As the United States deals with widespread civil unrest across dozens of cities, “hacktivist” group Anonymous has returned from the shadows.
The hacker collective was once a regular fixture in the news, targeting those it accused of injustice with cyber-attacks.
After years of relative quiet, it appears to have re-emerged in the wake of violent protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, promising to expose the “many crimes” of the city’s police to the world.
However, it’s not easy to pin down what, if anything, is genuinely the mysterious group’s work. The “hacktivist” collective has no face, and no leadership. Its tagline is simply “we are legion”, referring to its allegedly large numbers of individuals.
Without any central command structure, anyone can claim to be a part of the group. This also means that members can have wildly different priorities, and there is no single agenda.
But generally, they are activists, taking aim at those they accuse of misusing power. They do so in very public ways, such as hijacking websites or forcing them offline.
Their symbol is a Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta, in which an anarchist revolutionary dons the mask to topple a corrupt fascist government.