Anonymous Threatens NYSE, But Doesn’t Do Anything

Cullen Mclane

“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”  Those words are the motto of Anonymous. Anonymous is the name of a somewhat disorganized group of hackers spread across the internet.  Who exactly they are is a bit of a mystery, because as their name would imply, they like to remain anonymous. Members of the group can generally be found lurking around the dark corners of the interwebs, on sites like 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica (places which anyone who values their sanity should stay far, far away from), but they remain mysterious due to how easy it is to keep ones’ identity a secret when hiding behind an online persona.

When the group appears in public, they tend to be seen wearing Guy Fawkes masks, probably better known as  “those masks from that V For Vendetta” movie. It’s not much of a surprise that Anonymous is a fan of Guy Fawkes, or that it likes V For Vendetta, considering the fact that Guy Fawkes was a man who attempted to assassinate the king of England, and V For Vendetta is a comic book/film that tells the story of a revolution against a totalitarian government. Anonymous seems to see itself in a similar light, essentially viewing themselves as rebels against the man.

It would take forever to list all of Anonymous’ wacky escapades, but a few noteworthy targets of theirs include The Epilepsy Foundation Forum, The Church of Scientology, The Oregon Tea Party, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the government of Zimbabwe. They also enjoyed spoiling the endings to Harry Potter books.  While their intentions sometimes seem noble-one would have a tough time defending the government of Iran, or The Church of Scientology- other times, other times they seem to be attacking out of sheer malice, such as their attack on The Epilepsy Foundation forums, in which they posted brightly flashing images in a successful attempt to trigger seizures in the forum’s users. Anonymous claims they weren’t responsible, and were being framed by The Church of Scientology, but this is up for debate. There’s also the matter of their methods, which have involved posting peoples’ private information such as phone numbers and addresses on the Internet for all to see, leaving people open for harassment, a pretty dirty tactic to use on anyone.

So what was their latest adventure; taking out The New York Stock Exchange.  Anonymous was displeased with the arrest of demonstrators in the recent Occupy Wall Street protests, and as a result, decided to take some action. In an address to the world in the form of Youtube video, a distorted computerized voice claimed that the NYSE would be “erased from the internet” on October 10. Of course, October 10 came and went and nothing of any particular note happened. It’s safe to assume that either the NYSE’s security was too good or Anonymous was full of hot air the whole time.

Either way, nothing actually happened. Anonymous was successful though in the sense that they managed to scare people. They live to create chaos, and they will continue to do so as long as people allow them too.