Female member of Anonymous explains what it is like to be a part of the worldwide hacktivist group
Anonymous – The name generates awe in some while others view it with derision as being a group of script kiddies. Anonymous is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities. It has no central leadership and can be loosely termed as a Internet gathering of like minded people. Anonymous began from a 4Chan board in 2003 and went on to become world’s premier hacktivism group. They have had their successes and misses in online campaigns and are famous for their DDoS attacks on corporate websites.
Their latest flagship campaign which is underway is #OpISIS against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This campaign was announced after the gruesome killings of innocent bystanders at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris and was reinvigorated after the Paris and Brussels terror attacks. Under this campaign, Anonymous hacktivists have brought down thousands of ISIS linked websites and got Twitter and Facebook to ban propaganda pages belonging to ISIS affiliates.
What does it feel to a member of such an organisation. A female member of GhostSec, which is affiliated to Anonymous and a vital partner in #OpISIS, spoke to Huffington Post about how it feels to a female member of the hacktivist group.
The female hacker who chose to remain unnamed said that she was from United States and was working in computer field. When asked about how she felt working with GhostSec, she notes that, “I absolutely love my participation in GhostSec. When there’s something like this happening around the world (terrorism), I have trouble sitting on the sidelines. I’m happy to be involved in the fight against ISIS.”
She also confirmed about the shift in hacking tactics of Anonymous after the Paris attacks. “Currently, we are more focused on intel collection than on shutting websites down. So, we scour the Internet social media, websites and the Darknet for terrorist activity. We then analyse data for threats, propaganda, etc. Any actionable intel is sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency,” she said.
Anonymous has been at the forefront of reporting terrorists related social media accounts of Facebook and Twitter. However, now there is a automated service which looks after that, the hacker noted,
“We no longer deal with reporting social media accounts. There are automated services, such as CtrlSec, which do that. So, that frees us up for intel collection. When I collect intel I usually leave the site up so that law enforcement can also analyse it and then they can shut the site down,” she said.
“Particularly egregious terror sites we shut down immediately due to the imminent danger they present. Terrorist sites that recruit fall under this category,” the hacker added.
The female hacker joined GhostSec and Anonymous after they launched #OpISIS, “I started helping them shortly after GhostSec joined #OpISIS. I was impressed with them and the work that they did and eventually ended up joining,” she notes.
When asked about how it feels to a female hacker, she said this about preconception of female hackers around the world, “Not that I’m aware of. People are a little more curious about it. But, I haven’t observed any discrimination of female hackers.”
When asked of her final words to describe Anonymous, she noted,
“One thing a lot of people seem to not be aware of is that Anonymous is a collective made up of many different groups and individuals with viewpoints across the political spectrum.
Often people are puzzled when they read that Anonymous has done something that seems totally opposite of the collective’s philosophy. There is no one philosophy, really.
There are a variety of viewpoints and causes.”