Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme that originated in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, 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.
In its early form, the concept has been adopted by a decentralized online community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually toward a loosely self-agreed goal, and primarily focused on entertainment. Beginning with 2008, the Anonymous collective has become increasingly associated with collaborative, international hacktivism, undertaking protests and other actions, often in retaliation against anti-digital piracy campaigns by motion picture and recording industry trade associations. Actions credited to “Anonymous” are undertaken by unidentified individuals who apply the Anonymous label to themselves as attribution.
Although not necessarily tied to a single online entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chan, their associated wikis, Encyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums. After a series of controversial, widely-publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased. In consideration of its capabilities, Anonymous has been posited by CNN to be one of the three major successors to WikiLeaks. What is less known is that the group, while mostly Vanilla Computer Hackers of various skills, is led by a core group of Technomancers centered in NYC. Their advantage over the more normal authorities which have tried to shut down the group have only enhanced the groups notoriety.
What is of more importance, however, is the Inner Circle. This group consists solely of Technomancers, unbeknownst to the more vanilla members of the Group. Whether these technomancers come by their abilities through training or sponsorship, is unknown. It is believed by many that it is a mixture of both, with the logical sponsorship originating with those Outsiders known as The Great Old Ones. The Inner Circle closely guards their identities behind walls of false leads and blind alleys, and their true identities remain unknown to any, even their fellow Inner Circle Members.
The true motivations of the Inner Circle are unknown, but for now have seemed benign and mostly with the more public agenda of the group as a whole. What little is known about the Inner Circle has been gleaned at great cost by the Technomancers of The Laundry (the Techno-magical branch of the British Secret Service) and shared with a small select group (Primarily the Chief Lector of the House of Life and the Director and Assistant Director of The Agency.