“Know thy enemy” is a time-tested principle in the art of warfare. Cyber security specialists however seem to have woken up late to this fact and have only recently started making efforts to understand about hackavist groups such as Anonymous in depth, to get to the root cause of the problem and to develop smarter defenses.
Anonymous bases itself on the principle of retaliation. It traces its origin to the Antisec movement of the early 2000s and received a massive surge of popularity at the turn of the decade when it retaliated against the legal action smote to Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assanage.
Beyond that however is still a grey area.
Researchers delving into the organization find Anonymous as a loose knit group of individuals with various intentions and the organizational structure itself a complicated entanglement of individuals. This makes it difficult to understand the make up or structure of Anonymous, or predict what would really rub them off the wrong way.
While most other groups in the world unite under a common cause they support, Anonymous seems to be a highly fluid reactionary force, or a conglomeration of individuals who join hands against a common dislike, to retaliate against a common enemy though their goals, aspirations and motivates may vary. The Anonymous model seems to replicate any religion, which is in essence a loose conglomeration of individuals with various beliefs, moral convictions and tolerance levels.
For cyber security, this realization is bad news. Security experts can neither define the movement nor understand the makeup of their adversary. What this also means is that many pretenders have committed cyber crimes and thefts of various hues and made Anonymous a convenient smokescreen to cover up their purely mercenary motives.