With 2012 still in its infancy hackers operating under the Anonymous collective's banner have mounted three new high-profile hacking campaigns designed to "punish" the world's "wicked."
Announced Christmas Eve, 2011 Operation Hiroshima saw Anonymous hackers mount an ongoing assault on a seemingly random list of targets, aiming to release as much "incriminating" information as possible on New Year's Day.
Come New Year's the hackers made good on their promise releasing the operations "booty" via a statement on Pastebin.
"The beginning of the New Year now begins officially. It is now, at this very moment people all across the nation and in other countries perhaps a matter of hours difference, are celebrating the turning of a new year and with it the hope for a new start whatever that may be," read the statement.
Continuing: "However, a new start is not the same as a clean slate, now is it? But in every situation there is ALWAYS a leveraging factor. Let the information dump commence."
In keeping with the varied list of organisations, institutions and individuals that have attracted Anonymous' "attention," the operations data dump contained a diverse range of information. As well as the personal addresses, emails and passwords of high-profile politicians such as New York's Mayor Bloomberg, the release also contained data reportedly taken from the FBI and the New York and Oakland police departments.
Launched on 31 December, Anonymous announced the new "Fight Club" themed project via a statement on Pastebin. In it the collective promised to mount a series of cyber attacks on multiple law enforcement agencies.
"We call upon all allied battleships, all armies from darkness, to use and abuse these password lists and credit card information to wreak unholy havok upon the systems and personal email accounts of these rich and powerful oppressors. Kill, kitties, kill and burn them down... peacefully. XD XD" read Anonymous' statement.
The project was later credited as a part of Anonymous' ongoing Operation Anti-Security - the name Project Mayhem is itself a reference to the original 1990's Anti-Security campaign.
To date - though there has likely been other attacks mounted in the project's name - two key attacks on the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) and New York Police Department (NYPD) have been confirmed by the AnonymousIRC Twitter feed. "Double wham bam: #AntiSec hacks, dumps CA & NY law enforcement emails" read AnonymousIRC's tweet.
The attack on the CSLEA saw the hackers deface the association's website replacing the standard homepage with a statement promising to post the names and passwords of 2500 CSLEA members. The attack was reportedly enacted to "punish" acts of police brutality enacted throughout 2011.
Dropping to a more personal level, the attack on the NYPD saw the hackers target the department's chiefs. In the attack's accompanying statement, as well as their names, home addresses and passwords the hackers also promised to release the personal email logs of over 300 Police Chiefs. The NYPD's treatment of Occupy protesters was cited as the key motivation for the attack.
As well as its U.S. based operations, the European cells of Anonymous have also been busy continuing the collectives ongoing OpBlitzKrieg anti-Nazi campaign.
News of the latest attack broke on Monday, when the collective posted the names of several hundred subscribers to a number of online stores selling clothing associated with far-right groups and writers for the Junge Freiheit newspaper - a publication with right wing leanings - on the nazi-leaks.net web portal.
As well as the list, Frankfurter Rundschau reported that Anonymous hackers had also claimed responsibility for cyber-attacks on 15 sites believed to be associated with the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD), crediting the assault as a part of Operation Blitzkrieg.
The collective later publicly acknowledged the campaign tweeting statements supporting the attack and linking to articles about it. "#Anonymous declares 'Blitzkrieg' on neo-Nazis ... #WeInSpankinNaziGirlsBusiness," read the AnonymousIRC Twitter feed's post.
Though unconfirmed, the German Altermedia site was listed as being down just after news of the attack broke. Altermedia is a forum site which offers vocal support and an online meeting point for several far-right groups, including the British National Party.
Three of Many
Though the OpHiroshima, Blitzkrieg and Project Mayhem operations are among the highest profile attacks currently being enacted by Anons across the globe, it is worth noting they are just three of many.
Though little is officially known about how Anonymous functions, the collective has no central body - past perhaps its AnonOps website which seems to act as a central information hub. As a consequence of this and the common insistence that any individual can join Anonymous and become an "Anon," the collective itself appears to be built of various groups and individuals each operating semi-independently.
In keeping with the collective's fragmented nature, the collective is usually involved in multiple operations and projects across the globe - not all of which are immediately reported by the world's media.
A full look at Anonymous activity in 2011, read the International Business Times UK's sum up piece "2011 The Year of the Hacktivist: When Anonymous Finally Grew-Up."