Who are Anonymous, why do they wear a Guy Fawkes mask, what does it symbolise and what has happened to the Russian Ministry of Defence database?

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ANONYMOUS has declared a 'cyberwar' on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cyber hacking group Anonymous has declared a 'cyberwar' on Russia just days after President Vladimir Putin's televised address which led Russia to invade Ukraine.

Members of Anonymous, also known as Anons, are regularly identified by their Guy Fawkes masks which include a white face with a black goatee and grinning smile.

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Who are Anonymous?Who are Anonymous?
Who are Anonymous?

But who are Anonymous and what do they do?

Here's everything you need to know:

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Who are Anonymous?

Anonymous is an international group of hackers whose identity is strictly confidential.

The group is known for its various cyberattacks against large international businesses, institutions, and governments.

The exact origin of Anonymous is unknown but it is believed that the group started back in 2003 on an online bulletin board website called 4chan.

Users of the site often shared their thoughts on modern politics.

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In the beginning, Anonymous used its platform to aim cyberattacks on its targets for the sake of entertainment.

The group began to build momentum and five years later, they launched a series of pranks, protests, and hacks on the Church of Scientology, which includes members such as actor Tom Cruise.

Since the group formed, they have also taken on larger platforms such as Sony, Visa, Paypal, Mastercard, and the governments of Tunisia, Uganda, and the United States.

Now, Anonymous is targetting the Russian government following the invasion of Ukraine.

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Why does the group wear a mask?

The Anonymous mask is now known by many across the world due to its distinctive features.

The mask was created by illustrator David Lloyd and it features in the 1980s comic series V for Vendetta, which is about a masked rebel called V who targets the British government.

The illustrator found inspiration for the mask from Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

Anonymous donned the mask in 2018 as they protested against the Church of Scientology and this led to other hacking groups using masks to hide their identity.

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What happened to the Russian Ministry of Defence database?

In protest against the Russian government, Anonymous hacked into their Ministry of Defence database.

The hackers posted the database online, including information such as passwords, emails, and telephone numbers.

Anonymous shared on Twitter: 'Hackers all around the world: target Russia in the name of #anonymous let them know we do not forgive, we do not forget. Anonymous owns fascists, always.’

The hackers also announced that they have uncovered 200 gigabytes worth of emails from Tetraedr, the Belarusian weapons manufacturer.

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Anonymous claims that the manufacturer has been supplying President Putin with logistical support following the invasion of Ukraine.

The hacktivist group has already succeeded in taking down some of Russia's propaganda websites after the Ukraine government asked them to conduct cyber missions against Russian troops.

However, a Russia-based cyber group called the Conti Group has shown its 'full support' to President Putin.

They said: ‘If anybody will decide to organise a cyberattack or any war activities against Russia, we are going to use our all possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures of an enemy.’

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Following the initial cyber hacks, Anonymous has also taken down major state-controlled news websites and the group also stated yesterday that they have disrupted a gas supply in Russia.

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