Anonymous recently used YouTube to declare an impending attack on Zynga (and maybe Facebook) on Guy Fawkes Day. That’s today, November 5. Notably, this is not the first time that Anonymous has caused concern on this specific day. Guy Fawkes has come to symbolize the online hacking community and the Guy Fawkes mask is the identity these hackers have adopted.
It has also been reported that NBC studios suffered a hacking attack today by a group called ‘Pyknic’. The NBC website was defaced and taken down for many hours and the trouble began with the pages for Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. An audio clip reciting “Remember, Remember the fifth of November……” was played in a loop in the background. Some usernames and passwords were also stolen during this operation. In related news, it also seems that PayPal and Symantec have been hit by some form of hack attack.
The history behind Guy Fawkes Day
Guido Fawkes was an English soldier who fought for the Spanish in many wars. Subsequently, he was enlisted as a member of a conspiracy to assassinate King James I for religious reasons. The reason why he was chosen was that he was just an anonymous soldier who would not attract attention. The plan was to blow up the English Parliament, the House of Lords, with barrels of gunpowder that were stored in a cellar below the Parliament. The plot was set for November 5, 1605 and this eventually came to be known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’.
However, the plot was leaked when the conspirators started looking for wider support. They approached an individual who informed his brother-in-law not to attend Parliament on November 5. Guy Fawkes and the other members of the conspiracy were caught and executed and November 5 was then regarded as a day of celebration, also known as ‘Bonfire Night’.
The Guy Fawkes mask
This mask, favored by Anonymous and several other hacker groups, has become synonymous with anti-establishment protests and movements. It has been spotted at various protests ranging from the 2008 Project Chanology protests against the Church of Scientology to the Occupy movement by Anonymous. The face has become a symbol of protests against the order and other societal norms that are challenged by hacktivism and political hacking.
It remains to be seen if Anonymous will actually carry out a damaging attack against Zynga or Facebook today. The fact that they came out and warned against this maybe implies some scare tactics but it would certainly help these networks to be on their guard. As users we can only observe these developments for now, and stay safe with the knowledge that our machines are safe as long as we take the right precautions and keep our Internet security software updated.