Message showing apparent hack appears on Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer

Twitter account linked to the Anonymous network of hackers says apparent hack might be a stunt initiated by neo-Nazi site

A message purportedly posted by hackers has appeared on the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, saying the site has been taken over in response to an article criticising a woman who died during violence at far-right rally in Virginia over the weekend.

The post on the website’s homepage said the international hacking network Anonymous had taken control of the site, which was founded and is edited by Andrew Anglin, who endorsed Donald Trump for president.

On Sunday Anglin published an article criticising Heather Heyer, who was killed at a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

The web hosting company GoDaddy said on Sunday it had given the Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, after the article denigrating Heyer was published.

Your Anon News, one of the biggest Anonymous-linked Twitter accounts, said on Monday it did not think the apparent hack of the Daily Stormer had been perpetrated by an established member.

A photograph from the Facebook account of Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville on Saturday.
Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters

“We have no confirmation that ‘Anonymous’ is involved yet,” it wrote on Twitter. Furthermore, the account suggested the post may have been a Daily Stormer stunt.

The post in the name of Anonymous claims the website will be shut down within 24 hours, but this was almost inevitable considering GoDaddy’s withdrawal of support.

“Looks more like a [Daily Stormer] stunt,” the Your Anon News account said. “Wonder if they are having issues finding a new host.”

Heyer, a legal assistant who had championed civil rights issues, was killed on Saturday when a car ploughed into a crowd of protesters who had assembled to challenge a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

The post on Monday said Anonymous had taken over the site in Heyer’s name, stating she was a “victim of white supremacist terrorism”.

Part of the post that appeared on the Daily Stormer website on Monday.
Part of the post that appeared on the Daily Stormer website on Monday. Photograph: Daily Stormer

Separately, it appears Anonymous has targeted the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists. The operation, which was declared in a press release put out through various anonymous text hosting services, spoke directly to the town of Charlottesville.

People claiming to be from Anonymous said: “It has come to our attention that the far-right, alt-right, and neo-Nazi organisations have attempted to use your city as a rallying point to display their hatred and intolerance towards the people.

“You as citizens cannot allow these types of actions to go unpunished. Anonymous has taken steps to remove the websites of these far-right extremists under the banner of #OpDomesticTerrorism.”

In another press release, those claiming to be Anonymous promised to strip rightwing extremists of their anonymity, providing a document for listing the personal details of those being targeted.

The hacking collective appears to have been able to take a variety of KKK and white supremacist sites offline, at least temporarily, with some resorting to Cloudflare distributed denial of service protection to stay accessible. The Charlottesville city website was also reportedly affected, although the site was back online at the time of writing.

Anonymous has a history of targeting the KKK, leaking the identities of more than 350 alleged members with links to their social media accounts in 2015 under the banner #OperationKKK.

Anonymous is a hacking collective that grew out of the internet forum 4Chan in the late 2000s. It has become well known for a series of high-profile cyber-attacks on political, religious and corporate organisations, including Islamic State, the Westboro Baptist church, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Sony.

The loose international collective structure means that, while some operations have appeared to be coordinated efforts spanning actors in several countries, anyone can mimic Anonymous’s trademark Guy Fawkes masks and style with little to disprove it as an action of Anonymous.

The collective describes itself as an “internet gathering” with a “very loose and decentralised command structure that operates on ideas rather than directives”. This essentially means anyone could claim to be part of Anonymous. At the same time, anyone who operates as part of the group can perform actions that others in Anonymous are not party to.

Various offshoots of the main Anonymous collective also exist, including various country-specific and alternative groups such as AnonSec and GhostSec, which often claim affiliation with Anonymous.


Jamie Grierson and Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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