It seems that for a while now the hacktivist collective Anonymous has been suffering from a loss of public faith. At first, the general public was impressed by the idea of a group of vigilante hackers come to save the world from the greedy elite. Fast Forward a few years, however, and a string of ‘successful’ operations that have achieved very little (Operation North Korea anyone?). A collection of videos with overly boisterous threats. Plus an amassing of generally empty promises – and you have the recipe for a rather less excited opinion of the hacktivists.
Of course, Anonymous has its supporters, which might come as a surprise to some considering the glaring errors it has made in its time. As recently as August of 2014 the name of the wrong police officer was released by Anon following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Despite this, it would appear that any disruption Anonymous causes to corrupt elitists, the perpetrators of hate crimes, or human rights violators is still going to be received with gusto by the vast majority of people.
On November 5th, 2014, a massive rally of Anonymous supporters protested in Budapest as part of the ‘Million Mask March’. Proving that, even with the general loss of faith (in what Anonymous can achieve with its actions), there are still plenty of people around that agree with the hacktivists overall ethos. Who wouldn’t!?
The biggest Anonymous success to date?
Now, there is news coming out of the Anonymous camp that is being hailed as another win for the hackers. Perhaps even the group’s most successful operation yet. #OpIcarus is described in the group’s latest video as a 30-day operation to bring the world’s central banks to a halt.
So far, Anonymous has successfully managed to hack 20 Central Reserve Banks as part of its operation. The Bank of England’s email servers, the Central Bank of Jordan, Sweden, Bhutan, Tonga, and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority had all fallen victim by last Friday the 13th.
Since then, attacks have affected the Bank of France, Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, Central Bank of Tunisia, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and the Philippine National Bank – demonstrating that this is indeed a concerted effort to disrupt the daily flow of work of the Central Banks around the world. Including, we are told, the US Federal Reserve.
In 2011, of course, Anonymous did manage to rise above its reputation for largely being a group of computer users with SQL injection skills and/or friends with Botnets. That was when the hacking collective successfully launched a cyber attack on the Federal Reserve Bank and stole the credentials of around 4000 Bankers. Since then there have been around 72 Banker deaths – many of which are being attributed to suicide – leading some to wonder if the deaths are linked to the hack by Anonymous.
Despite the conspicuous growth of international banker deaths since 2011, the hack seems to have done very little to curb the power of the banks or the direction of world politics.
Sadly, it is unlikely that this latest string of hacks will have any sort of impact either – so momentary, and short lasting, are the effects of the cyber attacks – that one would be forgiven for likening them to wafting away a fly as it buzzes around your head.
Anonymous Vs the Banks
In fact, one can easily imagine Rothschild sitting laughing as he sees the underground press become aglow with news of the hacktivists success: 20 important central Banks closed down: Anonymous’ reputation revived: A revolutionary move in a digital world: Finally someone standing up to the Banking Mafia, etc etc.
Except that Rothschild probably is laughing, because although the well-choreographed hacks are an interruption – an annoyance – and no doubt did cause some problems and even a little loss of earning somewhere. Unfortunately, the reality remains that just a few hours (or at worst days) of interruptions does little to change the tide of global economics or the wealthy’s power over politics.
The exchanges. The minting process. The lending power. All held in private hands, while once truly sovereign nations are made to yield to the will of the corporate hidden hand.
Television shows like Mr. Robot fill us with the false fantasy that it is possible for hacktivism to save the world from the stagnating, money aggregating, manufactured and corrupt capitalist system. A system that since the 1970’s has been constantly extracting wealth from the bottom 93% of society and concentrating it into the top 7%. With even more of that wealth slowly amassing in the top 0.1% of the global population.
Of course, there is only so much that Anonymous can do, and despite the fact that the global banking elite continues to control the ebb and flow of money and war, at least the hacktivists are helping to raise awareness of the problems faced by the international community.
Anonymous does help to educate people. It helps to inspire journalists, fellow activists, and to inform the youth of today about the ever-growing problem of worldwide wealth inequality. With that said, however: Just don’t expect Anonymous to save the world because it isn’t going to happen.