tech2 News StaffDec 13, 2016 11:26:15 IST
Think hacker and you’ll think Anonymous. It is but natural, given the name that this hacktivist network has made for itself in the past. However, it’s important to note that not all hackers or hacktivists are associated with Anonymous.
Take the Legion group for instance. You might know them as the hackers who recently “hacked” Twitter accounts belonging to Rahul Gandhi, Barkha Dutt, Vijay Mallya and others. People have been mistakenly associating them with Anonymous. This is understandable given Anonymous’ tag-line: “We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us!”
Anonymous is a network of hackers and hacktivists that sort of share a common goal and work towards it. Anonymous takes pride in being a decentralised, leaderless organisation that “operates on ideas rather than directives” and their hacks in the past have followed that pattern.
Anonymous’ attacks on the Church of Scientology, its support for the Arab Spring movement, attacks on the WestBoro Baptist Church and others were orchestrated by its members and it’s clear that they actually had some goal in mind, on overarching purpose that drove their hacking endeavours.
Legion, on the other hand, seems to be randomly attacking targets of opportunity. In interviews given to The Washington Post and Factordaily, the group has simply stated that they have access to “over 40k servers” and “terabytes of data”.
“We don’t have a purpose, we just expose people that pop-up as potentially interesting”, a member of the group claims.
When FactorDaily asked Legion if their hacking was opportunistic, they responded saying that it was “as targeted as it gets.”
Another point of difference between the two groups is that Anonymous makes it a point to stand up for whomever they feel is the underdog, the downtrodden, the common man. Legion appears to have taken no such moral stand, or any stand for that matter.
In fact, when asked about the damage that revealing emails stored on sansad.nic.in’s servers might cause to innocents, they gleefully responded with, “If it does damage innocents – it’s their problem for using an insecure mail service.” At the same time, they claim that they’re not revealing any information from an alleged hack of Apollo hospital’s mail servers because the data would cause “chaos.”
If anything, the only person they seem to harbour any real hatred towards seems to be NDTV’s Barkha Dutt. And even in this case, they’ve not done more than hack her Twitter account and leak emails that they acquired when they allegedly siphoned the aforementioned “terabytes of data” from the servers they claim to have hacked. There was nothing targeted about it.
Oh, and they’re yet to take down Lalit Modi’s Twitter account, who’s probably done nothing more than change his password and add two-factor authentication to protect himself.
— Lalit Kumar Modi (@LalitKModi) December 11, 2016
The beauty of Anonymous’ structure, or lack of thereof, is that any group can claim to be associated with them, however.
Take Isis for instance: While the core Isis leadership might be based on Syria or wherever else, nothing is stopping any terrorist organisation from claiming to be affiliated to Isis and waving its flag around. Isis might even condone the action; it's free publicity after all. And before anyone gets all hot and bothered by the comparison, we're not saying that Anonymous or Legion are terrorist organisations.
Today, Legion seems to have no purpose; but tomorrow they might and that will probably be the day we see Anonymous extending its hand in partnership.