Anonymous is not playing around.
After unapologetically trolling ISIS for their attacks on Paris and releasing the names of politicians affiliated with the Klu Klux Klan last month, the hack activist group now has Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in its crosshairs.
Their latest mission—#OpTrump—was announced earlier this week in a video response to Trump’s highly criticized proposed policy of banning Muslim’s from entering the United States, a policy spawned from the recent shooting spree in San Bernardino, California, by two “radicalized” Muslims on December 2. Anonymous believes that despite these acts of violence, the type of discriminatory policy Trump wants to enforce is exactly what ISIS wants and will put Americans in more danger of terrorism.
“The more Muslims feel sad, the more ISIS feel[s] that they can recruit them. The more United States appears to be targeting Muslims not just radical Muslims. You can be sure that ISIS would put that up on they social media campaign,” said a masked member of the group in the video.”
The first visible step of their plan was hacking into the website for Trump Towers NY, a 68-story swanky Manhattan skyscraper that Trump often uses to conduct his campaign business, Reuters reported. The site was shut down shortly after this Tweet was sent out on Friday morning:
Looking at a Tweet from @FibsFreitag, hackers may have been working on this as early as Wednesday.
While Anonymous is boasting this as a victory, according to CNN, this small takeover may have not had a major impact for those using the site. They reported that online visitors probably didn’t notice that the site was down given that there was a back-up version set in motion for virtual attacks like this one. Perhaps if anything, this temporary hacking could be more about sending Trump a “think before you speak” message and a warning of what the group is capable of and what may be coming in the future.
Gabriella Coleman, who studies hackers and online activism as the Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University, in Montreal, recently told CBS News that Trump is a “juicy” target because of his persistent bullying of other people and groups and that Anonymous could be looking to “embarrass him” more than anything else.
Potential acts could be “hacking into his headquarters or releasing something that exposed some hypocrisy or wrongdoing of some kind. Or get him to comment on something. That is possible when you have a bunch of these groups working on this problem. It’s always hard to know whether they will succeed or not,” she said.
The polarizing Trump, who has been very vocal and aggressive against his critics in the past, has yet to make a public comment on this matter.