The KKK Learns the Hard Way: Don’t Mess With Anonymous

The hacktivist collective hacked the Ku Klux Klan’s Twitter account after the white supremacists threatened Ferguson protesters.

(Photo: Twitter)

Nov 17, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Participants of one group wear hoods, while members of the other cloak their identity with the mystery of the Internet and Guy Fawkes masks. Despite all that secrecy, most folks would agree that’s where the similarities between the Ku Klux Klan and Anonymous begin and end. But the two organizations are now engaged in a war after the hacktivist collective took over several of the hate group’s Twitter accounts and revealed the identities of purported KKK members on social media.

In a YouTube video posted on Sunday announcing Operation KKK, Anonymous stated, “We are not attacking you [the KKK] because of what you believe in, as we fight for freedom of speech. We are attacking you because of your threats to use lethal force against us at the Ferguson protests.”

(Photo: Twitter)

Last week a chapter of KKK was allegedly passing out fliers announcing plans to take action against protesters in Ferguson, Mo. The protesters are waiting to hear whether a St. Louis County grand jury will indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot 18-year-old unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August. The town has been rocked by ongoing protests in the aftermath of the shooting. Over the weekend some protesters in the area staged a “die-in” to mark the 100th day since Brown was gunned down. Apparently, the Klan hopes to use intimidating tactics to prevent them from taking to the streets after the jury’s decision is revealed.

“We will use lethal force as provided under Missouri law to defend ourselves,” reads a flier that was allegedly created and distributed last week in Ferguson by the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “There will be consequences for your acts of violence against the peaceful, law abiding citizens of Missouri."

In response, Anonymous began using the hashtag #hoodsoff on Saturday to expose the names and addresses of supposed KKK members living in the St. Louis area. The group has since posted a list of names of individuals it says are Klan members on its website.

This isn’t the first time Anonymous has engaged in doxing related to the Michael Brown shooting. In August, after the Ferguson Police Department initially refused to release the name of the police officer involved in Brown’s death, Anonymous shared the name of an officer it believed was involved in the incident. The hacking collective came under harsh criticism after it was revealed that the officer it named wasn’t involved in the shooting.

On Saturday afternoon @KuKluxKlanUSA struck back against the hacker group’s outing of alleged members, tweeting, “Our Kommunity is not at all scared of the threats from anonymous. Just try us. You’ll regret it. #OpKKK #KKK #WhitePrideWorldWide.” It also boasted, “Anonymous is nothing but a bunch of wannabes. They won’t take any action. We will not be brought down by some low-lives behind a screen.”

On Sunday morning, the white supremacy group again egged the hacker group on, tweeting, “We are continuing to read Anonymous threats with much amusement. Still no action taken. #Cowards #HoodsON.”

Two hours later Anonymous had taken over the account, substituting the Anonymous logo for the Klan logo and changing the organization’s Twitter bio to read, “Under anon control as of 16 NOV 2014 09:11:47. You should’ve expected us.” The group also shared an image of a KKK member hanging from a noose.

Anonymous has also apparently hacked the Ku Klux Klan’s official website. As of this writing, the site is down.

Where the fight goes remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely that the Klan has the tech chops to unmask anyone involved with Anonymous. What’s also fascinating is that Twitter has apparently not taken any steps to kick Anonymous off the KKK’s Twitter. It’s been more than 24 hours since the Klan’s feed was hacked, and although Anonymous isn’t posting many tweets, the group remains in control.