In a world where cybercrime is rampant, we must take a look at the groups that facilitate major hacks causing both reputational and financial damage.
Even when these groups aren’t fully responsible for a hack, they have played a role in one way or the other.
Anonymous tops our list, due to the sheer number of hacks they have successfully carried out.
It is often regarded as the most organized group, and Anonymous’ activities remain unaffected by the withdrawal of a member through arrest or any other means.
The team highly coordinates its activities despite the fact that its members are located in different parts of the world and thus aren’t likely to have met each other in person.
According to ABC News the group’s hacks are carried out through three main tactics.
These methods include hacking, leaking highly classified and confidential information, bringing down servers and defacing websites.
In other instances, Anonymous seems to be fond of hacking into social media accounts of various individuals.
In the past decade, Anonymous has successfully hit a few entities successfully.
Successful targets have included U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Trump Towers website, ManTech International’s subsidiary group HBGary, some groups within the Islamic State, The World Trade Organization (WTO) and a darknet site dealing with child pornography.
This is just to mention a few.
The group operates a YouTube channel where they post videos related to their activities.
In most cases, one may think that their keen interest lies in current affairs taking place across the globe wherein local and/or federal authorities have lost control of their power.
Anonymous often targets governments if the group believes they’re harassing people.
This group is comprised of black hat hackers, and it’s generally assumed by many that it was formed by members of Anonymous.
According to the Guardian, the group members met inside chat rooms of Anonymous and decided to come up with LulzSec.
By this, it means that the manner in which their operations were carried out were similar to Anonymous.
For instance, their members were from different parts of the world and had never met in person but continue to run their operations through remote coordination.
The target of their hacks caught the attention of several government authorities.
They infiltrated government institutions and thus compromised their operations in one way or the other over the course of several years.
They also managed to infiltrate the FBI, which in a way meant that the investigative body would stop at nothing to apprehend culprits.
The group hacked several news outlets such as Fox and the Public Broadcasting Cooperation (PBS), where they posted fake news.
In one of their biggest hacks, they infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment causing the company to go offline for few days as it scrambled to retrieve the information of millions of customers.
Eventually, the lead member of the group was caught by the FBI after he forgot to use the Tor network and VPN to access the net.
His location leaked, and he finally decided to cooperate to avoid a longer jail term. Afterward, he led the FBI to other members of his team, who faced arrest for their alleged involvement in cyber crime.
This group aims to create cyber security awareness within the online community. Not only this, they seek to improve online security and thus lies the reason to carry out their hacks.
In their biggest-ever hack, Ourmine successfully managed to infiltrate YouTube and altered titles channels of top YouTubers.
They never caused any damage, but simply posted a message stating that “it is #Ourmine and we are testing the systems’ security.” Apart from that, no alterations were done to accounts of regular users.
A question of debate is why they should attack large tech companies.
Perhaps the reason is so as to make more money by offering them a solution to major system flaws.
The YouTube hack caught the attention of leading news outlets and in just a matter of days, the groups were making headlines.
As a result, their website went down, unable to handle the traffic driven by internet users’ curiosity to find out more about the group.
Apart from the YouTube hack, the group has managed to hack into social media accounts of celebrities as well as individuals who are major players in the respective companies where they work.
The company has also hacked into the Twitter accounts of Netflix and some CEOs’ accounts.
4. Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
Pledging its loyalty to the Syrian regime and President Bashar Al-Assad, the SEA’s hacks have largely targeted the U.S. government, also seen in the most recent case where they hacked into the website of the U.S. military.
Most of SEA’s actions revolve around politics. They take control over sites, systems and government-owned computers of other countries to send political messages.
According to Forbes, the group has managed to successfully hack into news media platforms in the U.S. Hacked outlets include The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The same source stated that SEA also hacked into the Twitter page of the Associated Press, where they announced an attack on the White House that would create immediate tension.
Mainly, this group is used by the Bashar regime in Syria to spread messages to its enemies that they have the cyber arsenal to perform certain events.
Due to the continuous hacks carried out by members of the SEA, the FBI added some members to its most wanted list, as reported by Wired.
5. Lizard Squad
This group is notorious for carrying out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, where systems are flooded with traffic enough to malfunction.
The group gained limelight after it orchestrated a DDoS attack on the gaming platforms Xbox and Play Station Network (PSN).
In an interview on Sky News, a member of Lizard Squad pointed out that the hack was for the sake of creating awareness and also to amuse themselves.
As much as this is the case, it has the potential of causing losses running into thousands if not millions of dollars.
Other hacks carried out by the group include those on individual social media accounts and the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) website.
Other platforms they claim to have infiltrated include Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, just to name a few.
6. Chaos Computer Club (CCC)
Originating from Europe, this group claims to be one of the longest and most influential civil society groups to engage in cyber security and technology.
According to multiple reports, the group aims to bring about change to laws that seek to expose an individual’s privacy online, and this fact has brought them into loggerheads with some authorities and entities such as Google, who can filter information on the internet about a user.
To the group, this has the potential of exposing them in a manner which is harmful.
The operations of the group are decentralized as members are drawn from different parts of Europe.
Among the fundamental difference between this group and others, like Anonymous, is that its members aren’t located in multiple regions throughout the globe.