On April 1st, 2016, the cyber group Anonymous struck yet again, threatening to declare war on GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Anonymous, a loose correlation of internet hackers, has built a reputation on punishing those who are corrupt. In the past, that has included police, terrorist organizations, and even entire governments. The group has been interpreted as both cyber terrorists and the Robin Hoods of the internet.
Although it was officially created in 2003, Anonymous just began gaining the public’s attention over the last three years for its frequent participation in US affairs. It was in their protest of the Church of Scientology in 2008 that they begin to cultivate the image they have today. The protest, known as Operation Chanology, distinguished them from 4chan, the website they originated from. It was then that it became apparent that they were a bit more serious than 4chan, which focused mostly on pranks and internet memes. In lieu of that protest, Anonymous adopted its iconic Guy Fawkes mask and, with it, a new mentality focused on punishing those who wrong others in the world.
In early March, the group took on a new target: Donald Trump. In a video posted online to it’s audience, it featured a masked representative from the American branch who claimed “you say what your current audience wants to hear, but in reality you don’t stand for anything except your personal greed and power.” Ever since the video was released, these internet vigilantes have had their sights set on the Republican front runner Donald Trump, declaring full out war on him. Members all over the world have been hacking into and sabotaging Trump’s sites. One person even released his personal information, including the phone numbers of his family members as well as his social security number. This April Fool’s day, there was expected to be a huge attack of some sort, yet it proved to be anti climatic.
However, the Secret Service, who has been searching for the Anonymous members involved ever since they initially declared war on Trump early this March, remains on guard. They continue their partnership with the FBI in pursuit of those who threaten Trump.
As much as the US government tries though, it is doubtful that a group which has a track record of evading punishment from institutions all over the world will be shut down from this mere incident. For more than a decade now, Anonymous has remained resilient under the attacks of opponents range as wide as official governments to terrorist organizations. Yet, can the world trust a group such as them that runs on its own justice system with such international influence? If the group manages to outsmart the US government, perhaps it will bring awareness to Anonymous’ increasing power and bring clout to the danger the group poses worldwide.