It’s easy to think of the hacking group Anonymous as a group of punk troublemakers, raising hell online.
Some have even debated whether their extra-legal protests should be labeled terrorist acts .
But that would overlook some of the genuinely good deeds the group – whose members identify themselves with the Vendetta mask – has done.
Whether it’s retaliating against kiddie porn sites, helping to identify Chinese military cyber-attacks, or targeting the digital properties of various hate groups, Anonymous can sometimes be a force for good.
1. Just this month, Anonymous launched “Operation Free Korea”. The group’s efforts are to “resign the controversial Prime Minister Kim Jong Un,” “introduce liberal democracy,” “abandon nuclear ambitions,” and allow citizens to “uncensored Internet access.” On April 3, Anonymous released all 15,000 usernames and passwords for government web services and threatened to erase the data.
2. The Steubenville Rape case, in which images of high school victims were disseminated on social media, clearly received a lot of attention earlier this year. Anonymous has released criminal videos, tweets, and emails belonging to the accused players of the school soccer team.
3. On August 13, 2012, tensions were heightened as Ugandan law became increasingly intolerant of LGBT issues. Anonymous protested and tampered with two Ugandan government sites.
4. Operation DarkNet was a group campaign for child pornography in October 2011. Porngraphers were so effective at using technology to hide themselves that Anonymous used technology to get them out of business.
5. The Westboro Baptist Church is notorious for hatred and intolerance. Anonymous successfully protested and removed the Westboro Baptist Church website in February 2011.
6. Anonymous released user information from major hacking forums in February 2011. Security company Mandiant was able to use this data to correlate cyberattacks against the Chinese military and the United States this year.
7. From January 2008, Anonymous launched “Project Chanology”, an attack on the Church of Scientology, a cult-like religion allegedly implying members of the dissidents. They launched a denial of service attack on the organization’s website, gamed the link-sharing site Digg to make the anti-Scientology page more prominent, and even physically protested many church events. ..
8. In December 2006, Anonymous removed the website of Hal Turner, the host of white supremacist radio shows. As a result of the attack, Turner paid a very high bandwidth fee and withdrew the proceedings a year later.