Anonymous is a "hacker-activist" network that has claimed online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to Los Angeles Police Canine Association. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)
Johannesburg - Hacktivist group Anonymous Africa says it has inspired others to launch cyber attacks for political purposes in South Africa and across the region.
Anonymous is a loose global network of hackers who launch attacks on targets for activist purposes. Their targets have previously ranged from the Vatican to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
This year, a group dubbed Anonymous Africa has launched hack attacks on websites belonging to the SABC and the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments.
READ: Why Anonymous 'hacked' the SABC, Gupta websites
Anonymous Africa targeted the SABC for censorship at the broadcaster while the group attacked the Gupta websites because of corruption allegations swirling around the family.
Amid protests in Zimbabwe this year, Anonymous Africa has also claimed responsibility for the downing of the likes of the Zanu-PF website.
And Anonymous Africa has told Fin24 that it expects other hackers to take up similar causes in the region.
“There will be a lot more attacks coming and not from us, we have started traction, just like we were inspired by the work of The Jester, hopefully others will follow our example,” said Anonymous Africa in an email to Fin24.
‘The Jester’ is an unidentified computer hacker who has previously claimed responsibility for attacks on the likes of WikiLeaks.
“As long as the rule of law is not complied to from the top, don’t expect those at the bottom to comply,” Anonymous Africa said.
Anonymous Africa also said that it is currently “very focused on the ground war in Zimbabwe” amid recent civil protests in that country.
“Our activists are busy with reality. The attacks helped amplify the #ThisFlag movement and we hope to use that as the catalyst to bring spring to our part of the world,” said Anonymous Africa.
“We still have not gone after the ANC like we promised, and we are not politicians, so we like keeping to our promises, we are just distracted by what is happening on the ground now which is very close to our lives,” said the group.
Separate Armscor attack
But Anonymous Africa is seemingly not the only hacktivist group targeting South African websites.
Earlier this month, a separate group of Anonymous hackers using the #OpAfrica flag leaked data belonging to South African arms supplier Armscor.
READ: Anonymous hacks Armscor website
“We are not involved in #OpAfrica. We support them as long as their activities are in the public’s interest and not pushing special interests,” Anonymous Africa told Fin24 in an email interview.
Anonymous Africa told Fin24 that it thought the Armscor hack was “impressive” and that it “looks like people took advantage of the noise we created”.
“We avoid Armscor and Denel, but I am sure there are secrets there that need to be exposed,” Anonymous Africa told Fin24.
“So we support them as long as their intent is clear, however, we have noticed a couple of anons jumping on the bandwagon that have zero understanding of the local geopolitics that are hitting targets we do not agree with,” said Anonymous Africa.
Anonymous Africa has further said that its “main division” with the Anonymous #OpAfrica group centres on ideology.
In a blog post earlier this year, the Anonymous #OpAfrica group announced 'Operation Green Rights', which tackles corporations that push “GMOs (genetically modified organisms), wholesale processed foods and exploit Africa as well as her people and resources”.
“Anyone who is an anti-GMO nut - ie, going against the volumes of science - is someone we would rather not get too close with as we do not trust their reasoning abilities,” said Anonymous Africa.
Meanwhile, Fin24 has also recently contacted the Anonymous #OpAfrica group to ask if they are linked to Anonymous Africa.
“Anonymous is very loose and decentralised containing of many factions that have different views also there is no central command structure, this is linked as a anonymous action," the Anonymous #OpAfrica grouping told Fin24.