FBI Agent Claims Hacking Group Anonymous Is on Lockdown

Hacktivist group tried to take down British government sites a day after FBI claimed their demise.

A child wears a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol for online hacktivist group Anonymous. (Photo: Vivek Prakash/Reuters)

Aug 22, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

FBI officials are claiming to have all but shut down hacker collective Anonymous, citing arrests of key players within the collective as a major deterrent.

Assistant Special Agent Austin P. Berglas works in the FBI’s cyber division and told Huffington Post on Wednesday that the arrests last year of five hackers belonging to splinter group Lulz Security had a “huge deterrent effect” on the collective.

“The movement is still there, and they’re still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don’t hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches,” Berglas told the Post. “It’s just not happening, and that’s because of the dismantlement of the largest players.”

And yet on Thursday, Anonymous suggested—they just don’t claim responsibility like they used to—that they attempted to disrupt British government websites to protest treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The British say the group didn’t get far in its attempt, Reuters reported. Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and British officials vow to arrest him if he emerges.

Experts say there’s no doubt the arrests had an effect, but Anonymous is still very active.

“They could easily emerge again as a force to contend with,” McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman told the Huffington Post.

LulzSec, as the group is known, made headlines when they claimed responsibility for hacking the web sites for PBS News Hour, the Fox reality show The X Factor, Sony Pictures and others.

The group posted a phony news story on the venerable Public Broadcasting Station’s news show’s site about famously dead rapper Tupac Shakur still being alive and living in New Zealand.