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A look into Anonymous‘ most recent cyber protest

By Lory Martinez

OP USA Poster

Infamous hacker group “Anonymous” threatened a massive cyber attack on US servers earlier this week  to protest American foreign policy. The plan, dubbed #OP USA, was to be Anonymous’ successful follow-up to #OP Israel, but it did little to no damage to US sites.

According to the group’s press release, “#OpUSA will be initiated on 7th of May 2013 and will target American websites & servers. The hackers say they are targeting the USA for its war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The hackers also said the attacks will be done in solidarity with the innocent victims of american drone attacks especially the innocent children.”

However,the plan backfired and instead reinforced relations between the groups’ victims-the US and Israel- in cyberspace. The Times of Israel reported that Israeli hackers promised to fight alongside American cyber-defenders, if the need should arise. The Israel Elite Hacker team, formed in the wake of #OpIsrael, tweeted, “This is a message from the Jewish Nation to our friends in the #USA,” the group said. “Although we have cowards for leaders, we take care of our friends!”

In the states, our cultural response had less of a “friends stick together” feel. It was simply a matter of memes:

The Internet reacts to #OPUSA

Some food for thought, from all of us here at The Media Review.

A note: Even though the semester is over and our show ended this past week, we will still be bringing you updates and commentary on the media well into the summer. Thanks for listening and reading!

De facto flag for the Anonymous group. Español...

De facto flag for the Anonymous group.  nonymous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A look into the group some are calling the “Internet Robin Hood”

by Lory Martinez

In early April, hacker group Anonymous, the so-called “internet-vigilante/digilante” group that has launched several international hacking campaigns against governments and organizations, hacked several hundred Israeli websites and a number of twitter accounts as a part of a campaign called: #OPIsrael in protest against Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Their goal? To erase Israel from cyberspace.

One spokesperson for the group tweeted at an Israeli official, “It would be wise of you to expect us.” An announcement on their website said, “Stop bombing Gaza. Millions of Israelis and Palestinians are lying awake, exposed and terrified.”

In effect, no harm was done to anyone in “real life.” Even so, it made for an intriguing back- and- forth twitter war between Anonymous and Israeli officials about exactly how much damage was actually done to Israel’s cyber identity.

Weeks later, the same group launched a campaign against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, defacing social media accounts and North Korean websites. They also propogated an image of Kim Jong Un as a pig, all over the internet. As of April 15, the group still has control over several Pyongyang Twitter accounts.

Now there is much to be said for this particular type of cyber-attack. Aside from Anonymous’ previous governmental website hacks, which border on a national security issue, these are policy protests that make a statement about the level of influence cyberspace can have, on, say, something as large and influential as a country. The threat of erasing Israel from Cyberspace caused more than just server inconveniences. These hackers are making their voices heard by typing away on a keyboard. A sign of the times? Or a cautionary tale for governments in the future?