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Anonymous is an ad-hoc group of Internet users who are often associated with various hacktivist operations, including protests against Internet censorship, Scientology and government corruption.
Users of the anonymous image board 4chan, launched in late 2003, began using the term “Anonymous” when referring to themselves as a collective. User registration is not required on the site and users who do not identify themselves are given the label “Anonymous.” In 2004, a 4chan administration manipulated the site to force every user to be displayed as “Anonymous,” which perpetuated the notion that users of the site was part of an anonymous group.
The Great Habbo Raid
The Great Habbo Raid was an online raid in 2006 organized by Anonymous against racist mods on the now defunct social networking site Habbo Hotel. The raid spawned the Pool’s Closed meme, inspired by participants who blocked off access to the game’s pool.
Project Chanology is a series of protest movements launched against the Church of Scientology in January of 2008 by members of Anonymous. The project began in response to the church’s attempts to have video clips removed from the Internet featuring an interview with Scientologist Tom Cruise.
Operation Lioncash is a graffiti practice initiated by the online group Anonymous in April of 2008, which involves drawing a lion face emoticon (“”) over portraits on banknotes and releasing them back into circulation. According to its mission statement, the purpose of the global operation is to convert all regional currencies into Lioncash.
Operation Teaspoon was a campaign started in July of 2010 against the Oregon Tea Party for using the Anonymous slogan “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” Prior to its usage in bumper stickers, the slogan had been seen on protest signs and as the official description on the Tea Party Patriots website. Anonymous members retaliated by spamming the Oregon Tea Party Facebook with memetic catchphrases like “desu” and “derp”.
Operation Payback was a series of DDoS attacks organized by Anonymous that started on September 17th, 2010 against major entertainment industry websites such as the websites for the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.
After the Sony Corporation pursued legal action against the hackers George Hotz and Egorenkov, a contingent within Anonymous networks began attacking Sony-branded websites in a campaign named Operation Sony in April of 2011.
Operation Antisec (a.k.a Operation Anti-Security, #antisec) was an international hacktivist campaign launched by a coalition of Anonymous hackers including former members of Lulzsec. The operation officially began with the attacks against the United Kingdom’s Serious Organized Crime Agency in June of 2011.
Google+ Ban & Anonymous Social Network
In July of 2011, the “Your Anon News” page was banned from Google’s new social networking service Google Plus on the grounds that “some of the posted content violates the company’s Community Standards.”
Following the ban, Anonymous announced via one of its Tumblr sites that the group will build its own social network called “AnonPlus,” a presumably anonymous social networking service with “no fear of censorship, of blackout, nor of holding back.” Currently, AnonPlus.com displays the following message:
In July of 2011, a video titled “Message from Anonymous: Operation Facebook, Nov 5 2011” was uploaded to YouTube which claimed that the social networking site Facebook would be destroyed by Anonymous on November 5th, 2011 (shown below).
Operation BART (#OpBART) is an Anonymous hacktivist campaign that was launched against San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) websites following its disruption of cellphone services in select subway stations in August of 2011. According to the group’s press release, the BART authorities disabled cellphone signals on its stations on August 11th, 2011 after receiving reports about a planned protest over fatal shootings of passengers by transit security officers.
Operation Darknet was the codename for a series of DDoS attacks starting in October of 2011, which were carried out by Anonymous against Lolita City, a child pornography sharing website that is accessible in anonymity via The Tor Project’s encrypted service.
Operation Invade Wallstreet
Operation Invade Wall Street was a contentious hacktivist campaign launched in October of 2011 by a faction within Anonymous with the objective of bringing down the New York Stock Exchange website through distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests. From the beginning, the ambitious plan was met with skepticism regarding its authenticity and effectiveness and the proposed cyber attack never materialized.
Operation Megaupload is a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) campaign launched by online hacktivist group Anonymous in retaliation against the U.S. Justice Department’s seizure and closure of file-hosting service Megaupload in January 2012. On the day of launch, 10 high-profile government and music industry websites were reportedly brought down, which was described as “one of the largest scale cyber attacks ever carried out” by an Anonymous-affiliated channel @Anonops.
Operation Save the Arctic
The Operation Save the Arctic campaign launched in June of 2012 by leaking internal data allegedly obtained from the Exxon Mobil Corporation by members of Anonymous in support of the Greenpeace Save the Arctic campaign.
Operation Kinder is a prank orchestrated by Anonymous members in November of 2012, who encouraged other posters to vote for a child model nicknamed “Victor” in an online contest which would choose an image of a child to be displayed on the boxes of Kinder chocolate bars in Kazakhstan.
Operation Israel, also known as #OpIsrael, is an Anonymous hacktivist campaign started in November of 2012 seeking to protest the Israeli Defense Forces’ Operation Pillar of Defense by taking down Israeli government websites through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Operation Last Resort
Operation Last Resort was a campaign launched in retaliation of the United States Justice Department’s persecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz prior to his suicide. During the course of the operation, the United States Sentencing Commission was defaced and Anonymous threatened to release “warhead” files containing sensitive information about individuals in the Justice Department.
In December of 2012, an offshoot group of Anonymous known as KnightSec became involved in the Steubenville rape case by hacking into the football team’s website and replacing the page with a video message warning that the group would release personal information for every student and staff member involved in the case unless an apology was issued to the victim. Operation RollRedRoll was launched on December 23rd, named after the Steubenville High School football fan site RollRedRoll.com.
Internet Hate Machine
The Internet Hate Machine is a term initially used by a Los Angeles news station to describe Anonymous, which has since been co-opted as an inside joke by members of the group. The label can be seen as a testament to the perception gap between outsiders who may feel that Anonymous actions are carried out of sadistic pleasure and insiders of the group who insist they’re done for the lulz, or one’s comedic enjoyment.
The Exploding Van comes from a summer report video on Anonymous by Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV Fox 11, featuring stock footage of an exploding yellow van to illustrate Anonymous danger and warn people about their “domestic terrorism”.
The Party Van is a nickname for the vehicle used by FBI agents and is often referenced to indicate that an Internet user is in danger of being arrested.
Tabby is an Internet celebrity who rose to fame on 4chan’s /b/ board. She is currently a YouTube partner, and makes videos on the Tabbs24x7 and Tabbs24x7Official YouTube channels.