Modernizing Authentication — What It Takes to Transform Secure Access
McAfee recently published its 2013 Threat Predictions [PDF file], including the expectation that Anonymous as a group will become "less politically visible than in the past" over the coming year.
"Because Anonymous' level of technical sophistication has stagnated and its tactics are better understood by its potential victims, the group's level of success will decline," the authors write. "However, we could easily imagine some short-lived spectacular actions due to convergence between hacktivists and antiglobalization supporters, or hacktivists and ecoterrorists."
Still, The Next Web's Emil Protalinski questions McAfee's reasoning. "The security company doesn’t appear to have any data to back up its claims, meaning its conclusions are merely conjecture," he writes. "In fact, we have seen nothing to suggest the group is declining, regardless of whether or not one believes they are using sophisticated methods of attack. In fact, I would argue that Anonymous is becoming more and more influential as we’ve seen the movement growing throughout 2012."
"It’s probably more likely that the group will reorganize or see sects branch out, than die off all together in 2012," writes VentureBeat's Meghan Kelly. "Anonymous isn’t made up of individuals who all want to 'dox,' or reveal personally identifiable information on the Internet. Instead, many of these people prefer disrupting a website’s service or systems to prove a point. These may be the people who branch off, leaving those who wish to publish personal information to fly the Anonymous flag."
That makes much more sense to me -- the whole point of Anonymous is that it isn't a single unified group, so it's perfectly reasonable to expect that smaller groups may form under the Anonymous umbrella to pursue specific ends. That might mean Anonymous as a single name becomes less visible (which, really, was the point all along), but it certainly doesn't mean that its influence will decline.