Threat Management

Anonymous strikes after group plans Newtown vigil protest

Anonymous is zeroing in on Westboro Baptist Church, a group known for its hate-fueled protests that planned to picket a vigil for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

On Saturday, the hacktivist group posted the names, phone numbers, and email and physical addresses of Westboro members, along with a reproachful video, as backlash for the Topeka, Kan.-based group vying to intrude upon grieving families.

According to the tiny church, made up of about 40 people, mostly family, it planned to "picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment."

Last Friday, Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman, shot and killed 20 children and six adults while they were at school, before committing suicide.

In the video, Anonymous said Westboro's “hatred supersedes [its] faith.”

“From the time you have received this message, our attack protocol has past been executed and your downfall is underway,” the video said. “Do not attempt to delude yourselves into thinking you can escape our reach, for we are everywhere, and all-seeing, in the same sense as God. We are a body of individuals who fight for a purpose higher than self, and seek to bring the malevolent intent of the malefactors to light.”

On Monday, teenage hacker “Cosmo the God” of online collective UGNazi apparently hacked the Twitter account of Westboro spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper. The account remains compromised.

A Sunday tweet from an Anonymous Twitter handle also said that the church's site,, was taken offline by the group. The page has been intermittently available on Monday.

This incident is just Anonymous' latest act of dissent against the inflammatory Westboro group, known largely for protesting the funerals of U.S. fallen soldiers and other public figures.  

In February 2011, Anonymous defaced Westboro's website by exploiting an unnamed zero-day vulnerability. The group hacked the church's website during a live radio interview on “The David Pakman Show” between Westboro's Phelps-Roper and an Anonymous member.

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