The book traces and outlines the evolution and growth of the loose "hive mind/hacker collective" that eventually morphs into the online hacking group Anonymous (typified by the stylized, blank faced Guy Fawkes masks from the film V for Vendetta now commonly seen at protests).
Anonymous is the amphorous, changable and often desultory collection of online hackers, script-kiddies, black-hat virus makers and anarchists that have aggregated into one of the more unique and potentially dangerous expressions of online culture. Olson traces the key elements that drove the development and growth of Anonymous, keying in on its more spectacular denial of service attacks and other hacking activities (including Anonymous's role in the Arab Spring) that have brought down web targets as diverse as CBS and the CIA. The author takes a detailed look at a core group of hackers, paralleling their lives and the evolution of Anonymous from a loose affiliation of 4Chan message board lurkers and hackers into a more political, radical and anarchic agency. The movement started from the subversive (and at times vicious) "trolling for the lulz" approach that morphed into Anonymous more by accident then design when it slammed into an online war with Scientology.
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
Olsen outlines the rise of Anonymous from minor Internet irritant to the bane of Internet security experts everywhere and how the FBI and the authorities in the US and the UK eventually traced back, turned and broke at least a key part of the most significant organized hacking organization (if you can call it that) in the world.
The book is timely, fascinating, somewhat disturbing look at hacker subculture, the darker corners of the Internet and the rise of a new type of collective activist capability that has the capacity to impact commerce, politics and social networks around the world.
It warrants a careful look.