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Anonymous, the free-form leaderless internet hacker group has moved in the last year from its history of being “prankster” group with actions such as “Operation Titstorm”, to an actual “group” that does present an actual (online) threat to those who come into its cross-hairs. The latest victim to fall in Anonymous’ line of fire — the Iranian government.
The Iranian regime’s opinion of the internet has always been pretty clear. In 2006 it was declared an enemy of the internet by Reporters Without Borders for heavy censorship of the web and imprisonment and intimidation of bloggers. Iran then of course topped itself during the 2009 Iranian election protests by providing the template oppresive regimes now used in attempting to control the internet’s power as a tool for organising for freedom with its internet shut-downs.
There has also been the recent announcement of the creation of the “Iran-ternet”, an “internet that conforms to Islamic principles”. With this history, it’s something of a surprise that it took so long for Iran to come under Anonymous’ attacks.
Since becoming the the self-chosen protectors and avengers of Wikileaks, Anonymous have successfully attacked Mastercard and other businesses which ceased dealings with Wikileaks, and then after being investigated by a security firm for that, attacked the security firm as well. The group have also sent out a warning to the South African government, saying “we’re coming” — it has been a busy year for Anonymous.
Now, it seems its Iran’s turn.
Beginning this month Anonymous announced the start of “Operation Iran” and in keeping with its other campaigns this has been a campaign of denial of service attacks on key Iranian government websites and the sites of organisations linked to Iran.
Supporters of Anonymous have claimed that sites already brought down include those of the office of the Supreme Leader, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the state police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. However, at the time of writing, links to what would seem to be official Iranian websites from a comprehensive list were functional.
Despite this fact, there other sites which have been hacked and display the following message:
“This Site Is Hacked By Anonymous Hackers .#OpIran
F**k Y0u 1Ranian G0urment.
#OpIran Is here, You GTFO”
This comes in the same week which Freedom House, an independent watchdog organisation that supports the expansion of freedom around the world on the announced that Iran was the world’s “worst abuser of online freedoms.”
Watch Anonymous’ video for “Operation Iran” below.