Anonymous hackers logo_311.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The loosely-affiliated group of hackers that has taken responsibility
for attacks on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and, most recently, the
Syrian Defense Ministry, described its reasons for a planned attack on
the Facebook social network in a press release issued via YouTube last
“Prepare for a day that will go down in history. November
5, 2011,” Anonymous warned. “Your medium of communication you all so
dearly adore will be destroyed.”
The threatened action differs
from previous attacks on companies and governments, which took the form
of Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that only temporarily
overload computer systems. This attack, the group says will “kill
“Facebook has been selling information to government
agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so
that they can spy on people from around the world,” the group charged.
Some of those firms, the press release claimed, “are working for authoritarian governments such as those of Egypt and Syria.”
Anonymous has been especially active in the past year in relation to the
Arab Spring, launching attacks on Tunisian, Egyptian and Syrian
government ministries, and it was reportedly involved in an effort in
Egypt to provide a workaround for Internet access after the government
cut connectivity during the revolution.
Citing privacy concerns with Facebook and its ability to store and sell
personal information about its users, the group said in its release:
“Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your
‘privacy’ settings, and deleting your account is impossible.”
Deleting one’s Facebook account, it described, does not actually delete
your information from the company’s computers “and can be recovered at
any time. Facebook knows more about you than your family,” it said.
Described as a “battle for choice and informed consent,” the group said
that Facebook tells users it gives them choices, “but that is completely
false. It gives users the illusion of [choice] and hides details away
from them ‘for their own good.’” The date of the attack is symbolic as
one of Anonymous’s known symbols is a mask made famous most recently in
the film V for Vendetta, a comic-book adaptation of a story about an
effort to overthrow a totalitarian British government, inspired by the
story of Guy Fawkes. November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day.
Facebook has not issued an official response to the threat.