April 1, 2016
In early March, the hacktivist group Anonymous declared “total war on Trump” for his xenophobic and sexist remarks during this election cycle. April 1st was the slated started date of this war. However, Anonymous hasn’t done much to put a dent in The Donald’s offensive and divisive campaign other than shut down a few secondary websites.
In fact, at this moment, the only noticeable traces of Anonymous’s war on Trump are a few severely lagging hotel websites brandishing lengthy redirect messages. Anonymous was able to take down the Citizens For Trump website early today but the only remains of that battle are pictures of page errors and word-of-mouth.
While these battles may come across as victories for Anonymous, a total war is a bit of an exaggeration. Not only were they unable to infiltrate any of Donald Trump’s primary websites, but they were also hacked themselves by a group referring to themselves as Potato Squad.
The total war on Trump has had other negative repercussions for the hacktivist group. When the original threat was made in early March, members had trouble deciding what actions to take. Two camps formed and could not compromise to find a middle-ground. This created a virtual civil war that had one side calling for the shutdown of more Trump websites through DDoS attacks (distributed denial of service attacks), while the other claimed a social media campaign would serve a higher purpose – they believed showing through social media the hatred on display at Trump rallies would prove to dissuade voters from siding with the openly offensive candidate.
The reason for the lack of spectacle in this “total war on Trump” could be contributed to CloudFare, a web security company that keeps hackers from taking down websites. Trump hired them to protect some of his pages and it seems to be working. As their CEO Matthew Prince puts it, Anonymous is essentially throwing softballs at Barry Bonds.
“DDoS attacks aren’t particularly sophisticated cyber attacks,” said Prince to Business Insider. “They are sort of the functional equivalent of a caveman with a club.”
The Internet is currently in the “Wild West” stages of development. There is a lot going on and not a lot regulating it. And while Anonymous did make some waves while trying to take down the presidential candidate on everyone’s blacklist, they have a long way to go before they can take advantage of these wild west tendencies in order to change the world.
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