In a report released Aug. 21 by Huffington Post, Austin P. Berglas, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's cyber division in New York, claims the arrests last year of five members of Lulz Security, an influential splinter group of hackers, had a "huge deterrent effect" on Anonymous by creating an "added layer of distrust" within the hacking group. Berglas also references the arrest of Hector Monsegur, aka "Sabu," the one-time Anonymous enthusiast turned FBI informant who betrayed the Anonymous collective.
"The movement is still there, and they're still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don't hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches," Berglas told the Huffington Post.
However, claims of dismantling Anonymous seem to be a bit of wishful thinking, if not simply false. Large-scale Anonymous operations have been carried out as recently as July, when Anonymous hacktivists liberated information taken from a server used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Indeed, last June, Anonymous disabled the National Security Agency’s website, and trolled their “impressive surveillance apparatus” with “keywords of terror” as part of Operation Troll the NSA (#OpTrollTheNSA).
Believing that Anonymous could be “dismantled” by the arrest of a few Anonymous enthusiasts demonstrates a failure to understand the nature of Anonymous. Anonymous is free of hierarchical leadership structure. Hence, no one press release, no one statement, no one person, no one group of persons, speaks for all who pledge allegiance to the Anonymous collective. Indeed, the idea that Anonymous is a group, insofar as a group is a static thing, is itself misleading. Anonymous is fluid.
Anonymous is a headless monster in the service of justice, an online pool of consciousness engaged in transformative civil disobedience, a hive-mind. And Anonymous is alive and well. Despite the wishful thinking from FBI agent Berglas, one cannot arrest an idea - ideas are bulletproof.
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