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Anonymous (hacker group)

Decentralized hacktivist group / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Anonymous is a decentralized international activist and hacktivist collective and movement primarily known for its various cyberattacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations and the Church of Scientology.

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Decentralized affinity group

Anonymous originated in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an "anarchic", digitized "global brain" or "hivemind".[2][3][4] Anonymous members (known as anons) can sometimes be distinguished in public by the wearing of Guy Fawkes masks in the style portrayed in the graphic novel and film V for Vendetta.[5] Some anons also opt to mask their voices through voice changers or text-to-speech programs.

Dozens of people have been arrested for involvement in Anonymous cyberattacks in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa,[6] Spain, India, and Turkey. Evaluations of the group's actions and effectiveness vary widely. Supporters have called the group "freedom fighters"[7] and digital Robin Hoods,[8] while critics have described them as "a cyber lynch-mob"[9] or "cyber terrorists".[10] In 2012, Time called Anonymous one of the "100 most influential people" in the world.[11] Anonymous' media profile diminished by 2018,[12][13] but the group re-emerged in 2020 to support the George Floyd protests and other causes.[14][15]