Following the FCC’s vote to remove the 2015 Net Neutrality rules on Thursday, notorious hacktivist group, “Anonymous” pledged to launch a 48 hour cyber attack against the organization.
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning, a Twitter account affiliated with the hacktivist group expressed their displeasure with the policy change and issued a threat.
Anonymous will do everything it can to make these men realize what a terrible mistake they made. We will come after you.
Expect us. #NetNeutrality
Since then a number of additional Anonymous Twitter handles have followed suit.
The FCC has voted to remove your freedom to information. That said, this will not go unpunished.
At around 11 p.m. The Anon Journal, a Twitter page known to disseminate Anonymous information, released another tweet saying that the group would conduct a 48 hour cyber attack on FCC.gov.
According to The International Business Times, FCC Commissioner and Net Neutrality supporter Jessica Rosenworcel stated on Wednesday that the agency’s internet services had gone down for sometime.
Though members of Anonymous have vocally threatened to attack FCC services it could not be confirmed whether these issues were a result of Anonymous attacks. Additionally, Anonymous has not officially claimed responsibility for the event.
Anonymous traces their origins to the online forum board 4chan as far back as 2003. The group gained infamy in 2008 when it embarked on a large scale Distributed Denial of Service attack, DDoS, on the Church of Scientology dubbed Project Chanology. Since then the hacktivist group has continued to use DDOS tactics to attack against a number of private industry groups.
Because of their lack of central authority, it is difficult to connect Anonymous with any specific ideology but many members have used their hacktivist techniques to assist with the Occupy movement, as well as earlier opposition to internet service providers opposed to net neutrality.
While their targets differ, DDoS attacks remain their trademark method of attack.
On December 8, the video streamer, Anonymous Prime, also posted a video titled ANONYMOUS- OPERATION FREE NET-2018 on Youtube. The video opens with the words, “expect us” followed by the image of a sweeashfit clad man hidden behind a Guy Fawkes mask—the de facto uniform of Anonymous operatives.
In the video the masked man explains Anonymous’ opposition to the removal of Net Neutrality rules. In the 10 minute video, which has since garnered 100,000 views, the man criticises the new policy measures as a, “pay to play” system and accuses internet service providers like Comcast of restricting consumer access to competitors’ media. Amongst his qualms, the Anonymous affiliate claimed that the removal of Net Neutrality rules would prohibit non mainstream news outlets from surviving in the media marketplace.
“Net Neutrality must remain in place as a free open source utility and not just another product that can be exploited for financial gain,” the masked man said.
The FCC has yet to comment on any of the threats made by Anonymous or its affiliates. The independent government agency also has not publicly mentioned any successful or unsuccessful attempts at breaching their systems.