Print 47 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Feb 7 at 2:37 PM

The arrests follow attacks against companies like MasterCard and Visa that cut funding to Wikileaks. Anonymous says that it is at "war" with the UK government following the arrests.  (Source: Guardian UK)
Fiery statement from Anonymous follows the arrest of several of the group's hackers

Amid the drama unfolding in Egypt, drama of a very different nature was unfolding in the U.S. over the weekend.  Hackers belonging to one of the highest profile online communities have accused the U.S. and UK governments of declaring "war" on them, and vow to fight back.

I.  The Search

The turmoil began on Thursday, when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations executed 40 search warrants, raiding the houses of members of the group Anonymous, a 1,000+ member group of online enthusiasts/hackers who met on the image-board site 4Chan.

The raids followed Anonymous members coordinating and executing distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other malicious attacks on credit card companies and financial institutions.  The attacks came after those companies denied funding for controversial leaks site Wikileaks, saying that the site was supporting illegal activity.  The hackers used a DDoS program dubbed the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool -- an homage to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back -- in their attacks.

Anonymous dubbed the attacks "Operation Payback".  The attacks were executed during the second week of December and succeeded in briefly disabling some of the targeted businesses' web portals.

Coldbood, Anonymous's unofficial spokesman described the attacks, stating:

Anonymous is supporting WikiLeaks not because we agree or disagree with the data that is being sent out, but we disagree with any from of censorship on the internet. If we let WikiLeaks fall without a fight then governments will think they can just take down any sites they wish or disagree with.

Authorities have since worked with financial institutions and antivirus software makers to weed out and block the LOIC, putting an end (for now) to the attacks.

II. The Arrests

Now international authorities are getting a bit of "payback" of their own.  In the Netherlands several arrests were reportedly made.  And in the UK five people ages 25 to 16 were taken in for questioning.  Among those arrested was the 22-year-old spokesperson, Coldblood.

Arrests may be in store in the U.S., as well, pending the results of the FBI's investigation.  As of Monday no U.S.-based arrests had been announced yet.

The FBI issued a press release, stating:

A group calling itself “Anonymous” has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they conducted them in protest of the companies’ and organizations’ actions. The attacks were facilitated by the software tools the group makes available for free download on the Internet. The victims included major U.S. companies across several industries.

The FBI also is reminding the public that facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as exposing participants to significant civil liability.

III.  Anonymous Says it is at "War"

Following the arrests Anonymous has released a statement [PDF] commenting:

Not only does it reveal the fact that you do not seem to understand the present-day political and technological reality, we also take this as a serious declaration of war from yourself, the UK government, to us, Anonymous, the people.

First and foremost, it is important to realize what a DDoS attack exactly is and what it means in the contemporary political context. As traditional means of protest (peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, the blocking of a crossroads or the picketing of a factory fence) have slowly turned into nothing but an empty, ritualised gesture of discontent over the course of the last century, people have been anxiously searching for new ways to pressure politicians and give voice to public demands in a manner that might actually be able to change things for the better. Anonymous has, for now, found this new way of voicing civil protest in the form of the DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, attack. Just as is the case with traditional forms of protest, we block

access to our opponents infrastructure to get our message across. Whether or not this infrastructure is located in the real world or in cyberspace, seems completely irrelevant to us.

Moreover, we would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on the difference between a DDoS attack and hacking, as these concepts often seem to be confounded when media and policy-makers talk about Anonymous. Hacking as such is defined by the law as ‘unauthorised access to a computer or network’, whereas a DDoS attack is simply a case of thousands of people making legitimate connections to a publicly accessible webserver at the same time, using up the entire bandwidth or processing power of the given server at once and thereby causing a huge ‘traffic jam’.

It is clear then, that arresting somebody for taking part in a DDoS attack is exactly like arresting somebody for attending a peaceful demonstration in their hometown. Anonymous believes this right to peacefully protest is one of the fundamental pillars of any democracy and should not be restricted in any way.

Moreover, we have noted that similar attacks have also been carried out against Wikileaks itself, yet so far, nobody has been arrested in connection with these attacks, nor are there even any signs of an investigation into this issue at all. Yet, we know exactly who was responsible for that attack. Anonymous believes it is unfair and hypocritical to attempt to put these 5 arrested anons to trial without even attempting to find those who DDoS’ed a website which you oppose. We can therefore only assume that these arrests are politically motivated, and were being carried out under pressure from the US government. Anonymous can not, and will not, stand idle while this injustice is being done.

What exact steps Anonymous will take to fight back in this "war" against the UK and Netherlands governments remains to be seen.  It also remains to be seen whether the group will similarly call for a war against the U.S. if it makes arrests.

The members of Anonymous arrested in the UK face up to 10 years in prison and ~$8,000 USD in fines, under the UK's Computer Misuse Act.

In related news, Anonymous is calling for internet action [video] in support of protesters in Egypt.  The announcement comes after Egyptian authorities are seeking to block communication, impairing protesters' ability to organize.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: The only good hacker...
By B3an on 1/31/2011 4:21:23 PM , Rating: 5
Even though there was no hacking whatsoever. Theres no hackers in anonymous. This is a DDoS attack, which is loads of people constantly making connections to a website to take up all it's bandwidth/processing power. I agree with Anonymous' statement.

You yanks apparantly support freedom, and therefore should be supporting Anonymous. They are fighting for freedoms and a free internet.

RE: The only good hacker...
By cmdrdredd on 1/31/2011 4:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
You yanks apparantly support freedom, and therefore should be supporting Anonymous. They are fighting for freedoms and a free internet.

No because I believe in the idea that your rights stop when they begin to infringe on MY rights. One of my rights on the internet is access to the websites I choose as long as I have adequate permissions to do so. Therefor if someone is attacking a site and shuts off my access to the information stored therein, they are infringing on my right to access that information.

It's similar to someone using slander and their right to free speech to invade my privacy at a funeral. Yes I am drawing parallels to the church group who pickets military service member's funerals. For a better example of what I mean, I truly believe that nobody has the right to prevent your happiness simply because they believe they have the right to do what they want. You have consequences for every action in this world. Internet included. If not, then there would be no password protected sites.

RE: The only good hacker...
By JakLee on 1/31/2011 7:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
Or your "right" to continue any action you feel is OK?
The civil rights movement is a great example to use - if anyone is old enough to remember the original Million Man March??? As a citizen of the USA, it is your right to visit the Licoln or Washington monuments. However, with 700k people all peaceably demonstrating there, well, it might not be feasable.

According to your definition, they would be infringing on your rights to go where you want. Regardless of their right to peaceably assemble....

I can understand Anon's reasoning here, and I can almost support it. This is something I actually would LIKE to see the ACLU take, or some up & coming lawyer trying to make a name. With the stigma in the news over Anon though, it would likely not end well.

If I remember correctly some previous details - this was homepages only; so this DDoS didn't actually damage any business. Amazon didn't even notice they got hit (which made me laugh for days btw). And it was no hacking or calls for botnets, just kids making their feelings known. I may not fully agree with what they did, but neither do I think they deserve a harsh punishment that is being mentioned.

RE: The only good hacker...
By borismkv on 2/1/2011 9:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
Freedom of choice doesn't free you from the consequences of your action. You are free to rob someone's house, but they are also free to shoot you in the process. Anonymous is free to protest in any way they want, but they must also face the consequences of their actions if they have been deemed illegal. In the civil rights movement, it was extremely common for proponents of civil rights to break the law. They also willingly went to prison for their actions and viewed it as a part of the protest. Anonymous getting butthurt for being busted after shutting down major financial corporations and getting arrested for it is just annonymous being immature dumbasses. But there's no surprise there. Everything they do is akin to the actions of a three year old with too much leniency in its life.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki