Anonymous came on the scene in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan and have gained international notoriety over the years. They are a loosely associated international network of activists and hactivist entities that have posed real or supposed threats to governments and privately helped companies or groups alike. The infamous hacking network has already announced a campaign to attack African Governments. It gives its reason as an intent to raise awareness about “child labour and corruption”.
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The hactivists listed seven African governments that are to be the target of the proposed attacks, inclusive of the; Rwandan government, Ugandan government, South African government, Zimbabwe’s government, Sudan and South Sudan government, Ethiopian government and the Tanzanian government. The attacks will fall under its #OpAfrica campaign and have already been launched at the beginning of February.
Uganda and Rwanda have been attacked with the Ugandan Ministry Of Finance and an IT company under the Rwandan government being hacked at the beginning of the month. The group had initially targeted Uganda’s finance.go.ug domain but were also able to breach into the ministry server and leaked data which was made available online. The leaked data included site’s database, usernames, phone numbers, emails and encrypted passwords. Another list contained 100 usernames and their encrypted passwords.
In the case of the Rwandan government the leaked data was especially hurtful as hackers breached into the server of the Broadband Systems Corporation (BSC), an Information technology firm responsible for providing video conferencing service to the government sector. Hackers accessed the company’s online ticketing system and email addresses. The hackers also leaked names of people working for the firm, phone numbers, email addresses and encrypted passwords.
The hackers have assured that they will not hurt civilians or employment seekers, as their focus is on the governments. It is not immediately obvious what impact their campaign will have on these governments. Africans will be the first to admit that their governments do display a kind of negative resilience, but Anonymous has managed to build quite a reputation for organized disruption. Some admirers have actually described them as a digital Robin Hood and others as freedom fighters, things that Africans can surely relate positively to, seeing the sharp divide of wealth on the continent and the constant chaffing against corruption.
It will be foolhardy however to ignore the real risks of the hactivists efforts going to far and jeopardizing further some already tense situations in these countries. South Sudan for instance has just barely come out of a gruesome war and has managed to achieve what can only be defined as a very fragile balance and the group may not respect these real facts.
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