The Hacktivist group is back from the shadows. But what makes them come back now?
The death of George Floyd has sparked protests across the globe. Particularly in the USA, where violent protests are now a routine. Police have extensively increased their use of force and the National Guard has been deployed in over 15 states. Another preventive measure against the increasing visuals of police-versus-protesters is dominating social media, and that is the night-time curfew which has been ordered in over a dozen cities.
The protests have witnessed a new, creative phase that aims at a greater impact. People are coming out on horses and even in Batman costumes. But out of all, the one identity which stood out was the infamous Guy Fawkes mask. Could the portrayal of the Fawkes mask in public be a signal of Anonymous’s comeback?
Anonymous is known for its various cyber attacks on government, government organizations, and agencies. The origin of the group is unknown to the public as it has its reach in almost every part of the globe.
In a video that surfaced online on 30th May, Anonymous speaks of how justice will be served to those involved in Floyd’s death. It arraigns the Minneapolis police for “horrific track record of violence and corruption” which was explicitly targeted on local officers. It further adds, “Officers who kill people and commit other crimes need to be held accountable just like the rest of us otherwise they will believe that they have a license to do whatever they want.”
The 1.17-minute-long video ends with the statement, “Unfortunately, we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice so we will expose your many crimes to the world.”
Shortly after the video went viral, the webpage of Minneapolis City went offline. The website of the Minneapolis Police Department appeared to go offline. It may be a DDoS attack like the ones that Anonymous has carried out in their earlier works. Another legitimate reason behind this is the traffic on the web pages, which was very high as people were visiting the website to check the whereabouts of Floyd’s death.
Flooding conversations on Social Media
Conversations are flooding on social media and especially on Twitter where the most prominent Anonymous account, which uses the handle @YourAnonNews, has tweeted a range of posts offering support to the protesters. With a spark of conversations being built on various platforms, thousands have come to the aid of the protestors and Anonymous.
A researcher, Gabriella Coleman who has been extensively writing about Anonymous and its activities over the years, recognized that most of the supporters appear to be K-Pop (Korean Pop) fans who are now prominently tweeting using the hashtag ‘Black lives matter’. Other than the mass support, there have been reports that they have taken down an app created by the Dallas Police, notes Gabriella.
What is next for Anonymous?
On 31 May, American rapper Elijah Daniel tweeted, “Anonymous has now been hacking Chicago PD radios all night and playing polka music and Fuck The Police so the cops can’t communicate about protests LMFAO”
Another suspicious activity which resurfaced online is linked with the #OPDeathEaters. This online campaign dates back to 2018-2019 which was related to the trafficking and sadist industries.
Now, the campaign released documents involving the President of USA Donald Trump. The content of these pictures and documents are yet to be verified as they had been shared a few years back.
Looking into the various things that Anonymous has performed, it looks like the group has been planning for something bigger and grander. The supposed re-emergence of Anonymous comes alongside the rising anger and frustration against the Trump administration’s handling of the protests and protestors.
With the cops resorting to using tear gas and running over protestors in their vehicles, the hacktivist group is surely in for something much more impactful and long-lasting.