Blocking of some file sharing websites could have gone unnoticed earlier, but for the serious protest launched by ‘Anonymous’, a group of hacktivists, who systematically targeted government and corporate websites to get their message heard loud and clear – No curbs on internet freedom.
The Indian arm of Anonymous has also called for ‘Occupy Protests’ on June 9 in different cities. And the support from netizens on facebook and twitter (@opindia_back) is swelling. The group which swears by non-violent protests has now threatened to intensify the cyber attacks. They demand that the centre immediately life the curbs on internet freedom and make a statement on the issue.
The hacktivists talked to this correspondent on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) using a variety of nicknames like ‘AnonFengshui’, ‘Anon3x3_kalki’, ‘anamikanon’, ‘gummy’, ‘lucifer’ in the chat.
Different people answered to the same question and here are the excerpts of the chat:
Question: How many members are there in Anonymous?
Anon: We have never counted the members. Perhaps there could be dozens. We can not be called Anonymous, if we count the people. That means we are actually tracking them.
Question: What’s the purpose in hacking websites? What do you achieve by hacking the websites of private companies?
Anon: We are targetting supporters of censorship, not just those in political power. In the name of blocking suspicious sites, they blocked popular sites also. By defacing or DDoSing (Distributed Denial of Service or network attacks) the websites, we get our message across to the people who matter. It is a healthier way of protesting than launching fast unto deaths.
Question: Are you all Indians or from other countries?
Anon: We are sans identity. We have no nationality in that sense. There are people from other countries also but most of the Anons are Indians.
Question: Do you intend to intensify the attacks now?
Anon: As of now we are going easy on the Government websites. We may or may not intensify the attacks. But it depends on the reaction of the Government.
Question: What sort of a reaction are you expecting?
Anon: The reaction we expect is that the Government must bow before its people and free us from censorship. We are expecting that the Government issue a statement making its stand known on internet censorship. We expect the Government to rescind the censorship and ensure that the freedom of speech is protected.
Question: Would it just be defacements or would you also use DDoS attacks also?
Anon: We will use both. The CERT officials who issued advisories on possible DDoS attacks got themselves DDoSed by us!
Question: Do you think people will participate in large numbers in the occupy movement on June 9?
Anon: We expect the number to be large, but it will be a non-violent democratic protest.
Question: Will they be something like Occupy Wall Street protests?
Anon: Yes. Plenty of people are showing interest, particularly the tech-savvy crowd, students, freedom of speech activists etc.
Question: Since Occupy protests are called in several cities, can we expect that websites of organisations in those cities to be attacked?
Anon: Yes. Sure. There would be attacks on sites, but that has no correlation with protests on ground.
Question: Don’t you fear that the police can track you?
Anon: The protesters are not hackers. They are normal people who want their internet back. We all fear getting caught. But when we joined the free internet protest, we threw the police fear out of our minds. The values of freedom are important enough for taking the risk.
Question: What if the Government does not respond to your protests?
Anon: We are average internet users who try to get our message through by Defacing/DDoSing. We don't like to be under pressure anymore. We will bring the Government to it's knees. We will strike hard, no mercy and fast!
Question: What do you want to tell the people?
Anon: Wake up. Speak up, before you lose the right to do it. We want you to support us. We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, Government of India! Expect us!