Anonymous Hacktivism

Anonymous’s war on ISIS has brought some startling results.

Connor Lowe, Columnist

Anonymous, if you haven’t heard of it, is a group of what the press calls “Hacktivists.” It’s a term coined especially to describe their special blend of cyberterrorism and vigilante spirit. As the name implies, they’re entirely anonymous, and take great pains to hide their identity. While their intentions are good, they’ve garnered a bit of a bad reputation all over the Internet and are routinely mocked by influential Internet denizens such as Randall Munroe.

Since the attack on the French magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” Anonymous has been on a crusade against ISIS. On Friday, Feb. 6, Anonymous sent a threatening message to ISIS. “You will be treated like a virus. We are the cure. We own the Internet.”

Despite their flair for melodrama, Anonymous made good on their promise, targeting and revealing “more than 800 Twitter accounts, 12 Facebook accounts, and 500 email addresses linked to ISIS.” Facebook took down 11 of the 12 profiles, saying that they violated their rules, but Twitter declined to comment.

Anonymous’s progress seems superficial at best. What could be gained by taking down Twitter accounts? Surely the members of Anonymous could turn their attention toward much more productive. I’m no great computer expert, but I’m sure that they could do more – say, expose the people operating the accounts or infect their computers with trojans in order to gain information on ISIS. It makes me wonder – is Anonymous doing this because it’s helpful, or because it’s good press?

It’s questionable what they would do with such publicity, however. I’m not much of a plotter, so I’m not qualified to predict. And I suppose it doesn’t matter, anyway – as long as they’re helping, it doesn’t matter why.

I do know that I’ll be waiting eagerly for news. Anything involving Anonymous is sure to be interesting.