture that Anonymous intervened. The group hacked the websites of the Tunisian president and prime minister. Furthermore, they posted video tutorials online with the aim of teaching the Tunisian citizenry how to overcome government censorship.
Anonymous also launched “Operation Egypt” in response to the censorship of the Internet during that country’s revolution. Anonymous sent thousands of faxes into Egypt to keep the citizens informed of their government’s actions when Internet communication became difficult due to the intensifying government crackdown. Anonymous also attacked Egyptian government websites, taking down several.
During the Syrian revolution, the Syrian government decided that the best way to subdue the uprising was to shut out its citizens from the Internet. This, however, proved to be a costly decision, as they incurred the wrath of Anonymous in the process. The hacking group declared war on the Syrian government and made it their duty to take down all of the government’s official websites. The group also hacked the e-mail accounts of several of President Assad’s closest aids and made their content public.
3 Anonymous Versus Los Zetas
Los Zetas is a Mexican criminal syndicate that is feared for its sophisticated operation and violent crimes. On October, 6, 2011, Anonymous released a video stating that Los Zetas had kidnapped one of its members and threatened that unless the hostage was released unharmed, Anonymous would expose all the collaborators of the gang in Mexico. This single incident showed the world how much criminal organizations like Los Zetas feared Anonymous.
Immediately after the threat was made, Anonymous attacked the website of Gustavo Rosario Torres, a former Tabasco state prosecutor. His website was defaced with comments suggesting that he had links with the criminal organization. Anonymous then announced that they would expose many collaborators of Los Zetas sometime in November 2011. Los Zetas members got wind of the threat and subsequently released the hostage before the November deadline. The planned leak was immediately abandoned, possibly also due to claims that Los Zetas was hiring its own security experts to find the Anonymous members.
2 Attack On North Korea
North Korea is a rogue state whose main goal is to possess the largest nuclear weapons arsenal on Earth. The reclusive nation has no noticeable economic ambitions and nonmilitary aspirations. The North Korean government prefers to spend the foreign exchange it earns from enslaving its citizens overseas on missile tests and questionable satellite technology.
When Anonymous decided to rise to the occasion and focus its cyber-hacking capabilities on the country, the whole world responded with a standing ovation. One of the cyber attacks was motivated by a North Korean satellite launch that took place in February 2016. Anonymous shut down three North Korean websites just hours after the launch and many more in the days that followed. The aim of the cyber attack was to disrupt smooth communication with the satellite with the intent of demoralizing the authoritarian North Korean leadership and deterring them from further satellite launches.
Anonymous has had several skirmishes with North Korea, one of which happened in 2013, when the hacking group shut down some North Korean websites. The group cited North Korean authoritarianism and censorship of the Internet as grounds for the 2013 attack.
1 Declaration Of War On ISIS
Following the Paris attack that ISIS claimed responsibility for, Anonymous declared war on the terrorist organization and its supporters. Shortly afterward, they took down more than 2,000 ISIS-related social media accounts. Anonymous has taken down tens of thousands of pro-ISIS social media accounts since then.
The Brussels attack carried out by ISIS also prompted another declaration of war. Anonymous then carried out a discreet and successful bashing of ISIS on the dark net, and several ISIS websites were taken down. The terrorist organization also lost substantial amounts of digital currency during the cyber attack.
Following the Nice attack, Anonymous also released another video condemning the attack and promising to retaliate. Ever since it first declared war on the terrorist organization, Anonymous has severely hampered the capabilities of ISIS to operate online.
Jeffrey Morris is a freelance writer with a passion for finance, history, and rarities.