Anonymous hits Trump sites with minor hacks

The hacking group Anonymous forced several of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE’s websites offline on Friday, as part of the first offensive in a digital war against the Republican Party’s presidential front-runner.

The anarchist collective has been been going after Trump for his “disturbing” positions on immigration and foreign policy. The group promised an all-out assault on April 1.

While there was no devastating hack on the Trump campaign, a number of the business mogul’s websites — including trumpchicago.com and trump.com — did temporarily go down on Friday, according to numerous reports.  

Anonymous was quick to tout these successes in a video posted to YouTube.

“This declaration of war is no April Fool’s joke,” said the standard Anonymous figure, a hooded person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.

“Dear Donald Trump, how do you plan to protect the world if you can’t even protect something as simple as your websites?” the group asked.

Anonymous vowed that Friday was just the opening salvo in Operation Trump, or #OpTrump.

“This is just the beginning,” the figure said. “We warned you and you should have expected us.”

But there are also reports of disagreements within Anonymous over the goals of the Trump campaign. It’s unclear how directly the technological issues with Trump’s websites were actually tied to the hacking group’s strategy.

Anonymous’s proclamations have drawn the attention of the Secret Service, which is investigating reports that members of the hacking collecting released Trump’s personal information online, including his Social Security number.

However, a Twitter account that regularly tweets on behalf of Anonymous has already denounced the information as “outdated,” calling the account that released the data “not a credible source.”

In the past year, Anonymous has waged a number of high-profile cyber campaigns against groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

While the group has taken credit for exposing KKK members and eradicating thousands of ISIS-related Twitter accounts, many have criticized the group for over-promising and leaking inaccurate information.

— Katie Bo Williams contributed