Internet war

In support of Wikileaks, an army of hackers has declared war.  Their first battle is to attack Mastercard and Visa.

Hackers have declared an Internet war in support of WikiLeaks, with groups of anonymous attackers disabling major credit card websites in retaliation for denying service to the controversial website.

The group, going by the name “Anonymous,” rallied its supporters in a Twitter post Wednesday, calling for them to get their “weapons” ready to attack the Visa website for the next phase of “Operation Payback.”

The same group claimed responsiblity for crippling the MasterCard website for much of the day Wednesday using denial of service attacks, which overwhlem a website with data requests.

Both Visa and MasterCard have stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks as the online organization faces tremendous political pressure for publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

Wikileaks released a cable Wednesday showing that in February 2010 U.S. officials lobbied Russia on behalf of MasterCard and Visa to ensure that a proposed Russian law did not adversely affect their businesses.

There are now more than 1,000 Internet “mirror sites” hosting WikiLeaks content, which is more than double the number of sites that existed days ago.

via VOA | Hackers Set Sights on Visa in Fight for WikiLeaks | News | English.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    It certainly is a fight, but it’s not so much a fight to protect Wikileaks as it is to express outrage. One of the things that really needs to be noticed is the last sentence in the blurb Dr. Veith included:

    There are now more than 1,000 Internet “mirror sites” hosting WikiLeaks content, which is more than double the number of sites that existed days ago.

    This fight has been described as an Infowar, and that is certainly true in some regards, but depending one what the aim of the war is, it might be already lost.

    If the aim was to remove the Wikileaks information from the public’s reach, it was lost before it ever began. Information in the Internet age is impossible to pull back in once it has been released. There are hundreds of thousands of copies of that file Assange sent out as “security” and there are over a thousand mirror sights which are putting up the Wikileaks page, complete with all the information.

    Now, if the war’s prize is the closure of Wikileaks in particular, then that might be feasible, though I have my doubts. And if it is to make it as hard as possible for Wikileaks to function as a warning to others who might make the same move, then I think that is being accomplished.

    However, note that the actions against Wikileaks have come from a coherent set of moves by a dozen major corporations, and just as many major world governments.

    That’s an awful lot of effort to merely make it hard on Wikileaks. I’m not entirely sure that even a “victory” for those who want Wikileaks shut down will have the effect they want. There are all sorts of extra messages that are being sent by the actions and results of this Infowar, many of which are going to make both sides rather uncomfortable.

  • WebMonk

    It certainly is a fight, but it’s not so much a fight to protect Wikileaks as it is to express outrage. One of the things that really needs to be noticed is the last sentence in the blurb Dr. Veith included:

    There are now more than 1,000 Internet “mirror sites” hosting WikiLeaks content, which is more than double the number of sites that existed days ago.

    This fight has been described as an Infowar, and that is certainly true in some regards, but depending one what the aim of the war is, it might be already lost.

    If the aim was to remove the Wikileaks information from the public’s reach, it was lost before it ever began. Information in the Internet age is impossible to pull back in once it has been released. There are hundreds of thousands of copies of that file Assange sent out as “security” and there are over a thousand mirror sights which are putting up the Wikileaks page, complete with all the information.

    Now, if the war’s prize is the closure of Wikileaks in particular, then that might be feasible, though I have my doubts. And if it is to make it as hard as possible for Wikileaks to function as a warning to others who might make the same move, then I think that is being accomplished.

    However, note that the actions against Wikileaks have come from a coherent set of moves by a dozen major corporations, and just as many major world governments.

    That’s an awful lot of effort to merely make it hard on Wikileaks. I’m not entirely sure that even a “victory” for those who want Wikileaks shut down will have the effect they want. There are all sorts of extra messages that are being sent by the actions and results of this Infowar, many of which are going to make both sides rather uncomfortable.

  • Dan Kempin

    Interesting that in the midst of this controversy, it is the bankers who are the target.

  • Dan Kempin

    Interesting that in the midst of this controversy, it is the bankers who are the target.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, they aren’t the only ones who have been targeted, not by a long shot. They are one of the more visible targets, though. It sounds pretty darned impressive for a news story to say a DDOS attack took down Mastercard’s website for a while. Not so impressive to say one took down EveryDNS.

    I look at the MC and Paypal actions as reasonable – they stopped taking transactions for a firm that was doing illegal activities. However, they didn’t do so until political pressure was brought to bear.

    Supporters of Wikileaks says that the laws which make Wikileaks’ activities illegal are wrong and stifle free speech and enable oppressive governments and crooked companies. Under that view, the financial institutions are providing cover for their own possible misdeeds and falling in line with an oppressive government.

    Seen like that, doing something to strike back at that institution in some way is a lot more reasonable.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, they aren’t the only ones who have been targeted, not by a long shot. They are one of the more visible targets, though. It sounds pretty darned impressive for a news story to say a DDOS attack took down Mastercard’s website for a while. Not so impressive to say one took down EveryDNS.

    I look at the MC and Paypal actions as reasonable – they stopped taking transactions for a firm that was doing illegal activities. However, they didn’t do so until political pressure was brought to bear.

    Supporters of Wikileaks says that the laws which make Wikileaks’ activities illegal are wrong and stifle free speech and enable oppressive governments and crooked companies. Under that view, the financial institutions are providing cover for their own possible misdeeds and falling in line with an oppressive government.

    Seen like that, doing something to strike back at that institution in some way is a lot more reasonable.

  • Cincinnatus

    Yeah, I’m not sure anyone here understands who “Anonymous” is/are.

    Short answer: they’re the, erm, “enforcement arm” of the hilariously, depressingly, vulgarly horrifying website “4chan” (I highly suggest you not visit their site; what has been seen cannot be unseen). “Anonymous” is no specified group, it has no particular agenda (beyond what chaos “it” has decided to wreak on the internet on any given day), and it is the closest approximation to true anarchy and spontaneous organization in all of history. But calling them a group that is nefarious, coherent, or otherwise dangerous would be giving them far too much credit. The average member of Anonymous is probably fourteen years old.

    Just thought we should clear that up.

  • Cincinnatus

    Yeah, I’m not sure anyone here understands who “Anonymous” is/are.

    Short answer: they’re the, erm, “enforcement arm” of the hilariously, depressingly, vulgarly horrifying website “4chan” (I highly suggest you not visit their site; what has been seen cannot be unseen). “Anonymous” is no specified group, it has no particular agenda (beyond what chaos “it” has decided to wreak on the internet on any given day), and it is the closest approximation to true anarchy and spontaneous organization in all of history. But calling them a group that is nefarious, coherent, or otherwise dangerous would be giving them far too much credit. The average member of Anonymous is probably fourteen years old.

    Just thought we should clear that up.

  • Kirk

    We should just assassinate everyone.

  • Kirk

    We should just assassinate everyone.

  • Cincinnatus

    SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING.

  • Cincinnatus

    SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @#4 – it is the fact many of the people involved are 14 that has me worried. They feel their righteous indignation over wikileaks but do not understand the consequences of their actions. They do not realize that this is not like playing a mmorpg where everybody can rez and there was no lasting harm done.

    My issue with wikileaks is if they are leaking information that risks people’s lives. My other issue is they are encouraging people to break the law. As far as the government is concerned this is just a new nuance in the war of espionage.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @#4 – it is the fact many of the people involved are 14 that has me worried. They feel their righteous indignation over wikileaks but do not understand the consequences of their actions. They do not realize that this is not like playing a mmorpg where everybody can rez and there was no lasting harm done.

    My issue with wikileaks is if they are leaking information that risks people’s lives. My other issue is they are encouraging people to break the law. As far as the government is concerned this is just a new nuance in the war of espionage.

  • WebMonk

    Cin #4
    “But calling them a group that is nefarious, coherent, or otherwise dangerous would be giving them far too much credit.”

    I wouldn’t quite go that far. Their organization is “loose”, but their communications and coordination can be REALLY phenomenal. Any group that can take down major financial websites on the spur of the moment is certainly not anything to ignore.

  • WebMonk

    Cin #4
    “But calling them a group that is nefarious, coherent, or otherwise dangerous would be giving them far too much credit.”

    I wouldn’t quite go that far. Their organization is “loose”, but their communications and coordination can be REALLY phenomenal. Any group that can take down major financial websites on the spur of the moment is certainly not anything to ignore.

  • Kirk

    @8 Anon’s attention spam is notoriously short, though. So I’m guessing they’ll move on from all of this, soon.

    But, they are very very powerful. Their ability to track down and harass other internet users is frightening.

  • Kirk

    @8 Anon’s attention spam is notoriously short, though. So I’m guessing they’ll move on from all of this, soon.

    But, they are very very powerful. Their ability to track down and harass other internet users is frightening.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frightening? I’ve always found it relatively hilarious.

    But, Webmonk, while they could be perceived as a “threat,” they are a threat with the attention spans of fourteen-year-olds. And imputing to them, as “Dr. Luther” does, “righteous indignation” is, again, giving them too much credit. Anon directs more hatred at Justin Bieber than the excesses of the United States Government.

    And of course, we may be overstating both a) the danger of WikiLeaks in general and b) the value of obeying all and any laws, regardless of their justice, etc. Advocates of this kind of thing have pointed out–validly, I think–that modern technocratic governments conduct business secretly, unquestioned, and, in general undemocratically or “republicanly.” The modern bureaucratic state is Marie Antoinette, so something about these spontaneous uprisings, inane as they might be, tickle the romantic revolutionary side of my American character.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frightening? I’ve always found it relatively hilarious.

    But, Webmonk, while they could be perceived as a “threat,” they are a threat with the attention spans of fourteen-year-olds. And imputing to them, as “Dr. Luther” does, “righteous indignation” is, again, giving them too much credit. Anon directs more hatred at Justin Bieber than the excesses of the United States Government.

    And of course, we may be overstating both a) the danger of WikiLeaks in general and b) the value of obeying all and any laws, regardless of their justice, etc. Advocates of this kind of thing have pointed out–validly, I think–that modern technocratic governments conduct business secretly, unquestioned, and, in general undemocratically or “republicanly.” The modern bureaucratic state is Marie Antoinette, so something about these spontaneous uprisings, inane as they might be, tickle the romantic revolutionary side of my American character.

  • WebMonk

    Cin, you’ve never been on the receiving end of what Anonymous can do if you merely find them “hilarious”. They don’t restrict themselves to spamming your email and taking down your website. They have trashed homes and cars, assaulted people, ruined businesses, and much more. “Hilarious” isn’t exactly the way I would describe those things.

    I’m not sure I would call it “righteous” indignation because of the issues involved, but they do indeed fit the term in most other ways. And considering that they cost Mastercard several million dollars, I wouldn’t consider their loud hatred of Beiber to be anywhere near the level of what they’re doing with the Wikileaks issue.

    Sure, Photoshopping Beiber pictures and sending (disgusting) prank gifts through the mail has some elements of the ridiculous and hilarious. Costing businesses millions of dollars per attack, destroying property, beating people – not so much. I think that goes above and beyond their disgust and animus of Beiber.

  • WebMonk

    Cin, you’ve never been on the receiving end of what Anonymous can do if you merely find them “hilarious”. They don’t restrict themselves to spamming your email and taking down your website. They have trashed homes and cars, assaulted people, ruined businesses, and much more. “Hilarious” isn’t exactly the way I would describe those things.

    I’m not sure I would call it “righteous” indignation because of the issues involved, but they do indeed fit the term in most other ways. And considering that they cost Mastercard several million dollars, I wouldn’t consider their loud hatred of Beiber to be anywhere near the level of what they’re doing with the Wikileaks issue.

    Sure, Photoshopping Beiber pictures and sending (disgusting) prank gifts through the mail has some elements of the ridiculous and hilarious. Costing businesses millions of dollars per attack, destroying property, beating people – not so much. I think that goes above and beyond their disgust and animus of Beiber.

  • Cincinnatus

    Trashing homes and destroying cars? I’ve never heard of this. Can you share links? I don’t disbelieve you, but the most I’ve ever heard of Anon doing is spamming YouTube videos and flooding the servers of Mastercard–i.e., engaging in their infamous “raids” (“hacking” seems to be a bit of a misnomer?). I’m not justifying it, but come on. You speak as if you have been on the receiving end of one of /b/’s raids, which I highly doubt is true, as the only way for that to happen is to be a) incredibly stupid b) in a very public way c) on the internet. Claims of Anon’s danger to society have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, I think you’ll be hard-pressed actually to demonstrate that MasterCard has lost much money by having its servers temporarily flooded.

    Anyway, Anon will move on by this afternoon, if they haven’t already. I’m sure some poor teenager will post a YouTube video of himself covering a Bieber hit, which is an infinitely more attractive target for 4Chan than [whatever they're doing now].

  • Cincinnatus

    Trashing homes and destroying cars? I’ve never heard of this. Can you share links? I don’t disbelieve you, but the most I’ve ever heard of Anon doing is spamming YouTube videos and flooding the servers of Mastercard–i.e., engaging in their infamous “raids” (“hacking” seems to be a bit of a misnomer?). I’m not justifying it, but come on. You speak as if you have been on the receiving end of one of /b/’s raids, which I highly doubt is true, as the only way for that to happen is to be a) incredibly stupid b) in a very public way c) on the internet. Claims of Anon’s danger to society have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, I think you’ll be hard-pressed actually to demonstrate that MasterCard has lost much money by having its servers temporarily flooded.

    Anyway, Anon will move on by this afternoon, if they haven’t already. I’m sure some poor teenager will post a YouTube video of himself covering a Bieber hit, which is an infinitely more attractive target for 4Chan than [whatever they're doing now].

  • WebMonk

    Just an addendum of some interesting things to this story, bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11957367

    One of the items I thought interesting was in re Amazon and their decision to disallow Wikileaks from using their cloud servers to host their website. The removed Wikileaks for illegal activities which were indeed in violation of their rules of conduct, however they didn’t do it until after political pressure began. With that in mind, here’s something Amazon is doing:

    In a twist to the story it has emerged that Amazon, which last week refused to host Wikileaks, is selling a Kindle version of the documents Wikileaks has leaked.

    They bow to govt pressure and give Wikileaks the boot (for perfectly legal reasons) while still selling a Kindle version of the very documents they deemed were violating their terms of service.

    Color me less than impressed by Amazon.

    And, if anyone hasn’t read a book called Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, I would suggest it. It’s fiction, and sometimes classified as Young Adult, but is something to be read by adults too. Deals with cyber/information fighting on a LOT of levels as well as government power and the exercise thereof.

  • WebMonk

    Just an addendum of some interesting things to this story, bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11957367

    One of the items I thought interesting was in re Amazon and their decision to disallow Wikileaks from using their cloud servers to host their website. The removed Wikileaks for illegal activities which were indeed in violation of their rules of conduct, however they didn’t do it until after political pressure began. With that in mind, here’s something Amazon is doing:

    In a twist to the story it has emerged that Amazon, which last week refused to host Wikileaks, is selling a Kindle version of the documents Wikileaks has leaked.

    They bow to govt pressure and give Wikileaks the boot (for perfectly legal reasons) while still selling a Kindle version of the very documents they deemed were violating their terms of service.

    Color me less than impressed by Amazon.

    And, if anyone hasn’t read a book called Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, I would suggest it. It’s fiction, and sometimes classified as Young Adult, but is something to be read by adults too. Deals with cyber/information fighting on a LOT of levels as well as government power and the exercise thereof.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and maybe you shouldn’t buy that book from Amazon.
    :-D

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and maybe you shouldn’t buy that book from Amazon.
    :-D

  • Leif

    What amazes me is that this is pretty much a first that we’re witnessing. I mean, the implications are amazing. Stock prices dipping, service outages, mass armies of random individuals, etc, etc, etc.

    I was on the twitters yesterday when the call came out to attack paypal and that pretty much had my attention for the rest of the night.

    But the really sad thing is this:

    The tools they’re using offer absolutely no protection for the end user and aside from there being too many to reasonably prosecute it leaves the random 15 year old idealist high and dry.

    Not that I’m too sympathetic here–you buy the ticket and you take the ride—but I doubt too many teenagers are thinking “this could get me some serious jail time” rather than “down with the man!”

    Just a bit of an update:

    Apparently Operation Payback couldn’t agree on who to attack next so they split into “we’re attacking paypal” and “we’re attacking amazon” camps. So we’re probably seeing the petering out of their gusto but now the rumors are that they’ll just re-attack mastercard.

    Perils of decentralized and democratic strategizing, I suppose.

    Also of interesting note: Amazon’s stocks have dipped (speculation is because of the rumored attacks)

  • Leif

    What amazes me is that this is pretty much a first that we’re witnessing. I mean, the implications are amazing. Stock prices dipping, service outages, mass armies of random individuals, etc, etc, etc.

    I was on the twitters yesterday when the call came out to attack paypal and that pretty much had my attention for the rest of the night.

    But the really sad thing is this:

    The tools they’re using offer absolutely no protection for the end user and aside from there being too many to reasonably prosecute it leaves the random 15 year old idealist high and dry.

    Not that I’m too sympathetic here–you buy the ticket and you take the ride—but I doubt too many teenagers are thinking “this could get me some serious jail time” rather than “down with the man!”

    Just a bit of an update:

    Apparently Operation Payback couldn’t agree on who to attack next so they split into “we’re attacking paypal” and “we’re attacking amazon” camps. So we’re probably seeing the petering out of their gusto but now the rumors are that they’ll just re-attack mastercard.

    Perils of decentralized and democratic strategizing, I suppose.

    Also of interesting note: Amazon’s stocks have dipped (speculation is because of the rumored attacks)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I hate hackers (in the mainstream media sense of the word, for you nerds) in general (though I, for one, welcome our new Anonymous overlords — if sucking up to them won’t keep them at bay, perhaps the Simpsons reference will distract them), but I may hate opportunistic corporations even more. Apparently, so does Anonymous. I doubt they would’ve targeted MasterCard if that company had long ago refused to deal with WikiLeaks, and consistently enforced that position.

    Anyhow, this does an excellent job of showing why all the bluster from some parties on this blog about actions against the WikiLeaks server is just that — bluster. I mean, which server do you mean now? The lesson for the Internet age being that the only way to keep the genie in the bottle is to never let him out. But once he’s out, don’t waste your time trying to solve that problem. Because all you’ll do is bring more attention to the thing you don’t want to bring attention to.

    And Cincinnatus (@4), come on, it’s almost entirely “young” people commenting here. Give us some credit — a few of us know what Anonymous is. And while I’m in no way going to check my facts on this one right now, isn’t most of 4chan actually pretty benign manga discussion? It’s the /b/ lot you have to worry about. Even though they have also given the Internet many of its favorite memes, like LOLcats and Rickrolling, to name a few.

    And if you want to learn more about Anonymous crossing the line between pranking and harrassment, between virtual and real-life, just google 11-year-old “Jessi Slaughter”. The police got involved once the death threats started rolling in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I hate hackers (in the mainstream media sense of the word, for you nerds) in general (though I, for one, welcome our new Anonymous overlords — if sucking up to them won’t keep them at bay, perhaps the Simpsons reference will distract them), but I may hate opportunistic corporations even more. Apparently, so does Anonymous. I doubt they would’ve targeted MasterCard if that company had long ago refused to deal with WikiLeaks, and consistently enforced that position.

    Anyhow, this does an excellent job of showing why all the bluster from some parties on this blog about actions against the WikiLeaks server is just that — bluster. I mean, which server do you mean now? The lesson for the Internet age being that the only way to keep the genie in the bottle is to never let him out. But once he’s out, don’t waste your time trying to solve that problem. Because all you’ll do is bring more attention to the thing you don’t want to bring attention to.

    And Cincinnatus (@4), come on, it’s almost entirely “young” people commenting here. Give us some credit — a few of us know what Anonymous is. And while I’m in no way going to check my facts on this one right now, isn’t most of 4chan actually pretty benign manga discussion? It’s the /b/ lot you have to worry about. Even though they have also given the Internet many of its favorite memes, like LOLcats and Rickrolling, to name a few.

    And if you want to learn more about Anonymous crossing the line between pranking and harrassment, between virtual and real-life, just google 11-year-old “Jessi Slaughter”. The police got involved once the death threats started rolling in.

  • Leif

    tODD (@16)

    What I’ve been bugged by is that everyone is calling these dudes “hackers” when they simply aren’t. All they are doing is running a program and if doing so makes one a hacker then…we’re all hackers!

    “I doubt they would’ve targeted MasterCard if that company had long ago refused to deal with WikiLeaks, and consistently enforced that position.”

    That’s the point entirely. In fact, the early cries were about why they would drop Wikileaks but keep processing for the KKK, etc.

  • Leif

    tODD (@16)

    What I’ve been bugged by is that everyone is calling these dudes “hackers” when they simply aren’t. All they are doing is running a program and if doing so makes one a hacker then…we’re all hackers!

    “I doubt they would’ve targeted MasterCard if that company had long ago refused to deal with WikiLeaks, and consistently enforced that position.”

    That’s the point entirely. In fact, the early cries were about why they would drop Wikileaks but keep processing for the KKK, etc.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I’m on your side here. No need to call me out!

    And I agree with the rest of what you said regarding corporations, WikiLeaks, etc., as well.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, I’m on your side here. No need to call me out!

    And I agree with the rest of what you said regarding corporations, WikiLeaks, etc., as well.

  • WebMonk

    Like tODD mentioned, Jessi Slaughter is probably the most recent and famous, but their Project Chanology against the Scientologists has had a fair number of defacements, trashings, and just a couple physical assaults (none of the assaults were during the official protests).

    Joe Schmoe certainly doesn’t need to worry about them, except by being monumentally stupid, offensive, and hypocritical in a public manner. That doesn’t make them “hilarious” though.

  • WebMonk

    Like tODD mentioned, Jessi Slaughter is probably the most recent and famous, but their Project Chanology against the Scientologists has had a fair number of defacements, trashings, and just a couple physical assaults (none of the assaults were during the official protests).

    Joe Schmoe certainly doesn’t need to worry about them, except by being monumentally stupid, offensive, and hypocritical in a public manner. That doesn’t make them “hilarious” though.

  • WebMonk

    According to some of the stories coming out most recently, the attack on Amazon never got coordinated enough to do much to systems with Amazon’s resources. Amazon is THE premier cloud-computing provider and possibly has the largest computer resources in the world when it comes to handling network traffic. (outside of the Internet backbone providers, and possibly the US or China)

    We suspect they may go back after Mastercard and Paypal and the Swedish bank.

    Part of the problem of loosely coupled and highly distributed networks is coherent long-term action.

    Short duration and highly focused? No problem. Long lasting and low focus? Certainly. Long lasting and highly focused? Pretty difficult and rare.

  • WebMonk

    According to some of the stories coming out most recently, the attack on Amazon never got coordinated enough to do much to systems with Amazon’s resources. Amazon is THE premier cloud-computing provider and possibly has the largest computer resources in the world when it comes to handling network traffic. (outside of the Internet backbone providers, and possibly the US or China)

    We suspect they may go back after Mastercard and Paypal and the Swedish bank.

    Part of the problem of loosely coupled and highly distributed networks is coherent long-term action.

    Short duration and highly focused? No problem. Long lasting and low focus? Certainly. Long lasting and highly focused? Pretty difficult and rare.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk: Duh.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk: Duh.

  • Leif

    WebMonk (@20)

    That’ll always be their problem but I’m doubtful that anyone within the group expected Mastercard or Paypal or whatever to be down for very long and with the likes of Amazon–at all.

    Regardless, I find it amusing that the “pirate” terminology, embraced primarily because of the P2P chappies, has made a fine transition into the method of attack used by folks like Anonymous.

    Pirates (old school or otherwise) can’t sustain long battles with organized fronts. Sure you could rally a thousand pirates for this or that, occupy an island for a while, etc. but that’s about it. Try to invade the mainland? Nope.

  • Leif

    WebMonk (@20)

    That’ll always be their problem but I’m doubtful that anyone within the group expected Mastercard or Paypal or whatever to be down for very long and with the likes of Amazon–at all.

    Regardless, I find it amusing that the “pirate” terminology, embraced primarily because of the P2P chappies, has made a fine transition into the method of attack used by folks like Anonymous.

    Pirates (old school or otherwise) can’t sustain long battles with organized fronts. Sure you could rally a thousand pirates for this or that, occupy an island for a while, etc. but that’s about it. Try to invade the mainland? Nope.

  • WebMonk

    Well, they can maintain a low-level battle for a long time (see their ongoing conflict with Scientology) but, yes, keeping up a concentrated attack on a particular enemy for the long term is indeed beyond them.

    However, Mastercard might take that as cold comfort as even the sporadic attacks costs them millions of dollars.

  • WebMonk

    Well, they can maintain a low-level battle for a long time (see their ongoing conflict with Scientology) but, yes, keeping up a concentrated attack on a particular enemy for the long term is indeed beyond them.

    However, Mastercard might take that as cold comfort as even the sporadic attacks costs them millions of dollars.

  • Cincinnatus

    Where are you getting this “millions of dollars” trope? Again, I don’t disbelieve you, but you’ve continued repeating this uncited. I find it dubious: how does flooding someone’s servers for a few hours cost a company that isn’t dependent upon its website for revenue literally millions of dollars?

    Even if that were the case, surely we all appreciate a bit of poetic justice ;-)

  • Cincinnatus

    Where are you getting this “millions of dollars” trope? Again, I don’t disbelieve you, but you’ve continued repeating this uncited. I find it dubious: how does flooding someone’s servers for a few hours cost a company that isn’t dependent upon its website for revenue literally millions of dollars?

    Even if that were the case, surely we all appreciate a bit of poetic justice ;-)

  • Porcell

    What’s needed is to clap these arrogant hackers in jail for extended time. They are technically able with a narrow skill, though ethically challenged mavericks. Americans, who tend to naively be wowed by technical skill, need to see these technical fools as essentially dangerous creatures.

  • Porcell

    What’s needed is to clap these arrogant hackers in jail for extended time. They are technically able with a narrow skill, though ethically challenged mavericks. Americans, who tend to naively be wowed by technical skill, need to see these technical fools as essentially dangerous creatures.

  • Cincinnatus

    They’re not hackers, but yes, hacking that constitutes criminal behavior should be punished accordingly.

  • Cincinnatus

    They’re not hackers, but yes, hacking that constitutes criminal behavior should be punished accordingly.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Americans … tend to naively be wowed by technical skill”, said the man (@25) who all of two days ago wrote:

    Short of taking out Asange, it would be salutary to eliminate his means of communication, which is technically doable. Marc Thiessen in a WAPO piece today writes:

    Last week, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the United States does in fact have the offensive capabilities in cyberspace to take down WikiLeaks, but that the Obama administration chose not to use them. This failure to act prompted a patriotic hacker who goes by the name th3j35t3r (the Jester) to attack WikiLeaks himself, repeatedly taking down its Web site.

    So how’s that working out?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Americans … tend to naively be wowed by technical skill”, said the man (@25) who all of two days ago wrote:

    Short of taking out Asange, it would be salutary to eliminate his means of communication, which is technically doable. Marc Thiessen in a WAPO piece today writes:

    Last week, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the United States does in fact have the offensive capabilities in cyberspace to take down WikiLeaks, but that the Obama administration chose not to use them. This failure to act prompted a patriotic hacker who goes by the name th3j35t3r (the Jester) to attack WikiLeaks himself, repeatedly taking down its Web site.

    So how’s that working out?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The ossification of our government is cliche. Do they even know how the digital world operates? When I first heard of Wikileaks way back in 2006 I told my wife the worst tactic the government could take would be to try and shut it down. Its like blowing on a cinder. Type “wikil” into Google, and see what you get.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The ossification of our government is cliche. Do they even know how the digital world operates? When I first heard of Wikileaks way back in 2006 I told my wife the worst tactic the government could take would be to try and shut it down. Its like blowing on a cinder. Type “wikil” into Google, and see what you get.

  • trotk

    John, blowing on a cinder make work as an analogy for you, but the one that I prefer to think of is the tree of heaven.

    It is an incredibly invasive tree that, when cut down, sprouts all over the place because of its vigorous taproot. A single tree can produce something like 350,000 viable seeds each year. It grows anywhere, and is resistant to almost all chemicals. Basically, once it is present, you either learn to like it or move.

  • trotk

    John, blowing on a cinder make work as an analogy for you, but the one that I prefer to think of is the tree of heaven.

    It is an incredibly invasive tree that, when cut down, sprouts all over the place because of its vigorous taproot. A single tree can produce something like 350,000 viable seeds each year. It grows anywhere, and is resistant to almost all chemicals. Basically, once it is present, you either learn to like it or move.

  • trotk

    Pete, who is going to find all of them? How many will spring up for every one that you lock up? A video of Tom Cruise was taken off the internet and they protested and disrupted because they viewed it as silencing speech. What do you think that they would do if we locked one of them up?

    Again, the issue is with the government. Too many secrets, too much bureaucracy, and way too many people with security clearances.

  • trotk

    Pete, who is going to find all of them? How many will spring up for every one that you lock up? A video of Tom Cruise was taken off the internet and they protested and disrupted because they viewed it as silencing speech. What do you think that they would do if we locked one of them up?

    Again, the issue is with the government. Too many secrets, too much bureaucracy, and way too many people with security clearances.

  • Leif

    Porcell (@25)

    “Americans, who tend to naively be wowed by technical skill, need to see these technical fools as essentially dangerous creatures.”

    Sort of how naive Americans should also not be calling these people “hackers”, right? You know…since they’re not.

    trotk (@30)

    we’ll see on that lock up thing since they’ve apparently nabbed a dutch kid.

  • Leif

    Porcell (@25)

    “Americans, who tend to naively be wowed by technical skill, need to see these technical fools as essentially dangerous creatures.”

    Sort of how naive Americans should also not be calling these people “hackers”, right? You know…since they’re not.

    trotk (@30)

    we’ll see on that lock up thing since they’ve apparently nabbed a dutch kid.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    This is why I find online banking and online shopping to be so risky. The internet is really too fragile and unreliable to be used for anything of importance.

    I think it argues for controlling and restricting access to the internet connectivity if we intend to make it safe. We have to have a driver’s license, car registration and auto insurance in order to legally use public roads.

    We ought to have a license access to the internet and should have to register with the government in order to use an ISP. Sneaky ways of getting online would have to be regulated or made illegal.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    This is why I find online banking and online shopping to be so risky. The internet is really too fragile and unreliable to be used for anything of importance.

    I think it argues for controlling and restricting access to the internet connectivity if we intend to make it safe. We have to have a driver’s license, car registration and auto insurance in order to legally use public roads.

    We ought to have a license access to the internet and should have to register with the government in order to use an ISP. Sneaky ways of getting online would have to be regulated or made illegal.

  • WebMonk

    Cin – it’s not just taking down Mastercard’s Internet face. They have taken down their ability to process payments at times, and Mastercard also does a great deal of business through their website – they do much more than just put up pretty pictures on their website.

    I can’t find the original estimate, which was over fifty thousand dollars per hour Mastercard’s website was down from attacks, and over a hundred and fifty thousand per hour of Paypal being down, but here is another one that should give you a rough idea. It backs up the other article from which I got the millions number.

    http://www.gobankingrates.com/credit-card-rates/wikileaks-supporters-mastercard-economic-impact-hackers-cyber-attacks/

  • WebMonk

    Cin – it’s not just taking down Mastercard’s Internet face. They have taken down their ability to process payments at times, and Mastercard also does a great deal of business through their website – they do much more than just put up pretty pictures on their website.

    I can’t find the original estimate, which was over fifty thousand dollars per hour Mastercard’s website was down from attacks, and over a hundred and fifty thousand per hour of Paypal being down, but here is another one that should give you a rough idea. It backs up the other article from which I got the millions number.

    http://www.gobankingrates.com/credit-card-rates/wikileaks-supporters-mastercard-economic-impact-hackers-cyber-attacks/

  • WebMonk

    SAL, I won’t say what I think of that idea.

  • WebMonk

    SAL, I won’t say what I think of that idea.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hmm…I see. I just can’t muster the gumption to be outraged, though.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hmm…I see. I just can’t muster the gumption to be outraged, though.

  • Cincinnatus

    SAL: Seriously? You want to bureaucratize one of the only fairly “free” domains left on the planet?

  • Cincinnatus

    SAL: Seriously? You want to bureaucratize one of the only fairly “free” domains left on the planet?

  • Leif

    SAL,

    Online banking and shopping is neither risky or fragile. Or, I should say, as risky or fragile as any other banking or shopping. Common sense should always be used, however, that doesn’t prevent the theft of records you had nothing to do with.

    Most of the big breaches aren’t because some dude bought a pair of socks online. They’re typically because some bank (credit card co, store, etc.) was hacked and their database stolen. And with those there’s no amount of not shopping online that’ll save you.

    Either way, I’m confused. Are you saying we should license people so that they can only access the net with one or that you should license people who provide access to the net?

    Random licensing for a “safe” feeling produces only that–a feeling and not a reality.

  • Leif

    SAL,

    Online banking and shopping is neither risky or fragile. Or, I should say, as risky or fragile as any other banking or shopping. Common sense should always be used, however, that doesn’t prevent the theft of records you had nothing to do with.

    Most of the big breaches aren’t because some dude bought a pair of socks online. They’re typically because some bank (credit card co, store, etc.) was hacked and their database stolen. And with those there’s no amount of not shopping online that’ll save you.

    Either way, I’m confused. Are you saying we should license people so that they can only access the net with one or that you should license people who provide access to the net?

    Random licensing for a “safe” feeling produces only that–a feeling and not a reality.

  • Leif

    Should add the big disclaimer on the above:

    Neither risky or fragile if the proper encryption is involved.

  • Leif

    Should add the big disclaimer on the above:

    Neither risky or fragile if the proper encryption is involved.

  • Leif

    WebMonk

    Remember that above “they can’t sustain” discussion?

    Seems the dudes may have gotten some support from botnet operators (article)

    quote: “A few botnet operators have responded that they are willing to offer up their computing resources to the DDoS effort. “We’ve seen a couple of breaking announcements that, ‘I’ll donate my 30,000 botnet, my 100,000 botnet to attack PayPal,’” Be’ery says. “

  • Leif

    WebMonk

    Remember that above “they can’t sustain” discussion?

    Seems the dudes may have gotten some support from botnet operators (article)

    quote: “A few botnet operators have responded that they are willing to offer up their computing resources to the DDoS effort. “We’ve seen a couple of breaking announcements that, ‘I’ll donate my 30,000 botnet, my 100,000 botnet to attack PayPal,’” Be’ery says. “

  • WebMonk

    Yup, I imagine they’ll stay fairly focused on doing attacks (in general) for as long as the this remains a red-hot story in the news. Maybe a day or two longer. However, I still don’t think they’re going to be able to re-organize enough to take down a major site like Mastercard again.

    Maybe if there is a fresh wave of outrage for some reason, they might all come together and focus again.

  • WebMonk

    Yup, I imagine they’ll stay fairly focused on doing attacks (in general) for as long as the this remains a red-hot story in the news. Maybe a day or two longer. However, I still don’t think they’re going to be able to re-organize enough to take down a major site like Mastercard again.

    Maybe if there is a fresh wave of outrage for some reason, they might all come together and focus again.

  • Leif

    The only way I see it continuing is if they get enough support to try out Amazon but that’d be something else.

  • Leif

    The only way I see it continuing is if they get enough support to try out Amazon but that’d be something else.

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