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We look back at some of the online pranksters’ highest-profile victims
The favorite targets of Anonymous
The mysterious group of online hacktivists known as Anonymous has a wide variety of apparent hot-button issues – which means a commensurately long list of potential enemies. Here’s a look at some of the most high-profile targets that Anonymous has gone after.
The attacker that claimed credit for taking down the commercial domain name vendor’s extensive web empire is Anonymous-affiliated, though he or she also claimed not to be acting on the group’s behalf. Nevertheless, GoDaddy has been a hate object for Anonymous since its support in late 2011 for the controversial SOPA bill, then being considered by Congress. GoDaddy now says its site problems were not the result of any hack or a distributed denial-of-service issue, but rather an internal routing issue.
Operation PedoChat, as it was called by Anonymous, took place this summer, targeting sites thought to be involved in the distribution of child pornography. However, the campaign also wound up targeting tangentially related people like Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee, whose involvement with a fan site somehow led to her becoming a hate figure among Anonymous.
Never the most popular kids on the corporate block at the best of times, oil and gas companies were targeted by Anonymous in summer 2012. Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP all saw internal documents released by hackers.
Anonymous knocked the CIA’s public website offline in February, though no internal data appears to have been stolen in this case.
Real-world protests against the secretive and litigious religion, which was founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, are among the best-known early activities of a politically focused group using the Anonymous iconography. Scientology has been heavily targeted by the online version of Anonymous, as well.
Department of Justice
After the DoJ took down popular file sharing site Megaupload.com in January, Anonymous knocked the department’s own site offline. The RIAA and MPAA were also attacked simultaneously.
Visa, MasterCard, PayPal
The detention of Bradley Manning – a U.S. soldier accused of providing classified documents to WikiLeaks – quickly became a cause celebre for Anonymous. The group attacked Visa, MasterCard and PayPal in retaliation for the companies’ decisions to stop providing services to WikiLeaks.
Anonymous, angered by Sony’s legal action against iPhone and PS3 hacker George Hotz, attacked the electronics giant’s site in April. What’s more, the group obtained personal information about Sony executives, using it to harass them at their homes. The company had been in Anonymous’ crosshairs before, over its support for SOPA.