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Posted at 8:19 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

'Anonymous' attacks, in support of WikiLeaks

By Melissa Bell
(Screengrab from 4chan)

Mastercard users found a blank page greeting them if they tried to log on to Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, was not working. A group in support of WikiLeaks has attacked a number of sites as part of its "Operation Payback."

The attack comes after Mastercard,Visa, Paypal and a number of other payment processing companies stopped donation transactions to the WikiLeaks group. A Paypal executive said the company stopped after pressure from the U.S. State Department.

The group taking credit for the attacks calls itself, Anonymous and likely got its start on one of the message boards on the 4chan site. The group has said it has 9,000 members that work together as a "hive mind" to inflict chaos on the Web and to fight for perceived injustices.

The attacks launched by Anonymous often are called distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDOS attacks. So many page requests will be made to a Web site, that the site's servers will become overwhelmed. The attacks have to be targeted, well organized and well timed to be effective. It is likely being launched through a LOIC, an application that allows multiple computers to be controlled by one administrator. Gizmodo explains how the program works here.

Other possible targets could include Paypal,, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's Web site, and the Swiss bank PostFinance, as all have severed ties with WikiLeaks, TechCrunch reports.

The Operation Payback site said it has launched the attack to show "pro-copyright organizations that people do not like their practices." But as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the site was showing an error message, the result of another group launching a counterattack on the site.

The group had also been taken off Facebook and Twitter, according to ReadWriteWeb.

Mastercard said there was no impact on cardholders' ability to use their cards; however the BBC reports an authentication service for online payments known as Mastercard's SecureCode had been disrupted.

The New York Times Lede blog links to this video, which purports to be a statement from Anonymous:

By Melissa Bell  | December 8, 2010; 8:19 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: ♪♫ John Lennon final print interview; digital tributes flood the Internet (Audio)
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After all what’s the point of freedom and responsibility and opportunity if you are denied such things only to have the world figured out and sold to you in convenient episodes that so often serve to conveniently serve the indoctrinated/vested power bases and their infomercial packages?

After all is it really all about freedom as Mastercard so often boasts in its commercials? I wonder...

Posted by: zoezoe123 | December 8, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. I could have sworn Anonymous numbered over 9000.

Posted by: uglyCom | December 8, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

9000!?!?!?! its OVER 9000!!!

Posted by: lawlosaurus | December 9, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

9000 you say? Then we truly are all doomed.

Posted by: kmeuse | December 9, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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