Whether you are a fan of Anonymous or not, not too many folks will be upset over the hacktivist collective’s latest hated target – the KKK. Like when hackers of all color hats took on the hate-spewing Westboro Baptist Church, hackers under the banner of Anonymous have banded together in a cyberwar to take on the Ku Klux Klan. It all started because a verdict is expected any day now from the grand jury investigation into the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The KKK has threatened to use “lethal force” at protests and to shoot anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes (Anonymous) mask.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Monday, authorizing “organized militia” (National Guard) to support local and state police if violence breaks out after a grand jury decides whether or not to indict the white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.
The militarization of the police, or “warrior cops,” was a topic FBI Director James Comey touched upon during a recent speech to a law enforcement audience. Specifically he was talking about using the right weapons, whether that was intercepting communications on the Internet or the police using armored vehicles and SWAT teams. Now the FBI has predicted that the situation “both in the Ferguson area and nationwide” will likely escalate to violence or attacks on critical infrastructure.
“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI said in an intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities."
The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.
Meanwhile protest organizers proposed 19 rules of engagement (pdf), some of which were agreed to during talks with law enforcement. Some area churches have setup “safe spaces” where protesters can warm up, or escape tear gas and other police “hot spots.”
But the police aren’t the only threat to protesters as the KKK has distributed fliers and taken to social media to warn that they intend to use “lethal force” against “terrorists masquerading as ‘peaceful protesters’.” The flier ends with “You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan!”
A video about Anonymous taking on the KKK states that the KKK came to the group’s “unfortunate attention that you have been interfering with Anonymous.”
We are not attacking you because of what you believe in, as we fight for freedom of speech. We are attacking you because of your threats to use lethal attacks against us at the Ferguson protests. Due to your actions we have started Operation KKK.
The aim of our operation is nothing more than Cyber Warfare. Anything you upload will be taken down; anything you use to promote the KKK will be shut down. DDoS attacks have already been sent and have infiltrated your servers over the past 2 days… d0x's have also been launched on leaders of the KKK. All information retrieved will be given to the public. You messed with our family and now we will mess with yours.
Let the cyber war begin.
As part of OpKKK, Anonymous put the hurt to KKK websites ikkkk.com,TraditionalistAmericanKnights.com and the Stormfront forum; once the message board and sites were restored “at great expense,” Missouri KKK leader Frank Ancona begged for donations from other members.
As part of #HoodsOff campaign, Anonymous seized online accounts of KKK members, released email accounts, and “unhooded” some in the KKK by exposing the identities via links to social media accounts which contained KKK members’ photos, addresses, phone numbers, ages, workplaces and even photos of their kids. After Anonymous took serious criticisms for that action, the group released this video.
The KKK has even threatened writers who dare to give them bad press; supposedly Ancona was unimpressed by Anonymous, but then he secretly threatened to shoot anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
The grand jury verdict is expected at any time and all eyes will once again be on Ferguson. In fact, adding to the drama, a 15-second video is making the rounds on the Internet that purportedly shows Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson violating a man’s right to record the cops. (There are Android and Apple apps for "secretly" doing that.)
A PR ploy that frequently happens is for a company or government agency to release bad news on the first night of a long weekend or over the holidays, in hopes of flying under the radar and minimizing bad press. Even if that were to be true in this case, and the verdict is returned as Thanksgiving break starts, there’s no way the decision will go unnoticed.