09/04/2012 07:49 BST | Updated 09/06/2012 06:12 BST

Hacking Group Anonymous Wins Time 100 Most-Influential Poll

An annual poll to find the world's most influential people has been won by the hacking collective Anonymous.

The Time 100 poll was deluged with thousands of last-minute votes to take the controversial group to the top of the table.

Anonymous is a loose collective that has taken credit for dozens of leaks, hacks and takedowns since it burst into life online eight years ago.

Over the weekend a group reportedly connected to Anonymous hacked the Home Office website to protest new proposals to extend online surveillance.

The group won 395,793 'yes' votes in the public vote, leading some to suspect there might be more to the victory than votes and public support alone.

Mashable quoted sources who said that the group jumped from 40,000 votes to 380,000 votes in 24 hours from midday Thursday.

However the group has denied its victory was the result of a hack.

Despite the denial, the presence of Erik Martin, general manager of the online community Reddit, in second place suggests that block voting by web forum members may be responsible for the results.

There were surprising entries elsewhere on the list.

In seventh place was Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Just behind him, in eighth place, was reviled Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who is currently conducting a war of attrition against armed rebels and civilian activists.

New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin came in ninth, followed by footballer Lionel Messi and Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin.

US President Barack Obama mustered a lowly 21st place, just ahead of New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel in 26th.

In a small boost to David Cameron, the UK prime minister mustered 11 more votes than the Queen.