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Anonymous rages on: Hacks prevail, leaks continue
If you thought hacktivist group Anonymous had been relatively quiet this year, think again.
In January, the hacking group attacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission in an operation dubbed "Operation Last Resort." This led to the distribution of government files in apparent retaliation of hacktivist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after facing a lengthy jail sentence many considered disproportionally large.
The federal authorities were left "stumbling" after the attack, which resulted in a number of government websites being down for days.
Later in the year, the loose-knit collective went on to attack networks that led to the publication of more than 4,000 separate bits of login information, credentials, IP addresses, and contact information of American bank executives.
It was a public relations nightmare for the U.S. government, which had already faced heavy criticism for its handling of the Swartz case. It was a show of force that led the government and others to realize the hacking collective may have been quiet during the year, but they haven't gone away — while at the same time pushing for changes to the law that would ultimately legally avenge the death of Swartz in a namesake law.
iOS 7 design change freaked out some people; suffers with bugs, security lapses
By now, the end of the year, many have overcome the "shock" of the new user interface to Apple's latest mobile platform, iOS 7.
But it caused enough of a stir at first to deter millions from upgrading immediately.
Many didn't upgrade immediately because it broke existing enterprise services. Some were warned off because the upgrade would cause device slow-downs. And, other bugs made the software near impossible to use for some. There were dozens of new features added in the update that saw a high level of uptake, but hardly rocket to the extent Apple wanted.
Now more than three months later, three-quarters of all devices are running iOS 7, a slower pace than earlier releases.
Some of the major issues boiled down to security. There was a bug seemingly every minute, and a security flaw with almost every minor update.
In one case, it was possible to bypass the lock screen and forward personal photos and contacts to other people.
Facebook hit with privacy, "shadow profile" controversies
Facebook stirred more controversy this year as it attempted to balance privacy and free speech, but couldn't manage to do either.
The world's largest social network, with more than one billion users worldwide, collected information on people who weren't even signed up to the social network. This "bug" spanned a year beginning in 2012 and affected more than six million users. The data related to people who had expressly not given their permission for Facebook to collect their data, including email addresses and phone numbers. For those who protect their data, it was a privacy flop of epic proportions.
Also, the company found itself in hot water after it decided to first ban and then permit videos of people being decapitated. Either way, Facebook couldn't escape controversy. In any case, Facebook's decision was going to royally screw up at least someone's day.
Image: James Martin/CNET