Anonymous has made a lot of headlines of late. While it was actively involved in a number of online campaigns against different organizations as well as governments, it has recently faced a major setback when one of the well-known Anonymous hackers, Sabu, turned out to be an FBI snitch. As if refusing to admit that they will back down, a number of Anonymous members have now spoken out publicly at the SXSW conference.
Gregg Housh is one of the very few people who admit that they are associated to Anonymous and yet are not afraid of publicly speaking about it. Other Anonymous members are not afraid as such but they tend to guard their identity. Housh was invited to talk at the SXSW conference where he openly spoke about the damage Sabu’s arrest has done and the ramifications it is having on other Anonymous members.
Speaking about the night when Sabu’s true identity was revealed to the world, and to Anonymous members, Housh said, “That night, after everyone found out, it was a bit chilling. That switched. A lot of people we hadn’t seen for months, or years, started showing up. An attack [on some sites by Anonymous] happened that night. It just angered them, not frightened them.” Many have speculated that FBI purposefully deployed Sabu to carry on some of the most notorious attacks associated with Anonymous, probably to defame the outfit and lure its members into FBI’s trap.
Two other Anonymous members, supporting Guy Fawkes masks, which are now a trademark of the hacktivist group, also spoke on the occasion. One was the director of the documentary ‘We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists’.
These members also admitted that since Anonymous is an open group, anyone can claim to be Anonymous and defame it by indulging in notorious online activities. According to ‘Anonymous 9000’ who spoke on the occasion, “That’s the double-edged sword of Anonymous. Anyone can claim the name of Anonymous and do whatever they want. If anyone wants to make Anonymous look bad … it’s easy to do.”
However, these members spelled out the beauty of an organization that transcended borders, boundaries and countries. And whose members purportedly claim to be working for humane goals. Housh and others also stated that they did feel Sabu’s activities as being suspicious while his identity wasn’t revealed yet. He would disappear for days and then return and launch attacks which were somewhat fundamentally contrary to what Anonymous believed in.
But, all these Anonymous members unanimously declared that Anonymous has been instrumental in the Arab Spring Movement as well as the Occupy movements. Members sporting Guy Fawkes masks joined hands with the protesters and if the forces tried to use inhumane tactics, they would leak their personal information online.
One thing is for sure and that may prove to be hard bite for FBI too. That Sabu’s arrest has done anything but intimidated Anonymous. Rather, Anonymous members now consider arrest a likely possibility and are quite ready to face up to that reality and still work for the group and with the group. When asked about Sabu’s arrest and the impact it will have, Housh was of the opinion, “I don’t think anything is going to change.”
Image courtesy raincoaster.