Anonymous is a loosely associated hacktivist group. It originated in 2003 on the imageboard4chan, representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain. It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known. It strongly opposes Internet censorship and surveillance, and has hacked various government websites. It has also targeted major security corporations. It also opposes Scientology, government corruption and homophobia. Its members can be distinguished in public by the wearing of stylised Guy Fawkes masks.
The name Anonymous itself is inspired by the perceived anonymity under which users post images and comments on the Internet. Usage of the term Anonymous in the sense of a shared identity began on imageboards. A tag of Anonymous is assigned to visitors who leave comments without identifying the originator of the posted content. Users of imageboards sometimes jokingly acted as if Anonymous were a real person. The concept of the Anonymous entity advanced in 2004 when an administrator on the 4chan image board activated a "Forced_Anon" protocol that signed all posts as Anonymous. As the popularity of imageboards increased, the idea of Anonymous as a collective of unnamed individuals became an Internet meme.
It is impossible to 'join' Anonymous, as there is no leadership, no ranking, and no single means of communication. Anonymous is spread over many mediums and languages, with membership being achieved simply by wishing to join
We [Anonymous] just happen to be a group of people on the internet who need—just kind of an outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn't be able to do in regular society....That's more or less the point of it. Do as you wish.... There's a common phrase: 'we are doing it for the lulz.'
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.