It’s everywhere. We’ve all seen it. Headlines in technology, cyber security, national security, politics, and more all seem to be ridden with this mysterious name: “Anonymous.” The image of a faceless figure wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, or the group’s unofficial logo of a headless suit with a question mark over it, have become familiar—and chilling—images.

But what does Anonymous actually represent?

The short version, via Wikipedia: “Anonymous is a loosely associated hacktivist group. It originated in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain”

If that definition sounds a bit general, that’s because it is. Classified as a “decentralized affinity group,” Anonymous is comprised of anyone acting under the name. As the “hacktivist” moniker suggests, members use the alias for purposes of protest and vigilantism against internet censorship, surveillance, civil and human rights violations.  Vocal supporters of file-sharing websites like megaupload, devoted Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, and violently opposed to institutions they perceive as homophobic, the group has a definite agenda and an extremist attitude that inspires some, and frightens many.

Whatever their stance, however, their tactics are undeniably illegal.  Notable Anonymous hacks include high-profile Facebook and Twitter accounts, including Westboro Baptist Church, and several government websites, including the Pentagon and most recently, the Federal Reserve and the United States Sentencing Commission.

Obviously, we at Keeper want to keep the internet safe and secure for everyone. What do you think? Is hacking ever justified?

 

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