Anonymous has a history of hacking and engaging in other shenanigans on November 5. Why? Because November 5 is an important date for the mysterious hacker-activist collective, mostly due to the graphic novel and film “V for Vendetta.” (That’s also where their iconic masks come from.)
The date has a deeper level of historical significance, however, which is also the basis for the “V for Vendetta” plot: November 5 first became a day of infamy back in 1605, when a group of English Catholics attempted to assassinate King James of England, who was a Protestant. Though the plot was unsuccessful, the next year, November 5 was deemed an official day of commemoration, over time earning the name Guy Fawkes Day. While Fawkes was not the mastermind of the plot, he was holding the explosives.
Back to the present day. Anonymous recently threatened to attack the Singapore government on November 5 in the event that they failed to roll back regulations imposed on media publications earlier this year. Starting June 1, Singapore’s government “required websites that regularly publish news on the city state to be licensed and pay a S$50,000 (U.S.$40,200) bond, to be forfeited on the publication of ‘prohibited content’ that ‘undermines racial or religious harmony,’” according to Bloomberg.
The November 5 threat was made in the video below.
So what did Anonymous end up doing yesterday? In the end, not much in the way of hacking. They did launch worldwide protests in multiple cities, including Bangkok, Washington, Amsterdam, London, and Chicago, according to a well-known Anonymous Twitter account.
For a moment yesterday, it looked as if Anonymous might have been behind the weirdness that occurred on Foxnews.com, which at one point displayed outdated news headlines, as well as odd alerts, including a reference to “World Zombie Day.” However, the issue was blamed on an internal glitch, not an external attack. Anonymous didn’t take credit for the Foxnews.com homepage glitches either, leading us to believe that Anonymous was not responsible.
For those of you who hoped for a widespread and devastating cyber attack on Fox News, the NSA, or others: we hope you didn’t raise your expectations for November 5. Maybe next year.