This summer the hacker group Anonymous lost a great deal of whatever support their organization had as they allegedly took down the online payment and invoicing service PayPal hitting the average user hard as they tried to transfer funds or access money on deposit.
(Read PayPal Cyber Attack Arrests)
But the latest news about them is that they used recently used their talents to fight the forces of evil online.
Anonymous is taking credit for taking down more than 40 child pornography websites. Their campaign “Operation Darknet” began mid October when they decided to enter the dark forces of the web world called “darknet” and bring the actions there to light.
Darnet is a part of the Internet that is hidden, deliberately concealed, offering services like fake ID’s, steroids, prank calling and ironically hacking tips.
Finding a site titled “Hard Candy” while browsing the Hidden Wiki we noticed a section called Hard Candy which was dedicated to links to child pornography. We then removed all links on the website, within 5 minutes the links were edited back in by an admin. For this reason, we will continue to make the Hidden Wiki unavailable. (taken from their timeline of events) They then decided to dig deeper into the dark underworld of the Internet and found “Freedom Hosting.”
Freedom Hosting “free” no more
The hackers affiliated with Anonymous warned the Freedom Hosting to take down the child pornography and issued a deadline. When they failed to do so, the hackers did it for them. Several hours later, the site was back up again only to be taken down again.
Anonymous issued the following demand statement of which this is an excerpt
“The owners and operators at Freedom Hosting are openly supporting child pornography and enabling pedophiles to view innocent children, fueling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape and death,” the message said. “For this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One. By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100 GB of child pornography. We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting’s server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.”
See the full timeline of events and their demands in this Pastebin post.
Apparently Anonymous doesn’t take child pornography lightly, because not only did the take the sites down but they also released the names of of some 1500 registered users in a Pastebin post, on these sites. This isn’t the first time that this organization has hackattacked a website contrary to their agenda. Among those they have accessed are the New York Stock Exchange, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Recording Industry Association of America and government sites in Malaysia, Egypt, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Let’s just hope they continue to don their “white hats” as they hactevate across the web. I don’t think anyone would like to encounter another holiday season where they had to worry about what they may do next to popular online service and shopping sites.
(Read WikiLeaks may be spilling into your online holiday shopping and bill paying plans)
Their parting “shot”
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
What do you think? Are they the "good guys" or the "bad guys" or the new online anti-hero?