The Playstation Network outage has inconvenienced and enraged tens of millions of Playstation users for weeks now.
Anonymous made the initial denial of service (DoS) attack. After that, it’s unclear if anyone associated with the group was responsible for the massive breach of security or if it was the DoS attacks that weakened Sony’s defenses enough for the malicious hackers to break through.
What’s emerging, however, is the turning of public opinion against Anonymous.
Before the Playstation episode, the public viewed Anonymous with a reserved curiosity, awe, and support.
They were the free-wheeling modern-day vigilantes who attacked targets many people didn’t like (Scientology/Tom Cruise and Mubarak’s government). They also fought for privacy and freedom and won the implicit admiration of many people who were concerned about such issues.
However, with the attack on Playstation, many thought Anonymous went too far.
“Anonymous states that it is defending the defenseless, but what do I tell a 9 year-old that just wants to play Little Big Planet 2 online?” said website lifebatch.com.
“I must admit I was immediately a fan of Anonymous when I learned of their political efforts to keep governments and giant faceless corporations from keeping illegal activities secret, but as a gamer who likes to play his games I say this recent is going too far… I feel like this war has been declared on us, the gamers,” said a posting titanreviews.com.
“You didn’t just f*** over Sony, you f****d over millions of people,” said a user at IBTimes.
“Explain to me you bunch of bozos, how are you standing up for my rights by treading on my rights? You think your right to hack your own PS3 system trumps the rights of millions of gamers who just want to kick back and play the game? Wow,” said another user at IBTimes.
The turning of public opinion against Anonymous is similar – not in scope but in nature – to what happened to Islamic extremists in Egypt in late 1997.
Before 1997, Egypt, a Muslim country with a healthy dose of suspicious and resentment for the West, had enough people who implicitly admired and supported Islamic extremists. However, in November 1997, Islamic extremists went too far by brutally murdering 62 people – including one 5-year-old and many women – at an Egyptian tourist site.
This turned public opinion, and the Egyptian government, sharply against them.
Realizing their misstep and the loss of almost all their support, Islam extremist leaders scrambled to deny their involvement. The group never recovered their broad support. Time will tell if Annonymous meets the same fate.