Guest post by Jason Adriaan.
Last night an Internet group that goes by “Anonymous” reaped revenge against services that cut ties with Wikileaks and aggressors against Wikileaks. They took down thepaypalblog.com for 8 hours, aklagare.se (Swedish Prodecutors) for 5 hours, postfinance.ch (Swedish Bank) for 12 hours, lieberman.senate.gov and everyDNS.com. This might sound really impressive, but to be honest… it’s not.
Operation: Avenge Assange is about more than “œChildish Cybercrimes“.
They did these attacks through the power of DDoS (Distibuted Denail of Service), which is the online equivalent of hundreds of thousands of screaming teenage girls stampeding to see Justin Bieber at your local grocery store. In layman terms how this works is a few hundred geeky (mostly teenage) guys get together and repeatedly refresh the site they are targeting, forcing the computer (server) the site is hosted on to run out of system resources. Now this sounds complicated but the truth is there is an app called the Low Orbit Ion Canon (LOIC) which does all this for you. The app hands over the power of your computer to one or two guys that coordinate the attacks or you can use the app yourself.
These DDoS attacks are illegal in most countries and have been going on for almost two weeks now between anonymous Pro- and Anti-Wikileak groups and has reached the point of just being plain childish. DDoS is as juvenile as a wedgie, it renders you temporarily discomforted but soon its over and it’s as if nothing happened.
The “Anonymous” group vowed to take down Twitter, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal in this way soon, but this will not happen. The truth is “Anonymous” is a small group of about 600 folks and attacking sites built to handle traffic that stretches into the billion page impressions is impossible no matter what type of magic software you use. This is why DDoS’ers all choose easy small websites which are not able to handle big traffic spikes as targets. This way they create alot of hype and feel all fuzzy inside for doing something teh_awesome, when in fact they are really just swimming in the kiddies pool of cyber crimes. [Update] Ed note – Mastercard.com is now completely down due to the attacks. (Update: Minnaar Pieters wrote his follow up article to this. He does not concur.)
(Update 2: 5 Great WikiLeaks resources online.)