Anonymous has decided to cancel its attack against the Zeta drug gang. While it’s probably a smart move, the way this all went down brings up more questions about how the enigmatic hacktivist collective operates.
When we first reported the news that Anonymous had made open threats to the Zeta cartel which were supposed to be carried out soon, my first reaction was "this is a very bad idea."
While I partly support Anonymous for their attempts to bring attention to the struggles of the regular person, messing with a drug cartel is a lot different than taking on a private company or government organization.
When Anonymous releases information about military contractors or defaces a police station’s website, there are guidelines and strict rules about how those organizations are able to respond. Their whole existence depends on public perception, so they cannot openly declare an all-out war against anyone who seems to fit the profile of an Anonymous collaborator.
It doesn’t work like that for drug cartels. Anyone who pisses off a drug gang or messes with their money could find themselves with their head cut off. It is reality.
The global intelligence think tank Stratfor came out with a report that basically established that the reaction from the Zeta cartel would be violent if Anonymous really went through with their threats to expose them and their collaborators. Not only that, it was also believed that rival cartels would get in on the action and go after anyone they might think was with the Zeta gang.
The scenario would have likely played out with an increase in violence and some of the people in Anonymous must have realized this. Members of the group supposedly worked over the weekend to get the attack on the Zeta called off.
But since Anonymous doesn’t seem to share any kind of central organization, another member known as Sabu has claimed the operation, codenamed OpCartel, will continue.
According to InfoWorld, a person with the Twitter handle anonymouSabu had this to say: "OpCartel is very much alive and like I said to others in private our war is on corruption on both sides of the spectrum. Vamos a GUERRA!”
It appears that people within Anonymous have different beliefs. This may even be the beginning of a split in the ideology of the movement. You have the Anonymous wing who we are familiar with, and then you have the more extreme individuals who apparently believe more extreme measures are necessary.
It definitely makes you question why there is a wing of Anonymous who doesn’t seem to care about instigating violence. I’m not sure why Anonymous has members who have shifted their beliefs, but willingness to incite violence was never a part of their M.O. until now.
That’s the problem with Anonymous in general. When they first starting making the news and getting headlines they declared from the very start that their organization was decentralized. Of course the hacktivist collective needs to be centralized in order to avoid getting caught, but now it seems that someone might be taking advantage of their decentralized nature to gather support for more extreme behavior.
Anonymous has no real way to police themselves. If they’ve been infiltrated by people with bad intentions there’s not much they could do about it. The results could be bad.