This week, representatives for the hacktivist organization Anonymous took to the group’s YouTube channel to release a new video, that vows to take action against the terrorist organizations responsible for the attacks at Charlie Hebdo earlier this week.
Flying under the hashflag of #OPCharlieHedbo, a figurehead for the group, dawned in their trademark Guy Fawkes mask and wide brimmed black hat says they’ll be launching an offensive on all websites for Al Qaeda, ISIS, or extremist Islamic groups who attack free speech or the countries who support it.
“This is a press release by Anonymous. In the case of the terror attack against Charlie Hebdo, as we had previously told you we plan on shedding light on all these events and to give a homage to those innocent killed, the anonymous of all the planet have decided to declare war on you terrorists.
We will track you down to the last one and will kill you. You allowed yourselves to kill innocent people, therefore we will avenge their deaths. We will track all of your activities online, we will close your accounts on all social networks, you will not impose your sharia in our democracies. We will not let your stupidity kill our liberties and freedom of expression; we have warned you, expect your destruction.”
The threatening video then ends with the organization’s slogan: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.”
Another follow up message was also uploaded to PasteBin, and can be found in its full transcript here.
While the ‘anonymous’ nature of the group and anyone-can-join mentality of their membership requirements make it difficult to pin down a single ethos, it seems that lately the overarching message of their mission seems to have been striding into the realm of actual hacktivism far more than random DDoS attempts on hapless business owners.
As the media and federal authorities continue their hunt, Anonymous looks as though they’re attempting to turn a new leaf and reform their public image into a collection of hackers that use their technological prowess for good, rather than evil.
Of course, the definition of good and evil in this world can be stretched and misconstrued when you’re dealing with an amorphous blob of people that supposedly have ‘no central leadership’, but this latest move just goes to show that when you make a move so heinous that everyone can agree it needs to be reprimanded, even the worst of the worst will still step up to take a stand if they deem the effort worthwhile and necessary.
This isn’t the first time Anonymous has used their powers of hackery for good, and hopefully won’t be the last. There have been several other occasions where their talents came in handy for everything from exposing government corruption to finding the two criminals behind the Boston Bombing, and it just goes to show that when you get enough people skilled in tech together, eventually one of them is going to want to use that prowess for more than DDoSing a couple credit card companies or pissing off agents at the Fed.