Horrible people Anonymous has helped take down

Ever since the hacktivist group Anonymous first burst onto the scene back in 2004, it's been a bit unclear exactly what their goal was, landing somewhere between superhero vigilantism and scattershot cyber-bullying. Which makes sense given the organization isn't organized at all beyond whoever happens to own a Guy Fawkes mask and a functioning TRS-80. But while their methods have been questionable at best, over the years Anonymous has taken on some of the biggest creeps, jerks, and evildoers on the planet. Here's a look at some of the horrible people Anonymous has helped take down.

Hal Turner and the KKK

Way back in 2006, Anonymous took aim at Hal Turner, a white supremacist, Holocaust denier, and all-around tool. The group shut down his website and crippled his radio program. That was just the warm-up, though: in November 2015, Anonymous set their sights on the literal grandmaster of racism, the KKK, posting the identities of hundreds of Klansmen online. Looks like those hoods aren't such a great disguise after all.

Chris Forcand

One of Anonymous' earliest and most publicized victories came in 2007, when Canadian authorities arrested 53-year-old Chris Forcand and charged him with, among other things, using the Internet to lure children under the age of 14. Anonymous was credited with the arrest after members—who were themselves propositioned by Forcand—alerted police and provided authorities with incriminating evidence.

Westboro Baptist Church

Is there any organization in America more universally loathed than the Westboro Baptist Church? Originally, though, Anonymous refused to attack the Westboro fools, releasing a statement in 2011 citing free speech as Anonymous' number one tenet. But when the Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest the funerals of the Sandy Hook massacre victims in 2012, that was going a step too far even for Anonymous, which responded by shutting down the Westboro website, hacking social media accounts belonging to Westboro members, and starting a government petition to have the Westboro Baptist Church officially designated a hate group.

The Steubenville rapists

When members of the Steubenville, Ohio high school football team were implicated in the rape of a teenage girl, most people were outraged. Some, however, defended the rapists, even orchestrating a cover-up in order to protect the football team. That was beyond the pale as far as Anonymous was concerned; before long, Anonymous had uncovered and publicly released video proof of the rape, as well as evidence implicating adults in the cover-up. The result: two players were found guilty of rape, while several adults were also arrested on related obstruction of justice charges. Served.

Kenny Glenn

Being a huge jerk is often enough to catch the attention of Anonymous. Being a huge jerk online? Well, that's just asking for it. Consider the case of a teenage crumbum named Kenny Glenn. Kenny had the bright idea of posting videos to the Internet of himself torturing a cat. Anonymous went into action, tracing the video to its source and outing Kenny as a vile loser. Acting on the tip from Anonymous, Kenny and his brother were officially charged with animal abuse just two days later.

The Church of Scientology

Tom Cruise may be doing his best to defend the Church of Scientology from its many detractors, but even he can't protect them from the wrath of Anonymous. After a secret Scientology-produced video featuring Cruise was posted on YouTube, the Church had it removed, citing copyright violations. Anonymous saw this as Internet censorship and launched a full scale assault intended to draw attention to the Church's shady financial dealings, using mass public protests and denial of service attacks on the Church website, among other tactics. It worked, with mainstream media giving broad coverage to what Anonymous termed Operation Chanology.

Oppressive African regimes

Perhaps Anonymous' most well publicized efforts came during the Arab Spring wave of pro-democracy protests in 2011, with Anonymous actively working to topple the regimes of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. They haven't stopped there, though; in 2012 and 2013, Anonymous also attacked both the Ugandan and Nigerian governments in protest of excessively harsh anti-gay legislation passed in those countries. Solidarity!

Child pornographers

The arrest of predator Chris Forcand in 2007 was a victory for Anonymous and right-thinking people everywhere, but that was also just one guy. So in 2011, Anonymous stepped up their efforts to stop child pornography with a much broader assault. Dubbed Operation DarkNet, Anonymous launched denial of service attacks on 40 child pornography websites, and later released the names and personal information of over 1,500 people using those sites. And in 2015, they launched Operation Death Eaters, aimed at collecting information about international pedophile rings.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS

Following the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in early 2015, Anonymous declared war on their biggest target yet: terrorists. Vowing to disrupt and cripple Internet efforts by both al-Qaeda and ISIS. So far, the Anonymous strike team Ghost Security has disabled thousands of pro-ISIS Twitter accounts and hacked or crashed numerous terrorist websites. It's a long job, and far from finished. But there's one thing we've definitely learned over the past decade: don't bet against Anonymous.