The group-name “Anonymous” refers to a loosely associated, decentralized network of hacktivists – political activists who hack into secured websites, then leak the information free to the public.
The group originated in 2003 on the Internet forum 4chan, representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain. The group became known for a series of well-publicized hacks and denial-of-service attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites, including U.S. and Israeli government agencies, the Church of Scientology, child porn sites, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, and military contractors.
Supporters have called the group “freedom fighters” and digital Robin Hoods, but critics have described them as “a cyber lynch-mob” or “cyber terrorists”. In 2012, Time magazine called Anonymous one of the “100 most influential people” in the world.
Anonymous members (known as “Anons”) can be distinguished in public by the wearing of stylised Guy Fawkes masks. Guy Fawkes is the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the British House of Lords in London in 1605.
Now a member of Anonymous, who is an active-duty captain in the U.S. Army, has given an interview to BuzzFeed, anonymously of course. He claims that there are many Anons in the U.S. military, including middle- to high-ranking NCOs (non-commissioned officers), who are profoundly alienated from the military. He promises that more leaks are forthcoming.