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Answers from Ankita: Is Anonymous’ cyber attack on Iran ‘hacktivism’ or a nuisance?

The death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, has led to 11 days of unrest and 75 deaths, resulting in the largest defiance of the Islamic republic. The incident has opened a broader discussion about human rights worldwide, primarily considering women's status as second-class citizens. 

In response to heavy criticism, Iran has officially summoned British and Norwegian ambassadors to inquire regarding their "interventionist stance" on Iran's internal affairs. While the country fails to acknowledge its overly bureaucratic system, the president of Iran dismisses any conversation by saying that the matter "must certainly be investigated." He continues to further distract from the issue by asking for accountability for police shootings in the U.S.

So far, the Iranian authorities have denied allegations regarding negligence and mistreatment of Mahsa Amini during their custody. While other countries have been clear with their intentions by imposing various sanctions against Iran, Anonymous has sought 'Hacktivism'. 

Last week, several Iranian government websites and state-affiliated media sources were allegedly brought down. On Twitter, Anonymous announced to its eight million followers that it launched a cyber attack on the Iranian government in support of the protests surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini. 

video was released in which an altered voice, assumed to be someone behind Anonymous, said, "This was the last straw, the Iranian people are not alone."

Earlier this year, a similar attack was launched against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The group reportedly steals data from government websites and publishes it online to demand transparency and accountability from who or what they are hacking. Many people have been supporting this agenda while questioning their way of operation. For example, journalist Parmy Olson called out Anonymous in his book and asked the group to reconsider its mixed bag of legacy.

The alleged cyber attack launched by Anonymous against the Iran government has compromised the system by erasing the database. 

Social media has been cheering on the act, but has it really been successful with its mission to do good? The answer is no, not really. The group has successfully engaged in cyber warfare without yielding any substantial results. Their end goal is merely to draw attention to the issue while claiming authority and causing a nuisance. 

Anonymous' trajectory can be used to observe how the organization emerged from an anarchic group of teenagers who called themselves trolls. I believe the group is nothing but opportunists who jump in to draw more attention to themselves by portraying themselves as true vigilantes. Anonymous' villain-turned-superhero story can do better by not engaging in weak ambush but instead, actively pursuing justice. 

Ankita Bansode is a sophomore studying political science pre-law and economics at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Ankita by emailing her at ab890621@ohio.edu. 

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