“Remember, remember the 5th of November,” begins the old nursery rhyme that summarizes a group of conspirators’ plot to attack and blow up the House of Parliament in the seventeenth century. The men involved in the plot were caught and executed, and the government declared Nov. 5 a day of thanksgiving and remembrance. Then it turned into Guy Fawkes Night, Guy Fawkes being the most infamous of the conspirators. And then it turned into Fireworks Night somehow.
But now, the hacktivist group Anonymous celebrates by hacking the websites of major companies and organizations, hoping the public will remember, remember the 5th of November. The hacking celebration is a tribute to the upcoming Guy Fawkes Night and the anarchy beliefs Fawkes stood for. Anonymous attacked antivirus software company Symantec, NBC, a few Australian government websites and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, amongst others. The Jimmy Fallon show, Saturday Night Live and Lady Gaga were all messed with at some point in the night. Original reports stated that PayPal had been hacked as well, though a spokesperson has said that attacks were aimed at a company called ZPanel, not PayPayl.
Anonymous and hackers took to Twitter to announce their acts, all starting with the Anonymous “press arm” statement, “Preparing #OpVendetta Remember, remember 5th of November.” At 10:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 4, Anonymous Press tweeted, “The Twitterverse goes mad wondering what #Anonymous will do next on this 5th of November since we already started out with a bang!” Proud displays of hacking acts followed.
The hackers defaced major celebrities, large corporations, governments and federal agencies with “remember, remember the 5th of November,” but most sites were cleaned up relatively quickly and no lasting damage has been reported. Will we remember, remember the 5th of November?