As geopolitical battle lines congeal in the information wars, how long will Anonymous be able to stay truly anonymous?
The Hacker collective Anonymous joined the fight against Indian corruption on Tuesday, hacking the site of the Indian government IT website NIC, the National Informatics Center.
Ostensibly the hack was a retaliation for the government’s violence against Indian activist Baba Ramdev, who had been staging a hunger strike to protest government corruption, which the government recently disbanded with violent force.
The hack, which the group claims took just three minutes, displayed the above message on the site. NIC quickly moved to take the page offline, but a cached Google page confirmed the direct hit by Anonymous.
The hack comes just days after Anonymous hacked the government database of Iran, exposing private emails from that country. While no data was stolen or exposed from this latest hack in India, Anonymous’ message was clear: the corruption of institutional forces runs against individual freedom.
A statement by Anonymous said, “Over fifty years ago, Indian Freedom Fighters laid down their lives for our freedom. In the end, what was it all for? Today our politicians ride slip-shod over our laws, corruption is rampant. If the brutal way Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike was crushed is anything to go by, it would seem that India is now on its way to becoming an undemocratic ‘democracy’.”
As the information wars proliferate, they will no doubt continue to congeal along geopolitical and ideological lines. Anonymous may indeed be anonymous, but they also seem to boast marked characteristics that differentiate them from hacker groups like LulzSec, who recently hacked Sony’s site.
While LulzSec boasted of exposing the personal information, including home addresses, of 1 million users from the SonyPictures database, Anonymous seems to take care in targeting only institutional forces without endangering individuals as collateral damage.
PC World notes “India and Pakistan have a long-standing dispute over Kashmir, which has spilled over online” with a series of hacks across international lines.
Anonymous launched an Operation India Facebook page on Tuesday, the latest line in a global information war that includes Operation Tunisia, Operation Egypt and Operation Zimbabwe. Anonymous outlined highly specific socio-political demands in an Op. India video display.
As we saw in the US/ Israeli Stuxnet attack on Iran, as we move deeper into the information age cyber warfare may come to supplant military warfare more and more. If World War III turns out to be an information war, will Anonymous, which has clearly proven itself one of the most talented and effective cyber assassins on the planet, be able to stay truly anonymous forever?