What Happened to Anonymous, Who Promised a War on Trump a Few Months Ago?
Back in March 2016, international computer hacking group and perpetual nightmare of every corporate IT employee Anonymous announced they were planning to wage war on then Republican candidate Donald Trump. Then April rolled around, and Anonymous’ #OpTrump campaign went nowhere.
Of course, the Trump campaign run into roadblocks like the infamous Access Hollywood tape, but nevertheless emerged victorious on Election Day. The Clinton campaign had its own hacker problems, not with Anonymous but with Wikileaks – which in the opinion of many, proved to be one of its numerous undoings. So what exactly happened to Anonymous’ Trump battle cry? And are they gone for good?
A Hacker Community Divided
Not only was this the most politically divided election in modern United States history, but it split Anonymous as well. Internally, Anonymous was at a war with itself on whether or not launching an attack on Donald Trump. In a report from the Guardian, many felt that an anti-Trump operation went against the group’s protocol of not taking sides, while others felt that hacking Trump was true to Anonymous’ mission to target entities acting inappropriately. After all, the group has gone after the Klu Klux Klan and the Church of Scientology – one would think that Donald Trump’s actions fall under that umbrella.
“There has been large amounts of opposition to this operation, as many think that OpTrump aims to censor Donald Trump’s free speech,” a hacker with the user name Beemsee wrote on the message board Ghostbin. “This is not the case. We do NOT stand for a specific political ideology,” Beemsee continued.
Gone For Now, But Likely Not Forever
The unincorporated factions that loosely make up Anonymous first drew attention way back in 2008, when they went after the Church of Scientology. The Church attempted to remove all video traces of Tom Cruise promoting the religion, and Anonymous came along to stir the pot. The group then went after numerous causes that it deemed in need of justice and truth-spilling, before going quiet in 2011 after Hector Xavier Monsegur, an Anonymous leader and government informant, was arrested and turned over several other hackers to the authorities.
This understandably sent a ripple of concern through 4chan and other message boards where Anonymous operated. Even when it was quiet, those who worked in cyber security knew it was only a temporary hibernation. “It may never come back, but I wouldn’t count on it. Don’t throw away your Guy Fawkes masks just yet” Mark Rasch, a former federal cybercrimes prosecutor and now chief privacy officer at SAIC told Wired. The group did come back just two months later, spreading light on the protest organizing in Ferguson, Missouri.
Recently, there have been those claiming to be part of the group trying to push for computer programmer and businessman John McAffee to head up Trump’s cyber security team. The group’s YouTube channel is still fairly active, rolling out a new video every week or so, but they’re generally just various compilations calling for people to wake up to the political corruption around them. None have caused much of a stir, which likely points to the bigger picture that the group is simply divided like the rest of the country, and can’t get enough push to go one way or the other. After all, it’s tough enough to get Washington to make progress on an issue, so it makes sense that a loosely connected network of hackers with varying opinions would hit the occasional roadblock as well.