For most Americans, the 5th of November was just like any other day—until V for Vendetta introduced them to Guy Fawkes, a revolutionary who tried to blow up the House of Lords in 1605. Each year, Guy Fawkes is remembered as a revolutionary by people all over the world, who celebrate his memory by causing trouble, blowing things up and, more recently, hacking.
In honor of his spirit, hackers all over the world have organized a number of Guy Fawks hacks. Lady Gaga, the Australian Government and some say Paypal have all been hacked so far. Not even NBC is immune from the Guy Fawkes craze. Their site was hacked, and several of their pages were converted into Guy Fawkes memorials. IT ProPortal reports:
According to a report from Deadline, the site defacing began under NBC’s portal sites for Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The attack eventually managed to make its way to the main NBC page, however, and numerous portions of the overall site were down (or defaced) for hours.
NBC’s videos page was completely taken over, replaced with a looping audio clip in the background and the following text repeated numerous times: “REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER, THE GUNPOWDER TREASON AND PLOT. I KNOW OF NO REASON WHY THE GUNPOWDER TREASON SHOULD EVER BE FORGOT.”
At time of writing the Australian government website is operating normally, but new-age website ascensionaustralia.com.au carries a message from Anonymous suggesting the government is compromising the online privacy of its citizens.
“When will governments learn that the internet will never be controlled and we will not allow governments to trample on our civil liberties and our basic digital privacy rights?” reads the statement on the front page of the site.
For those in the UK who want to celebrate without hacking, Metro is reminding everyone to be safe with their fireworks:
The London Fire Brigade said it was called to a fire every ten minutes on November 5 last year, even though it represented the quietest Guy Fawkes night on record.
Dave Brown, head of operations for prevention and response at the LBF, said a 48 per decrease had been witnessed in 999 calls between 2006 and 2011.
But if you want to ignore the London Fire Brigade’s warnings and make a pyrotechnic concoction which some call “death mix”—because it’s necessary to be really, really careful when handling it—here’s how you would do it.
More from Smithsonian.com: