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Posted at 1:11 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Anonymous 'hacktivists' increase in number; Hacker magazine condemns attacks

By Melissa Bell
Anonymous
(Screengrab from Anonymous YouTube video)

Friday kicked off the third day of Operation: Payback, with more attacks on Web sites, a hacker magazine denouncing the attacks and a call for crowd-sourcing journalism coverage from Anonymous.

The attacks began earlier this week when Anonymous, a group of cyber "hacktivists," as media reports are calling them, set out to disrupt service to Web sites that have stopped supporting WikiLeaks.

On Friday, both Paypal and Amazon.com were experiencing spotty service as a result of DDOS attacks. The attacks have been launched by spamming Web sites with the help of an easily downloadable program that Operation:Payback put online. The requests for the program have gone through the roof, with thousands downloading it overnight. Requests jumped to more than 40,000, the New York Times reports. Once a user installs the program on a computer, the computer can be used to spam whatever Web sites the main group targets.

A viral press release also announced a different form of disruption: crowd-sourced journalism. Calling itself, Operation:Leakspin, the plan calls for readers to mine the released cables for embarrassing data and spread the information across the Internet by coding it with popular search terms, such as "Bieber" and "Tea Party." (No word if this sensational cable* that surfaced today is a result of the group's efforts.)

Anon.jpg

A major magazine dedicated to hackers, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, released a public statement against Operation: Payback. It asserts that the DDOS attacks are a boorish, misguided way to defend WikiLeaks and they are not being perpetrated by hackers, as hackers would not try to silence opponents.

See a full timeline of how the events have unfolded after the WikiLeaks' release of the cables here.

(*This is a joke.)

By Melissa Bell  | December 10, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

I posted criticism on the internet of JA. In retaliation my ID has been attacked and the attacks are continuing. Since Dec 2 my ID has been attacked over 150 times. These attacks were termed "unauthorized attack" by my antivirus provider. JA supporters are not in favor of free speech, they want to HURT you if you criticise them.

Posted by: vk1537 | December 10, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The State Department should not have pressured Amazon, Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard to turn away WikiLeaks. Aside from the futility of such a move (the cat is now out of the bag), it significantly affects everyday businesses around the world which rely on established ways to get paid. The last thing they need during this holiday season is to be embroiled in politics.
As things stand now, those offended by Paypal might not use it, or its partner ebay. Those offended by Amazon, might not order the kindle. Those offended by Visa and Mastercard might use cash or checks. Worse, they may not buy much for Christmas - - even forego that planed trip, or dinner at that nice new restaurant.
And all for naught.
To be sure, the State Department is recoiling from its decision. Yet, in fear of losing face, it is paralyzed and not likely to change course. It has, however, put away the club, and as such Amazon, Paypal, Visa and Mastercard should quickly reverse course.
And the State Department might be the first to be relieved from such open defiance.

Posted by: Kafantaris | December 10, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This looks like the beginning of World War I in cyberspace, because it's more than one set of attacks, it's a worldwide group of insurgents fighting a colletion of global powers. Peace will have to be negotiated with diplomacy and eventually a truce could be called. Subsequent cyber World Wars will become more furious, until mutually assured destruction becomes a possibility. Then, either someone will blink, leaving control of the internet to one of the cyber superpowers, or everyone will decide to hold the line, before taking down the entire world wide web. interesting times!

Posted by: strange_ranger | December 10, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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