Animal Rights Hacktivists

A handful of activists (maybe less) have begun to use digital means to take direct actions against those who are involved in animal research. All the hacks below involved gaining control of the website and either defacing the front page, or taking down the entire website. This is likely the actions of one or two lone activists, rather than the thousands involved in high profile distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) – which were used to attack websites like the US Department of Justice in January.

On May 2nd 2012 the BiteBack extremist website reported that Riccó Alete, an Italian supplier of laboratory equipment, and SD Pellicceria, an Italian fur store, both had their websites defaced (apparently) by the notorious hacking group Anonymous.

Two days later, on May 4th 2012, Anonymous targeted  the website of Anlaids, an Italian non-profit organization which aims to tackle AIDS through information, research and funding.

However, this problem is not limited to Italy, or even Europe, on May 10th 2012 an American pet product company website was taken down by activists due to the activities of their sister-organization, Marshall BioResources, who supply equipment for laboratories.

Message left by hackers

Anonymous, for those who are unaware, is a loose collective of hackers from all over the world. Their effectiveness can be gauged from their high profile targets. They have (temporarily) crashed the websites of the Syrian Defence Ministry, the British Home Office, the US Department of Justice, Interpol and even the FBI.

Nonetheless, we should put this on perspective. As mentioned before, the number of anonymous members involved in the attacks on companies linked to animal research is very small – probably just one. The nature of anonymous is that anyone may carry out attacks in their name (it is a front group in this respect) and although they have a history of anti-establishment attacks, they do not have a history of targeting those linked with animal research.