This is probably the image that pops in your head when you think of a hacker - a guy in his mid-twenties, surrounded by hi-tech screens and a large cup of soda which he occasionally sips on
Anonymous Malaysia couldn't have looked any different. The self-proclaimed hacktivist group has gained quite a reputation, painting themselves as a vigilante cyber force meant to correct injustices done by the government
So who is Anonymous Malaysia?
Those people in the Guy Fawkes masks aren’t members of a V for Vendetta fan club. Rather, the masks are the collective “face” of Anonymous, a loose global collection of activists and hackers who have no leadership structure and work based on ideas and causes – sort of like a hive mind. One of their major causes is opposing internet censorship and control.
The hacktivist group has issued several threats to the Malaysian government since 2011. However, it seemed like some of their threats were mere "passing clouds" since most of it didn't involve the threat actually being carried out.
1. Operation Malaysia, 15 June 2011
Background: It all started when the Malaysian government came under their spotlight in 2011 after it started censoring websites including Wikileaks and torrent sites like The Pirate Bay. After issuing a warning, Operation Malaysia was announced to "wash away" the government's "corruption".
The Effect: Though Malaysian authorities responded to the threat, the activist group ended up taking down 91 governmental sites which included the Government's official portal for 8 hours.
2. Sabah Crisis, 4 March 2013
Background: In some cases, actions carried out the group only led to a bigger blunder especially during the Sabah crisis. Anonymous Malaysia launched threats against Philippine websites by posting videos meaning to send a message to the Filipinos to keep away from the region of Sabah.
The Sabah crisis involved clashes between the royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian security forces over the Sabah land.
The Effect: Almost instantly after the Malaysian group launched it threats, the "Anonymous Philippines Cyber Army" retaliated starting with a call to the Philippines government to secure its online properties from Malaysian hackers (like a mini war among hackers) and also included defacing about 20 private websites under Malaysia's national domain.
Two days later, Anonymous Malaysia announced they have made peace with their Philippines counterpart.
3. Operation PTPTN, 1 November 2012
Background: In a 57 second video uploaded on YouTube, the group commented on the high interest rate charged on PTPTN borrowers which eventually led to increasing debts for the borrower every month. This led them to launch an attack on the PTPTN website.
The Effect: Unfortunately, the video did not receive much media attention which resulted in no response from PTPTN. In the end, the threat was not carried out.
4. Warning to Inspector-General Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, 24 February 2015
Background: This time, their video consisted of a group of three masked individuals with one speaking in a digitally altered voice, reading out a statement promising to instill fear among government agencies by blowing up IGP Khalid’s car with him inside it. But why? Apparently this was to warn other agencies about destroying democracy.
The Effect: IGP Khalid didn't respond to the video and the threat was eventually not carried out.
And the most recent threat launched (definitely the cherry on the cake)...
5. Bersih 4.0, 8 August 2015
Background: Most recently, the group released a chilling threat against Najib declaring a “duel and challenge” and calling for him to step down from office immediately. Anonymous, gave warning of “internet warfare” against Najib from 6pm to 11pm on August 29 and 30, targeting websites such as 1MDB, PDRM and Najib Razak's web portal, promising that it would be the country’s “most historic internet crash” ever.
It also claims to have identified another 150 web portals which it will target within forty-eight hours of August 30 if Najib does not step down from his position
The Effect: Stay tuned for August 29 and 30!
Note that organisers of Bersih 4.0 have yet to release any statement or confirmation on any collaboration with Anonymous Malaysia