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ANONYMOUS: Behind the mask, inside the Hivemind

Where and who are the Anons? Everywhere and everyone

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Obeying the rules is up to you

Outside of a handful of the most permissive corners of the internet, absolute uncensored freedom of speech isn't seen as a sacred right. If an Anon says or does something to offend the powers that be, that is their own fault. The result is often getting banned (b&) or vanned (v&)3.

Anon3 )) Anons are willing to break the law to a point. Nobody wants to go to jail though.

Anon3 )) Most of the time any attack that happens is a bunch of people that feel strongly about something, like our government cracking down on file sharing.

With the exception of unique corner cases, the bulk of Anonymous will not intervene. Quite the opposite: Anonymous will point, laugh and create various pictures depicting what it sees as your incompetence. A frequent theme will be actions that could have been undertaken to avoid the repercussions of your speech or actions.

That isn't to say that Anonymous won't respond to attempts to prevent individual Anons from expressing themselves. While many of the hacktivist tactics – DDoSes, fax abuse or hacking – are considered over the line by some Anons, the judicious application of these tools will still find wide support.

Trevor )) What about things like black faxes, blocking access to businesses?

Anon2 )) That's just funny :)

When a response from a target is desired, most Anons turn to trolling. Trolling is Anonymous's favourite sport, most refined art and sacred duty. Anonymous will troll people online as well as in the real world. Ban enough Anons from your forum and you may well be on the receiving end of trolling from dozens or hundreds of individual Anons.

Regardless of the methodology employed, attempts to stem the tide will usually prove ineffective. Anonymous is the ultimate example of crowdsourcing. Deny them access in any way and what were a few dozen Anons causing a minor annoyance will quickly become hundreds or thousands of people dedicated to finding a way around your security so that they may have their say.

In it for the lulz

Anon2 )) There is always lulz within anonymous :)

When trolling, everyone is fair game, including other Anons. A group of Anons who frequent one site may venture into the digital home of another group of Anons for a little friendly warfare. Those who have irritated Anonymous, or even completely random strangers, are all potential targets.

Individual Anons participating in organised activities (called "raids") vary depending on the cause. Some Anons will raid forums, chat rooms, businesses, or multiplayer video games for the lulz.

Many Anons won't bother with this sort of randomness. There are Anons who don't take part in directed or retaliatory raids, and those that respond to every slight. Each Anon finds satisfaction and lulz from different activities.

Trevor )) Where do you personally draw the line between "lulz" and "over the line of fail?"

Anon2 )) Haha, good question, and one that would get 1,000 answers if you asked 1,000 people.

Anon2 )) Anything that includes physical harm or damage.

Anon2)) People are in it for the lulz. Anonymous still is, and will be for a long time, lulz for the dedicated people that are still involved and for the new people that still join in today.

But this sort of chicanery is only scratching the surface of Anonymous' motivations. Anonymous is the sum of its parts, and it is composed of individual Anons. These individuals will collect under the banner of Anonymous to participate in as wide an array of activities for as wide an array of reasons as can be imagined.

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