Guy Fawkes Day celebrations of a sort began online Sunday when hackers defaced multiple NBC web sites in addition to a fan page for pop singer Lady Gaga. Anonymous has disclaimed any association with the NBC hacks, but today, as part of an effort they’ve dubbed “Operation Vendetta,” the hacktivist collective has been tearing through several other high-profile sites. Hits include image host ImageShack and pages belonging to the Australian government.
Many media outlets reported a possible PayPal hack as well, however PayPal issued a denial, stating they had no evidence of a breach.
Additionally, credit for the Symantec hack may go to a hacker or group of hackers called HTP, not the larger de-centralized mass of Anons.
The ImageShack hack appears pretty comprehensive. In a Pastebin post of ImageShack data, the hackers wrote that “ImageShack has been completely owned, from the ground up. We have had root and physical control of every server and router they own. For years.” The data dump included pages of code, email addresses and encrypted passwords.
In addition to the hacks, Anonymous is re-enacting the final scene from the movie V for Vendetta, from which the group was inspired to adopt its now-iconic Guy Fawkes mask. The peaceful action is taking place in Trafalgar Square in London. On the Facebook page for the event, Anonymous writes that the event “is the centrepiece of a worldwide Anonymous operation of global strength and solidarity, a warning to all governments worldwide that if they keep trying to censor, cut, imprison, or silence the free world or the free internet they will not be our governments for much longer. Change is coming.”
Anonymous includes an important disclaimer at the bottom of the page: “We will NOT blow up Parliament.” A long-standing rumor that Anonymous would target Facebook today is also false:
Again… regarding the Facebook attack… it’s FAKE! #kthx
— Anonymous Press (@AnonymousPress) November 5, 2012
So Parliament and Facebook are both safe, but our favorite photo websites circa 2005? Not so much.