Hacker collective Anonymous, responsible for leaking data from President Jair Bolsonaro in 2020, had its main members arrested by the FBI. The information was revealed by an official from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to The Huffington Post.
The group, which is known worldwide, started to gain visibility in mid-2010, when it made a series of attacks against American companies and government agencies in the country. At the time, data was stolen and websites were taken down.
Over the years, Anonymous has spearheaded other actions and, after a hiatus, released a lawsuit in which former U.S. President Donald Trump was accused of rape, sexual abuse, physical violence and other crimes.
It is known that Anonymous was born from the 4Chan forum, before the space was mostly occupied by right-wing users. Participants began to act guided by “hacktivism”, hacker action as a form of political and social activism. And, in honor of the historic soldier Guy Fawkes, the group started to identify itself with the mask inspired by the movie V for Vendetta.
The first notorious action took place in 2008, when activists leaked an internal video by scientologists, presented by Tom Cruise. Thereafter, lawyers for the religion filed lawsuits to overturn the leaked content, which motivated the group to spread the video on internet sites.
After this episode, the actions focused on combating human rights violations, also contributing to the occurrence of historical events, such as the breach of censorship during the Arab Spring in countries in the Middle East and North Africa in 2010.
Seven years later, the group was present at another important event, acting against a neo-Nazi march in Chaslottesville, in the United States. On that occasion, videos of the demonstration were published and personal documents of those involved were leaked.
Lulz Security: emergence and imprisonment
However, the recent arrest of five members of Lulz Security, another group associated with the collective, ended up weakening the initiative, generating a “huge deterrent effect,” according to Austins P. Berglas, special agent in charge of the FBI cyber division in New York. , USA.
It is not the first time that allegations like this have been made against Anonymous. Security analyst Aaron Barr and then CEO of HBGary, said he used simple techniques to map and report the group’s hackers, mocking the group in statements to the press.
In response, the collective hacked the company’s website, copied tens of thousands of documents from HBGary and HBGary Federal, published passwords for all corporate e-mails on social networks and hacked Twitter accounts. As if that weren’t enough, Anonymous even took over Barr’s own email and iPad. The group responsible for the action grew within the collective and became Lulz Security.
Arrest of collective members
In 2012, an investigation was carried out with the help of informant Hector Monsegur, who was arrested and decided to collaborate with the FBI, revealing data about some former comrades. According to information released recently, this created distrust among the participants and weakened the group.
“The movement is still there, and they are still hacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don’t hear anything about these guys coming up with their big violations,” said Berglas. “This is not happening, and it is due to the dismantling of the biggest players.”
On the subject, McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman, who studies the collective, confirmed that the arrests had dealt an almost deadly blow to the core of the organization. However, she points out that Anonymous is still alive and may resurface in new actions.