Who is the hacktivist group Anonymous

• The group has recently threatened Kenyan politicians.

A digital vigilante wearing a Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta
Image: Courtesy

So by now most, if not all of you have seen the trending X video of a masked person donning a black hoodie with green texts running across the screen as he speaks in a distorted voice while issuing a warning to the Kenyan government for failing to respect its citizens rights to protest.

Kenyans in different parts of the country have been taking to the streets since Tuesday midday in a bid to demand their displeasure with the proposed finance bill heard.

Some of the biggest trending hashtags have been #Reject Finance Bill 2024 #Occupy parliament and #Gen Z.

And yesterday in the wee hours of the night, the white-masked individual identified only as Anonymous entered the chat calling for the seizure of police harassment and stifling of peace protesters.

The group threatened to use its hackers to release controversial secrets about Members of Parliament if the Finance Bill was not fully scrapped.

The video has gained a lot of traction having been shared from X to all the other social media platforms by thousands of users both in the country and globally.

On X it currently has over 2.4 million views, 23k reposts, 3.5k quotes and over 34k likes, insane right?

But who exactly is Anonymous?

These are a group of highly elusive digital vigilantes or hacktivists, if you may, who are famed for donning Guy Fawkes masks from the movie V for Vendetta.

They're a loosely organized international movement that has been around for a 2 good decades.

Anonymous masked hacktivist
Image: Courtesy

Started around 2003 on the 4chan forums, at first they were just a bunch of internet geeks with a shared love for memes and a growing disdain for censorship.

However, they soon started flexing their cyber-muscles fighting back against online bullies who targeted younger kids eventually evolving to fighting for freedom of information and against the powers that be.

Their anonymity and lack of organizational hierarchy was their superpower, and they've been growing exponentially ever since.

Throughout their reign, they've made a name for themselves as masked avengers who are all about justice, transparency, and freedom standing against censorship, corruption, and oppression.

How do they operate then? New operations are proposed online in encrypted instant messages, if it rakes enough support then it's carried out.

Some of their notable cyber hits include;

Attacking government websites in Tunisia and Egypt, helping to amplify the voices of those fighting for democracy during the protests of the 2011 Arab Spring,

When WikiLeaks faced a financial blockade in 2010, Anonymous came to the rescue, targeting companies like PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard with cyber-attacks, making it clear that internet freedom wasn't up for grabs.

They've also been praised for occasionally hacking into websites on the dark web, exposing users and sharing the information with authorities in a bid to combat child pornography,.

They also helped the revolution in Taiwan and supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement as well as Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Back in 2012 Time Magazine named the group among the Top 100 Most Influential People in the world. The group often ends its briefs with the slogan, "We're anonymous, we're legion, we don't forgive, we don't forget, expect us."

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