Anonymous is an international group of hackers that originally began in 2003, with founding members coming largely from the popular imageboard 4chan. The group is a loosely organized collection of individuals who participate in anonymous actions online, getting involved in various civil disobedience campaigns. A specific culture is associated with the group, which has caused some prominent members to reveal their identity and thus lose their membership. The group largely attacks other groups in an attempt to support freedom of speech and expression on the internet.
Anonymous formed in 2003 in response to a YouTube video titled Dusty the Cat in which a cat was abused by an "anonymous" boy only known as Timmy (see 4chan). The group successfully determined Timmy's true identity and caused him to be arrested for his cruel actions. The group met on a specific IRC channel and kept other members informed through various websites. The group was largely quiet until 2006 and 2007, when they invaded the website Habbo, a social networking service centered around the idea of a hotel, with multiple versions of the same avatar (dressed in grey with an afro) used to block other users from entering the pool area. They blocked the users on the grounds that the pool was "closed for aids".