Skip to main content

Operation Wisconsin: Anonymous targets billionaire Koch brothers

operation-wisconsin-anonymousEveryone’s favorite loose-knit group of “hacktivists,” Anonymous, have allegedly launched a new campaign of disruption: Operation Wisconsin. This round, the shadowy cyber-vigilantes plan to take on libertarian billionaires David and Charles Koch, who own Koch Industries, for their support of Wisconsin’s union-busting governor, Scott Walker.

“It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch — the billionaire owners of Koch Industries — have long attempted to usurp American Democracy,” reads a press release posted to Anonymous-affiliated publication AnonNews.org. “Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.”

Specifically, the release points to the Koch brother’s role in pushing forward a Republican-backed bill in Wisconsin that would effectively “eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions” at state-owned utility plants by allowing Koch Industries to purchase those power plants without oversight, giving the company a “monopoly over the state’s power supplies.”

The Koch brothers’ role in the “grassroots” Tea Party movement are also mentioned as reasons to “fight back.” This includes their creation of organizations like Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United which, says the release, have been used to “sway voters” using “falsehoods.”

“Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system,” says the release. “For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere.”

According to the press release, members of Anonymous are “actively seeking vulnerabilities,” presumably of the network and computer variety. Until such vulnerabilities make themselves apparent, says the release, supporters of Operation Wisconsin should boycott all products that fall under the massive Koch Industries umbrella.

koch-industries-boycott-anonymous
So far, Koch Industries’ digital properties appear to be up and running properly, save an intermittent outage of the Americans for Prosperity website late Sunday.

It should be noted, however, that just because a press release claiming to have been written by Anonymous appears on AnonNews — which is open to anyone who wants to publish something — doesn’t mean the group or its members have actually coordinated an attack.

Recently, a similar release was published to AnonNews, which said that Anonymous planned to take on the homophobic religious zealots of Westboro Baptist Church. Anonymous later claimed that the release was actually written by Westboro in an attempt to generate publicity for the church, and that the hacktivists had no plan to attack. (Though they did, eventually, do just that, after Westboro wouldn’t back down their rhetoric.)

Also, an AnonNews post addressed to the media points out that Anonymous is not affiliated with the left wing of American politics, nor does it have any official position on the Tea Party, Republican party or the Democratic party. The only thing Anon does have a position on are “LULZ.”

Anonymous has already successfully taken down the corporate sites of Visa and Master Card, as well as PayPal, after those companies stopped processing donation payments made to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks late last year. The group performed similar take-downs of governmental sites in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia, in order to help protesters in those countries. Most recently, Anonymous obliterated the reputation of cyber-security firm HBGary after executives of that company attempted to infiltrate Anonymous’ ranks. Whether or not their tactics will work against Koch Industries remains to be seen — but you can guarantee we’ll be watching.

Topics
Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
This new RTX 4070 pulls off the impossible
The RTX 4070 ITX Sakura Blizzard graphics card,

I didn't think it was possible, but GPU vendor Zephyr has managed to trim the RTX 4070 down to a dual-slot card with only a single fan. The RTX 4070 is one of the best graphics cards you can buy, and although there are plenty of slim models available, we haven't seen a card that achieves the petite size that Zephyr is claiming with its new ITX Sakura Blizzard model.

Zephyr shared the new graphics card on Chinese video streaming service BiliBili over the weekend. The dimensions are extremely small, with the card measuring 172mm by 123mm by 42mm. That's small enough to fit in even the tiniest mini ITX cases (though always make sure to double-check your dimensions). For reference, Nvidia's Founder's Edition RTX 4070 measures 240mm by 110mm by 40mm, and third-party options can get much larger depending on their cooler configuration.

Read more
How the new iPad Pro is changing everything for the MacBook
M4 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

iPad Pro (M4) Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

If Apple products from the last decade are known for anything, it’s for being incredibly thin and light. Now, almost five years to the day since former head designer Jony Ive left Apple, his obsession for weightlessness looks set to come roaring back at the company that once employed him.

Read more
Best refurbished laptop deals: How to find cheap used computers
microsoft surface laptop go 2020 on desk

Some of the best laptops you can get are ones that come relatively cheap and have a lot of power under the hood. While that can mean finding yourself a pretty excellent deal on a laptop, another option is to grab yourself a refurbished laptop. Not only are they much cheaper than their new counterparts, a lot of them don't even have a lot of significant issues with them and may just have cosmetic damage, with everything else working perfectly fine. Another great thing is that a lot of these refurbished laptops come with guarantees, so even if something does go wrong at the start, you can have them replaced or serviced.

To that end, there are really great refurbished laptop sales that you can check out as part of Best Buy laptop deals, Dell laptop deals, HP laptop deals and Lenovo laptop deals. Alternatively, if you're in the Apple ecosystem, take a look at these refurbished MacBook deals, or if you still want to go for something new, you could consider checking out these laptop deals instead.
Best Buy refurbished laptops -- starting at $113
Best Buy's refurbished laptops are -- you guessed it -- Geek Squad Certified and while they may not be free and clear of absolutely all cosmetic scuffs they are still exceptionally clean and always in working order. Some of them even come with additional software like virus tools, streaming access, like Apple TV+, and much more. Of course, the best part is that you can get a premium and fully upgraded model for less, often with more storage, more power, and more features than you would when buying a base model brand new. You've got some great options from Lenovo, Acer, HP, Dell, Gateway, and even Apple to choose from. The cheapest models start around $120 and increase from there. The best way to know what's available is to head over and browse for yourself.

Read more