Anonymous, a decentralized international hacktivist movement, has gained national attention for its many cyberattacks against governments, government institutions, and government agencies. Anonymous is a collective of anonymous people who resist injustice and oppression. It was formed in 2003 on the forum 4chan. But what exactly is the main objective of Anonymous? In order to answer this question, this article will examine the motives of individuals active in Anonymous as well as their role in the hacking and dark web communities.

The world seems to have mixed reviews on Anonymous. A large number feel they are a helpful group, especially when it’s perceived that local authorities are unable or unwilling to tackle injustice or to fulfill their duties to the public.¹

On the surface, it seems the pursuit of equality, justice, and freedom from injustice are what drive Anonymous. But how altruistic are they? They appear to be committed to using their efforts to advance these principles and see freedom of speech and privacy as fundamental human rights. As a result, they’ve developed into one of the most potent organizations in the hacking scene. Part of what contributes to their notoriety is that they’ve introduced novel tactics and strategies that have been used to carry out effective cyber-attacks. LulzSec, TeaMp0isoN, Operation Payback, and other hacker groups are connected to Anonymous.

Anonymous and its Role in the Hacking Community

Although Anonymous is most known as a hacker collective with their own set of rules and objectives, they are also a rather well-organized organization of hacktivists. They are a well known group mostly because they are they are renowned for carrying out attacks against governments, government institutions, and government organizations, which has had a significant effect on the hacking world. Of course, it’s probably not as glamorous as it appears on the surface considering the risks associated associated with these activities. Nonetheless, due to Anonymous’ high notoriety, other hackers for hire have begun to learn from their success, develop their abilities, and carry out comparable assaults. By showcasing their successes and motivating others within the community, they have even helped to increase the knowledge and intelligence of the hacking community. Overall, Anonymous has had a significant impact on the field of hacking.

Anonymous and the Dark Web

Whether its portrayal through popular media is accurate or not, the dark web seems to be a hub for Anonymous and similar hacktivist groups. It should be pointed out that Anonymous is not an official collective, but a loosely knit group of hackers around the world, and its numbers are always in flux . This said, it’s common knowledge that some anonymous hackers are also present on the dark web. The dark web is accessed through the Tor network and is mainly used for illegal activities such as online drug sales and money laundering, or at least, so we’re told. Anonymous has used this platform, due to the way Tor shields identities, to launch cyberattacks against various targets, such as government institutions and corporations. By using the dark web, Anonymous can remain in the shadows while launching their attacks, which allows them to operate without fear of being identified or tracked down by law enforcement. Depending on whom you ask, the presence of Anonymous on the dark web has had both positive and negative implications. On the one hand, it has enabled them to remain anonymous while carrying out their attacks, like those against Russian state media during the invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, it has also increased the risk of criminal activity being carried out on the dark web.

In Summary

Through their cyberattacks against governments, government institutions, and businesses, Anonymous aims to combat injustice, oppression, and censorship. Not everybody is convinced. Some of their activities appear to be purely malicious or self aggrandizing with no consideration of the impact upon the ordinary person. Anonymous has had a significant impact on the cybersecurity industry by introducing new methods and tools to the hacking community, which white hat hackers race to anticipate or patch. Additionally, their presence on the dark web has increased the amount of criminal activity that takes place there. It is obvious that Anonymous’ motivations are based on a desire for justice and fairness. Through their various cyberattacks against those who seek to repress others or restrict their right to free speech, they are dedicated to advancing these values.

[1] Ireland, Leanna. “We are all (not) Anonymous: Individual-and country-level correlates of support for and opposition to hacktivism.” New Media & Society (2022): 14614448221122252.