The tragic evening of November, Friday the thirteenth, 2015 shocked the world. A series of violent terrorist attacks in Paris has taken away the lives of 129 people and 200 people injured. The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) claimed responsibility for suicide bombings, mass shootings, and hostage-takings. ISIS is renowned for its random, violent attacks around the world, however, it has been a rare case for this terrorist organization to attack such a major city.
Because of the volatile nature of ISIS, hardly any country or organization stood to confront the ISIS directly. A few days after the attack, however, the Anonymous announced its intention to retaliate for the attacks.
The Anonymous, otherwise known as the “Anons,” is a decentralized group of hackers and activists. The group is an international network, and mostly just an “internet gathering” that has no specific structure or principle on which it is run. Anyone can join the group, and for the most part, the group just operates with each individual’s’ intent. The group first came to being in 2003 and ever since then, this online community has widely served a purpose of both entertainment and activism to raise awareness. There have been notably successful cases, and in fact, they often accuse the government or huge corporates of their wrongdoings and leave it open for the public to judge. The public’s opinion vary very much regarding this group. While some call the Anonymous cyber terrorists, others call them the “freedom fighters” or digital Robin Hoods. Nevertheless, the general public seems to stand on a common argument that the group has been significantly influential.
Thus, when the Anonymous uploaded a video and a twitter post about its intoleration of further ISIS attacks, its words carry more meaning than mere words can. In fact, its attacks against the ISIS have begun since January and it has been successful in shutting down 149 of its websites, flagging more than 100,000 Twitter accounts, and reporting more than 5000 propaganda videos.
Well, then what can Anonymous do to ISIS? For one thing, they have already taken down 5500 plus Twitter accounts, but what the group is truly aiming for is to disrupt the organization’s recruiting mechanisms. It has been known that ISIS mainly communicates through emails, Web chat, Skype calls, and YouTube videos, and even Telegram. The Anons have already shut down many of their recruiters’ accounts and have started publicizing the information about the recruiters and leaders of ISIS.
The Anonymous’ announcement that they “will launch the biggest ever operation” now holds much credibility and support. Whether this will mark the end of ISIS, currently the largest terrorist organization, or not is still doubtful but it is for sure that the world is more and more gearing towards the destruction of ISIS. And when this does happen, we shall never forget the Anonymous group, which has played a significant role in attacking ISIS.
– Eunice Na (’17)