By Joshua Ostrer
Leaderless hacking collective begins cyberwar against the North Korean government
With tensions rising as North Korea threatens the United States, an independent group has taken action.
Anonymous, a self-described “hacking collective,” is taking matters into its own hands with North Korea.
The organization, whose logo features a suited man without a head, suggesting its lack of central leadership, sports the tag-line: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
Anonymous, formed in 2003, consists of an an unknown group of computer hackers without any defined leadership structure.
Anonymous gained notoriety in 2012 when they attacked the U.S. Department of Justice’s webpage, the FBI’s webpage, Motion Picture Association of America’s website and Recording Industry Association of America’s websites in response to the federal government’s takedown of the file-sharing service Megaupload.
Anonymous has been fairly active in the past couple of years, using distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to shut down various websites.
Anonymous has also taken down child pornography websites, The Westboro Baptist Church, the Ugandan government and the Syrian government.
Anonymous was also active in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Despite that the United States government has arrested individuals it says are part of Anonymous, due to the group’s lack of central leadership, the hacking collective has continued on and not only have they survived, they have gotten quite ambitious.
In their newest pursuit, Anonymous is targeting North Korea.
In an attack beginning April 2, and possibly still ongoing, Anonymous launched “Operation Free Korea.”
The attack has a series of demands it seeks to have fulfilled: for North Korea to cease making nukes; for the country’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, to resign; for North Korea to create a free democracy and installation of uncensored Internet access for all citizens.
Anonymous began its attack by seizing control of Uriminzokkiri.com, the website belonging to North Korea’s Central News Agency, as well as taking control of their Twitter feed and allegedly stealing the passwords of over 15,000 government workers.
But some experts are skeptical what actual effect the password-stealing will have outside of landing a few website administrators in some trouble.
Anonymous also posted embarrassing pictures of Kim Jong-Un to its newly controlled Twitter feed.
Despite their ambition, Anonymous has a long way to go.
First of all, not many North Koreans will have any knowledge of Anonymous’ attacks, as virtually none of the country has access to the Internet.
Secondly, North Korea’s government does not use the Internet for the most part, instead using its own “intranet” to more closely monitor and restrict online activity.
This complicates things, since North Korea’s intranet is not accessible by the Internet, because it is not on the Internet.
North Korea only has 30 websites accessible by computers within the country’s borders.
There are computers capable of accessing the Internet, but they are few and far between and are heavily monitored.
Many tech experts remain skeptical about what Anonymous will actually be able to accomplish, since Anonymous’ claim that it has infiltrated North Korea’s mail service, “Kwangmyong” has yet to be verified.
However, Anonymous remains persistent, promising a new wave of attacks as recently as April 8.
What Anonymous will actually accomplish remains to be seen, but the group has proved itself capable in the past, and only time will tell what information or influence they might have going forward.