It's easy to think of the hacking group Anonymous as a group of punk troublemakers, raising hell online.
Some have even debated whether their extra-legal protests should be labeled terrorist acts.
But that would overlook some of the genuinely good deeds the group — whose members identify themselves with the Vendetta mask — has done.
Whether it's retaliating against kiddie porn sites, helping to identify Chinese military cyber-attacks, or targeting the digital properties of various hate groups, Anonymous can sometimes be a force for good.
1. Just this month, Anonymous began "Operation Free Korea." It's the group's effort to get "controversial leader Kim Jong-un to resign," "install free democracy," "abandon nuclear ambition," and grant "uncensored internet access" to its citizens. On April 3, Anonymous released all 15,000 usernames and passwords for the government's web services and threatened to wipe its data.
2. The Steubenville rape case — in which images of the high school victim were disseminated in social media — obviously got a lot of attention earlier this year. Anonymous released incriminating video, tweets, and emails belonging to accused players on the school's football team.
3. On August 13, 2012, tensions were rising in Uganda as the country's laws were increasingly intolerant on LGBT issues. Anonymous defaced two Ugandan government sites in protest.
4. Operation DarkNet was the group's campaign against child pornography in October 2011. Because pornographers were incredibly effective at using technology to hide themselves, Anonymous used technology to put them out of business.
5. The Westboro Baptist Church is notoriously hateful and intolerant. Anonymous successfully took down the Westboro Baptist Church's website in February 2011 in protest.
6. Anonymous released user information from a major hacking forum in February 2011, and security firm Mandiant was able to use this data to link the Chinese military to cyber-attacks against the U.S. this year.
7. Beginning in January 2008, Anonymous kicked off "Project Chanology," its attack on the Church of Scientology, a cult-like religion which allegedly imprisons its dissident members. They launched denial of service attacks against the organization's websites, gamed the link-sharing site Digg to more prominently display anti-Scientology pages, and even physically protested — showing up in person — many church events.
8. In December 2006, Anonymous took down the website of white supremacist radio show host Hal Turner. The attack ended up with Turner paying some very expensive bandwidth bills and dropping a lawsuit a year later.