WASHINGTON -- Members of the hacker collective Anonymous are targeting the Ku Klux Klan after the designated hate group reportedly threatened protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. The hackers claim to have seized two KKK Twitter accounts and say that they have launched denial-of-service attacks against a number of white supremacist websites affiliated with the Klan. The group has also publicized personal information allegedly belonging to KKK members.
“We want the KKK gone, forever,” a person going by the username “SiX” told The Huffington Post on Monday in an Anonymous Internet Relay Chat about the operation. “Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing.”
The latest campaign, #OpKKK, began on or around Friday, after the KKK’s Missouri chapter reportedly threatened to use “lethal force” against people protesting the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson. Tensions in the Missouri town have escalated in recent days as protesters await a grand jury's decision about whether or not to indict the police officer, Darren Wilson.
On Sunday, Anonymous members claimed to have taken over a Twitter account, @KuKluxKlanUSA, which they said was run by an official Klan member. They also said they had taken down various websites associated with the hate group, some of which were still down as of Monday.
ZDNet, an information technology site, reported Monday that Anonymous was claiming to have hacked another Twitter account, @YourKKKCentral, purportedly belonging to the group.
In addition, members of Anonymous have been publicly posting social media accounts, photos and other personal information allegedly belonging to KKK members. The hackers have posted the information on Twitter, under the hashtag #HoodsOff, as well on the website Pastebin.com.
A Twitter user going by the name @AnonyOps said, “I heard three cops got outed. Their twitter was stolen ;)” On Sunday night, some members were scheming on the operation’s chat room about how to send pizzas to a white supremacist’s house.
Gabriella Coleman, a professor at McGill University who recently authored the book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, said the operation appears to have been started by a sub-faction of Anonymous’ ongoing “Operation Ferguson” campaign. That campaign began in August as, in part, an effort to publicly name the police officer who shot Brown. #OpKKK, Coleman added, has help from Latin American and Australian members of Anonymous.
In the chat with HuffPost, a person going by the name “Anoniter” said Anonymous' members are cross-referencing “all instances of membership to ascertain true identity ... We use basic information that they provide on their site. We then cross it with other online applications to pinpoint exactly who they are."
“We ensure that no innocent person would be ousted," Anoniter added.
The group hasn’t always correctly identified its targets in the past. Earlier this year, as part of Operation Ferguson, a member of the hacker group mistakenly outed a Ferguson cop who was not responsible for the shooting. The officer soon received hundreds of death threats.
A person using the name “anonpanda” pointed out that the KKK was “an easy target to pick on, cuz we kinda get the moral high ground.” The user said, "i could not give a bother about the KKK... i am norwegian, they dont bother me."
“i just want to blow out some steam," anonpanda added.
Thomas Robb, the national director of the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, told HuffPost that he’d had threats against his website, but as of Monday, it was still running. He pointed out that “our membership is kept on computers that don’t have access to the Internet.”