There are many hackers out there with various purposes. Some of them are good natured and work to discover exploits so that they can be patched before malicious attackers exploit them. Others, of course, use hacking to perform malicious crimes and exploits upon organizations and individuals. Then, there are some that lie somewhat in between these realms, with some of them using hacking for activism. This generally occurs when hackers take down groups or sites that are related to causes they oppose. In what appears to be a recent case of this, the well-known hacking group Anonymous took down a Nazi website following the white nationalist rally that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.
What the Attack was About
The white nationalist rally that occurred over the weekend had caused a wave of opposition all around the country, and it also resulted in one anti-fascist protester’s death. This rally had prompted the prominent hacking group Anonymous to infiltrate the notorious Nazi website, Daily Stormer. The group had posted on the site saying that it was now under their control and that it would stop posting hate messages. The post on the website said that the attack was in the name of the protester that had died, named Heather Heyer. Apparently, the group claimed that the site would remain online for 24 hours for the world to “witness the hate,” and it will then be shut down forever. Although, this was somewhat already a given, being that GoDaddy, the host of the website, had told the Stormer that they had 24 hours to move their site after a post criticizing Heather Heyer. The Daily Stormer had been a known supporter of the protest, as well as the groups that participated. The same post also seems to suggest that private files and data were able to be accessed in the attack. There are some that suspect the attack might be a stunt by the Stormer itself to portray anti-Semitic conspiracies or to find a new host.
Attacks associated with Anonymous can be difficult and challenging to follow sometimes, purely because of the group’s makeup. It is very loosely based, and virtually anyone can claim to be a part of it. This makes it hard to determine whether it was actually Anonymous that launched the attack, or whether it was an established account of the group. According to a Twitter account associated with Anonymous, they had no official confirmation that the actual group was involved. The previous Daily Stormer posts are still available on the site, but the homepage now displays a Guy Fawkes mask, which is commonly connected with the group and their endeavors.
As mentioned above, Anonymous is quite a well-known hacking group. They have been associated with numerous attacks upon various entities and institutions. Some of these may be promoted as heroic by the public, but some are also very questionable.
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks
While hate sites being taken down is not a large issue to many people, there are also many other types of organizations that are hit by attacks almost every day. Cyber attacks like the above and many others continue to happen all around the globe. Attackers continuously evolve, adapt, and reformulate their threats and exploits to be able to better compromise systems and networks, and we must retaliate with bolstered security to prevent cyber attacks. The unfortunate reality is that many organizations continue to greatly lack in cyber security to reduce these occurrences. Massive Alliance can provide numerous tools and services that can assist organizations of all types to prevent cyber attacks.