If you’re following the WikiLeaks debacle you have no doubt heard of the group being called “Anonymous” although they are more of a phenomenon than an actual group or organisation. Anonymous have been launching Distributed Denial of Service Attacks against Mastercard, PayPal. Dubbed “Operation Payback” this loosely connected band of idiots are attempting to bring down websites and services that have refused to do business with WikiLeaks under the misguided view that they are standing up for Freedom of Speech and ‘Defending the Internet’.
However nothing could be further from the truth because Anonymous have even attempted to bring down Amazon for refusing to host WikiLeaks. Of course with Amazon being one of the largest service providers in the world Anonymous failed miserably, although they still attempted to bring down a service that hosts tens of thousands of servers. Such an attack on so many innocent people is not standing up for Freedom of Speech. Knocking someone’s service provider offline has the same effect as adding them to a government censorship filter; they are silenced.
Amazon has been lined up as the next victim of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by the group of online vigilantes known as Anonymous, which has already taken down the web sites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, as the WikiLeaks controversy continues.
A Twitter update from one of the accounts used by the group, @Op_Payback, read an hour ago: “TARGET: WWW.AMAZON.COM LOCKED ON!!!”. Subsequent updates gave followers instructions on how to turn their computers into part of a mass botnet set to launch the DDoS attack in two hours.
It is unclear whether the attack is in retaliation for the actions of Amazon Web Services last week in booting WikiLeaks off its servers, or due to the appearance on Amazon.com today of the WikiLeaks cables for a £7.37 charge. –V3.co.uk
I decided to briefly point out this hypocrisy in the IRC channel:
If the screencap is hard to see click here.
I had expected to receive at least some half baked ideology in response to justify the DDoS attacks but instead it seems these Script Kiddies are not interested in discussion.
As I type this the IRC has come to life; they are gearing up for another attack. I will be watching this out of interest but I refuse to assist any of these idiots. Because these morons are not defending the internet. Instead they are crippling it and stamping on the Freedom of Speech that they claim to protect. Despite what the media tell you these are not hackers because all these individuals are doing is abusing the core fundamentals of the Internet. Packets of information are routed indiscriminately to their destination so a DDoS attack requires no expertise to carry out. All you need to do is send traffic to a target and the Internet does the rest.
If like me you support WikiLeaks but condemn Operation Payback and the idiots behind it then say something on Twitter, Comment forms or the Anon-ops IRC (But don’t expect a warm welcome.)
Wikipedia: What is a Denial of Service Attack?
Anon-Ops IRC: 188.8.131.52 Port: 6667 #OperationPayback
these morons are defending the internet. their actions are roughly equatable to a sit in. the sit-ins clogged up the restaurants. you couldn't buy your sandwich.these demonstrations were supposed to send a message. they did. anon is doing the same thing, but online. you can't get into your visa or mastercard accounts, but your cards still work fine. anon is not crippling free speech. they are sending a message. and it's working.
You're starting from the false premise that sit-ins are ok. They are not, remaining on someone else's private property when they don't want you there is trespassing. Such activity is both illegal and unethical; more so when you're affecting someones lively hood.
Yes, they are sending a message in the same way that some punk kid sends a message when they spray paint a wall. Their message loses all legitimacy when it comes through mindless vandalism.
Nice write-up Dan, thank you. Wholly agree with you. Except for the part about script kiddies not being interested in discussion. I doubt they even possess the capacity for discussion. 🙂
The script kiddies are not defending the internet or free speech, or anything at all. They're just basing all their attacks on how they feel. The only message they are sending is that they are immature jerks forming an angry mob, and instead of setting cars on fire and breaking windows, they attack 3 companies with total disregard for innocent bystanders who need their services. And they're not a very good mob either, because their DDoS packets have been incredibly easy to intercept on the various backbones, and their individual IP addresses not hidden at all, thus allowing ISP's to trace and identify which of their angry customers are sending out these attacks.
So back to the mob analogy, it's more like a group of angry people who don't know how to start a campfire (or even light a match for that matter), and too weak or puny to smash a window. But they can sure act tough on the internet, make a lot of noise, and make ad hominem attacks (like in your screenshot).
So, Supporter of Anon, what message was being sent? That Anonymous wants to punish Mastercard and Visa? How? Get them to spend $100k for more security hardware? Come on now, it may be more than what these script kiddies can ever hope to make as salary, but that's a drop in the bucket for companies of that size! Was the message about world peace? Was the message about "Don't mess with Wikileaks or else we'll DDoS your ass"? That's intimidation, not a message promoting free speech.
In any case, Anonymous can't claim victory at all. I seriously doubt the UK court's decision to release Assange on bail today was swayed at all by Anonymous' gimped attacks. Their initial attack may have brought down these servers temporarily, but once the various network security teams got activated, it was over. Anonymous never succeeded afterwards – they thought they were flooding their target, but unknown to them, their packets were intercepted WAY before reaching the target. Their IRC channel was more of a source of hilarity than coordination (bunch of idiots talking smack) – until they got so annoying that a security guy from one of the giant backbone providers got fed up and decided to blow away their IRC server for a minute or two with his own DoS attack. "I'm tired of this crap! They've kept me up 24 hours and I want to go to sleep! F these script kiddies!!" (KABOOM!)
I imagined tough-talking internet nerds getting stomped by a giant. I couldn't stop laughing when I was told that story.
Anyways, Anonymous is getting way too much press coverage than what they deserve. Like you said above, it takes zero skill to download a DoS app and use it. Too bad the news media likes to sensationalize things like this.
Thank you for giving more press coverage to Anonymous… that's exactly the object of the "phenomenon". DDoS is a protest, sit-ins are not legal… ok, will you prefer a mass congregation, a parade or march for 3 hours on the main streets of your city? that's legal isn't it? if announced with proper time and asking permissions.
Do you really believe that messing up the traffic is better than messing up the websites of corporation that not even their users or clients need to access in order to use their services? If you do a march, lots of people will be affected by the traffic, the other way: how many mastercard users have ever visited mastercard dot com?
Remember the war on Iraq? There were mass peace march all around the globe, did they help? no… did they annoyed lots of people (drivers?) yes… Anonymous, did they help? no.. did they annoyed lots of people? no… Still one is legal and the other… well in some countries you can get up to 3 years in jail… Care to explain why? because I don't get it.
Every civil struggle done in our society needed (and will need) protests of some form and lots of media coverage, the more you get, the likely it may help.
Please, enlighten us, how can we "defend the internet"? I'm curious to know what will you do… or will like others to do…
truth is revolutionary . org
Sennoma, DDoS is nothing more than petty vandalism.
As a security researcher I investigate ways to defend the internet from people like anonymous. I have an interest in botnets, malware, remote code execution, cross-site scripting, "conventional" hacking and cryptography.
Shutting AnonOPS down would make the internet just a little more secure. AnonOPS is a very interesting one because of the voluntary nature of it. If AnonOPS want to defend Freedom of Speech then the first step it to cease DDoS attacks. In the 21st century Internet Usage and Free-Speech go hand in hand and should be considered fundamentals rights. You don't defend human rights by denying them to others.
I notice support for Anonymous seems to be declining. Their hive was empty when I last checked people are turning away from them.
Well Dan, that's why they don't DDoS journalists or media sites… even if they are against them… I know you got couple of nasty comments here… that was wrong…
However I don't see the connection between free speech and corporate web sites, if they were attacking media websites then I will buy the "You don't defend human rights by denying them to others."
Unless you count accessing mastercard website as a human right….
Wikileaks published lots of classified information, some newspapers did the same after (the guardian, el país, abc, etc) but it is wikileaks the one under attack by usa/australian governments and not the news papers… and they have done exactly the same… the only one to blame is the people that actually leaked the documents on the first place… and as far as I can tell there are laws to protect the sources of journalists…
It is hard to talk about legality, morality and ethics when the governments (who are supposed to make sure everything is done right) are acting against it…
These attacks have the potential to damage businesses and are nothing more than petty vandalism by a bunch of little thugs. All of them to cowardly to even stand up for their own "cause", instead they hide behind their keyboards across the internet. They are frightened of being identified, they even banned me from their IRC network for exposing their IP addresses.
Whoever anonymous are they are far from being the heroes they boast on IRC. Julian Assange is a hero, some kids trying to vandalise a business while hiding in a chat room is not.
Everyone has the right to own, operate or otherwise conduct business activities within the letter of the law. That is a right that has long been set down by our society. Who are anonymous to declare that MasterCard hasn't got the right to go about conducting their own business?
I don't know who you are but you are certainly allot more reasonable than the majority of people I seem to encounter on this topic.
I wholeheartedly agree with you! Anon needs to be stopped – they aren't doing anyone any good.