There's some debate over whether Anonymous could take down social networking giant Facebook on Nov. 5, as the organization has claimed, but let's assume they can.
Imagine that through the means of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS), a splinter group of Anonymous is able to take down Facebook and its 750 million users. Will so many Facebook addicts around the world be able to stand a few hours or days without their connection to the social network?
"I think I'd be able to live without it for a day," said Arpan Duttoroy, a senior at the University of Maryland. "But it'd be an inconvenience for me, especially in terms of keeping up with people I don't see every day."
In the past Anonymous has taken down the Web sites of Visa, PayPal, Amazon, the CIA, and other government entities. Clearly each had an impact and made a news wave. But those takedowns would pale in comparison to the uproar likely caused by a Facebook shutdown.
Facebook permeates many aspects of our lives. It can be used for professional or personal reasons, to look at photos of a grandchild or find out what an old college buddy is currently doing.
The loss of Facebook, a network that contains some of our most personal details and photos, is scary for some users.
"It's scary that a hacking group would have the power and resources to hack into a website that has become such an influential part of American culture," said Kenny Voshell, an employee at DuPont. "It makes you wonder what other kinds of potentially terrorist acts they're capable of, and if any company is safe from being hacked."
There has been a mix of information surrounding "Operation Facebook," as initially a purported leader of Anonymous denied that the group had any interest in shutting down Facebook.
The Twitter account, AnonOPs, which acts as one of the primary communication tools for the group, initially stated that the group was not involved with a potential Facebook shutdown.
But a day later the account changed its tune, admitting that a splinter group of Anonymous was planning an attack on Facebook yet saying the entire group was not committed or involved in the project.
If it is able to succeed, the impact of its hack could be to raise additional awareness on the dangers of hacking. Despite all of the previous attacks getting some news coverage, now 750 million users would be painfully aware of what these hacking groups are capable of.
"I wouldn't close my Facebook account or even try to replace it with other social media, but it certainly shows the potential hackers have to affect a lot of people's everyday lives," Voshell said.