After the spectacular hacking of The Sun newspaper and News International websites that took place earlier this week, hacking collectives like Anonymous, LulzSec and AntiSec seem unstoppable.  This air of invulnerability was part of LulzSec’s gloating the night the attack on The Sun’s web services took place.

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However, just a day after news agencies carried the story that the FBI had arrested 14 alleged members of Anonymous across the U.S., part of an international operation that ended up with 21 alleged Anon and LulzSec members in custody.

Will this be the end of Anonymous? Unlikely. Anonymous operates as an idea, not as an organised group. In that respect it operates as a distributed network than a centralised organisation. Using P2P analogies, LulzSec would be more like Napster, while Anonymous is Bittorrent. Because of that organisational structure, any removal of nodes in the network would not translate into a collapse of the entire system, as the architecture allows for continuing operation even with the removal of important nodes.

The only way in which I can see an end to Anonymous would be if a critical mass of people give it up. Forgive me for using a V for Vendetta quote here, but you cannot kill an idea.


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