Incidents that occurred through the past year have markedly changed the way in which we have been perceiving the Internet, all this while. Those of us who thought of it as a place to ink down our thoughts, be it happy, sad or even a platform to vent out anger, were made to think otherwise. Hacking, which was once a foreign word, extending concerns against threat from other nations or malicious minds trying to steal some critical information government/military info or making malicious ways to make money online by targeting leading companies. 2012 dawned and we received another blow as we got ourselves, for the first time, acquainted to the phenomenon of blocking of websites. Soon enough, hacktivists had no choice, but to turn their attention to the ongoing scene, in a bid to combat those who are trying to restrict/limit our freedom on the Internet. Here are the 5 most recent hacks by Anonymous to protest against Internet censorship.
The year 2012 brought in a wave of combat against ISPs who have been blocking file hosting websites and Reliance Communications was hit with the first blow. Reliance Entertainment had acquired John Doe orders for its films, which had prompted many ISPs to block file hosting sites. A John Doe order means a court order, which is against a party whose true identity is not known. Websites, like The Pirate Bay and Vimeo (we wonder why?) were blocked, which left many perturbed. A hacker, who called himself Isac and his friend hackthis29 were irked by this move and attacked the major Internet service provider, Reliance. He claimed to have hacked Reliance’s ‘very very vulnerable’ netsweeper panel in about 5 minutes. Reliance passed the order last month for its upcoming film, and is believed to have acquired such John Doe orders earlier, too.
Protest against Internet censorship…
It was around the mid of last month when ISPs starting blocking sites, like Vimeo, The Pirate Bay and many others, as per orders by the DoT. It was not only Reliance, who had acquired the John Doe order, but also Copyright Labs, a Chennai based firm, who had acquired these orders for movies – Dhammu and 3. This miffed the keepers of global Internet freedom, Anonymous, and the Supreme Court and Congress websites ended up being victims of a hack. Websites, like http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in, dot.gov.in and aicc.org.in were rendered inaccessible. The attacks were carried out by OpIndia (Operations in India) and they, in a series of tweets revealed on micro-blogging site, Twitter that – “#Government must understand. #INTERNET belongs to us! #TANGODOWN –> http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in & http://aicc.org.in“, and in another tweet stated – “@Anon_Central Another #TANGODOWN –>> http://www.dot.gov.in Department of telecom, You should've expected us! ~ #opindia.“
As ISPs continue to block websites, Anonymous seems to be in no mood to spare anyone. The next in our list and the most recent target by Anonymous is MTNL. The MTNL website was taken down by the hacktivist group yesterday. Although MTNL’s Internet services weren’t affected, the MTNL website (mtnl.net/in) was rendered inaccessible. The site serves as a gateway for a number of services for MTNL, which include bill payment and schemes on their services. Anonymous hasn’t damaged any data on site, except for the main home page from the look of things. So, it’s clear, that it is just a protest against Internet censorship. MTNL is one of the ISPs that’s been blocking torrent and other file sharing sites.
Andhra Pradesh Power Development Company
Last year, unidentified hackers attempted to break into different websites of the Andhra Pradesh government, even as a security audit was being conducted at the State Data Centre. This time, however, it was the Andhra Pradesh Power Development company’s site that was under attack, not by some unidentified name, but Anonymous. The reason for the previous attacks may have been unclear, but Anonymous was quite clear, and did leave a message behind. The URL to the website would route users to another site that was defaced with the famous Anonymous messages – “We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. You should have expected us!” So, if the government plans to block other websites, Anonymous shows its protest by hacking government websites.
Even by the end of the last month, ISPs continued to block websites and Anonymous, this time targeted a political party. It defaced the website of one of the most prominent parties of the nation. The BJP website was reportedly hacked for not protesting against their opposition party, Congress on the topic of Internet censorship. On their Twitter account (@opindia_back), the hacktivist group made this public in a series of tweets; some reading – “Young guns of #India —> We owned http://mumbaibjp.org/anonymous.html to display a message to you all. So kindly read it. #opindia”, among others in succession. Further posts on Twitter that serve as a probable explanation to the hacks, read – “BJP are the opposition they should have f****n stopped this or should have organised a protest they didn't do any.”
Peeping through loop holes…
Moreover Anonymous, on its Facebook page has asked users to vote for either of the two ISPs – Reliance and Airtel. The group have asked their Facebook followers to Like the post, if they are in favour of Reliance’s website/services being hacked or Share the post if their choice is Airtel.
Image Credit: Getty Images
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