(CNN) -- Could a Mexican drug cartel be the next target for a group of hackers known for online attacks against banks and government institutions?
A video purportedly from the international hacker ring Anonymous threatens the Zetas, warning that the names, photographs and addresses of cartel supporters can be published "if necessary."
"We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon," a masked man says. "But we can do this with their cars, homes, bars and whatever else they possess. It will not be difficult. All of us know who they are and where they are located."
The man, wearing a suit and tie and speaking with a Spanish accent, claims the notoriously violent drug gang has kidnapped an Anonymous member in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
"We demand his release," the man says.
It's unclear whether Anonymous is actually behind the October 6 video, which does not mention a victim name or provide specific details about the alleged abduction. The hacking group has no clear leader, and no official website.
Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for the STRATFOR global intelligence firm, said the video "absolutely" appears authentic.
"It's part of the dynamic we've been watching with Anonymous activities in Mexico," he said, saying the video was similar to other videos the group has released and expresses similar sentiments. "It seems like they're speaking up as the voice of those people who are in fear."
One thing that's important to remember is that Anonymous is not an organization. It does not have a hierarchy. Basically it's a collective of people who self-identify," Stewart said. "Not everybody agrees and not everybody participates."
An Anonymous source told CNN that there were discussions about three weeks ago in Anonymous' main online chat portal that suggested that Anonymous members based in Mexico were going to target the Zetas.
The source said that Anonymous Mexican members claimed in online discussions to have information about politicians in Mexico who were corrupt and working with the Zetas. Anonymous members in Mexico appeared, based on their portal chats, to want to make this information available online, the source said.
As social media become an increasingly common battleground in Mexico's drug war, the viral video fueled debate from security analysts and Twitter users alike.
"Loss of life will be a certain consequence if Anonymous releases the identities of individuals cooperating with cartels," STRATFOR said last week. "Whether voluntarily or not, cooperating with criminal cartels in Mexico comes with the danger of retribution from rival cartels. Taxi drivers -- typically victims of extortion or otherwise forced to act as lookouts or scouts -- are particularly vulnerable."
Twitter was abuzz with word of the possible threat Monday, with some posts under the hashtag #OpCartel saying Anonymous had called off its plans to target the Zetas, and others questioning the legitimacy of the video.
"Was the #OpCartel Anonymous Hackers vs. Zetas story a highly publicized hoax?" SYoungReports wrote.
Other Twitter users criticized the group.
"Bits and bytes won't work against bullets," said a post on the Twitter account of Angeliner4life. "Don't be dumb, you are messing with real killers."
The most common mode of operation for Anonymous is launching distributed denial-of-service attacks, in which multiple people use scripts to access a website repeatedly, slowing it badly or shutting it down if its servers can't handle the traffic.
In the past few years, Anonymous has taken credit for disrupting a number of prominent websites, including those of PayPal, Master Card, Visa and the Church of Scientology.
Last month the group claimed it was targeting the Mexican government, launching attacks on a range of official websites, including those of Mexico's defense and public safety ministries.
Online posts have become some of the loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In some parts of the country, threats from cartels have silenced traditional media. Sometimes even local authorities fear speaking out.
Last month attackers left ominous threats mentioning two websites on signs beside mutilated bodies dangling from a bridge in northern Mexico.
The message was clear: Post something we don't like online and you're next. "I am about to get you," one sign said.
It was unclear who the two brutally slain victims were, or whether they had any connection to social media. But analysts said the case showed the prominent role technology has come to play in describing and denouncing violence in Mexico.