“Anonymous”, a global network of international hackers and activists threatened Japan with massive cyber-attacks if the dolphin hunt continues near Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. The group has been gaining popularity – some would say infamy – all over the world for its “hacktivist” stance, which is the hacking of online assets, mainly websites, to induce social change. The online warning that was sent to the Japanese government read, “STOP these slaughters IMMEDIATELY, or get ready to face the extent of our wrath.”
The hacker group mentioned 22 websites for possible attack, including those of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, the prime minister’s office, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The group has shown its capabilities of doing such things before, and the Taiji government and the National Information Security Center have been on alert since the warning from Anonymous. Taiji’s traditional dolphin hunt gained international attention after the 2009 release of “The Cove,” an award-winning documentary that criticized the practice of the whaling town. “This is not just a warning,” the group said in what appears to be the first verbal offensive the group has launched over the issue. It also urged Japanese not to “follow the idiotic belief of your government.”
This is par-for-the-course for Anonymous, as the group has been traditionally active in Japan in past periods. In 2012, five major universities in Japan had their websites hacked and it was popularly attributed to the hacktivist group. One of the more high profile hacks was done to global electronics and multimedia giant Sony, where Cody Kretsinger – a hacker known by his nom de guerre “Recursion” and by his affiliation to Anonymous – has already been sentenced to serve time in prison after an extensive computer network security hack of the Sony Pictures Entertainment website.