What is Anonymous?

What is Anonymous

Anonymous is a collective loosely organized over the Internet consisting of hackers and activists. The Guy Fawkes mask has established itself as the group’s identifying mark and symbol. Anonymous stands up for freedom rights and fights against right-wing extremism. Actions and operations take place online and offline. Anonymous became known through actions against Scientology, the Islamic State, or the Ku Klux Klan, among others.

What is Anonymous?

Anonymous is the name of a collective of activists and hackers organized over the Internet. The group has no hierarchy and no leader. Very talented hackers have joined the group. Anonymous originated via Internet image boards such as 4chan, through which posts, comments, and images can be posted and shared anonymously, unmoderated, and uncensored.

Members also communicate via other Internet forums, encrypted chats, or wikis. Social networks such as Facebook play a subordinate role in communication.

There is no specific date when the group was founded. It emerged in the years from around 2005. The Guy Fawkes mask from the film “V for Vendetta” has become established as a symbol and identifying mark for Anonymous. In this film, the masked protagonist Guy Fawkes fights against an oppressive regime. Members and sympathizers of the group often wear this mask.

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Anonymous identifies with the values of freedom of expression and fights against extreme right-wing attitudes. Anyone who also identifies with these values can become a member of the collective. The first actions of Anonymous took place in the year 2008. Activities and operations are carried out both online and offline. Anonymous is known, for example, for its actions against Scientology or the Ku Klux Klan. Pedophile rings have also been exposed by the group. In 2015, Anonymous declared digital war on the Islamic State.

Anonymous’ mission statement and goals

Anonymous’ mission statement is: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.” Anonymous also follows the principle “knowledge is free”. All the activities of the collective are carried out with good intentions. Anonymous sees the justification of its activities as rooted in injustice and the ills of humanity.

Anonymous positions itself with its principles for freedoms, human rights, and the independence of the Internet, as well as against right-wing extremism. Activities of the group are also directed against censorship on the Internet and against state censorship.

Some exemplary actions and operations of Anonymous

Since 2008, Anonymous has carried out numerous actions. The group refers to large-scale actions or hacks as operations. Below are some exemplary actions and operations of the collective:

  • 2008 Project Chanology: targeting Scientology – blocking Scientology website.
  • 2010 Attack on credit card companies for blocking WikiLeaks accounts.
  • 2011 Operation DarkNet: campaign against child pornography
  • 2011 Exposure of numerous members and supporters of the Ku Klux Klan
  • 2012 Shutdown of Ugandan government organizations’ websites due to the passage of laws discriminating against homosexuals, transgender, and bisexuals
  • 2012 Vatican website blocked due to attitudes toward contraception and abortion
  • 2014 Attack on Israeli intelligence due to Israel’s actions in the Gaza conflict
  • 2015 Declaration of digital war against the Islamic State – hack of several thousand accounts close to the IS
  • 2021 Takeover of numerous websites and channels of the conspiracy ideologue Attila Hildmann.