“#Visa, #MasterCard, #PostFinance… The question is: Who’s next?”
O que posso dizer? Nem por toda riqueza do mundo trocaria viver em outros tempos, um pouco “menos conturbados”.
A matéria original sobre o grupo ciberativista que comanda os ataques saiu inicialmente no The Guardian (disparado a melhor cobertura sobre o @Wikileaks e o #CableGate). Coloquei outras pra quem tem dificuldade com o “inglês”.
08/12/2010 – 19h44
Perfil no Twitter com mais de 15 mil seguidores comanda ataques na rede
DE SÃO PAULO
WikileaksAtualizado às 19h55.
O perfil do Twitter Operation Payback está comandando ataques contra sites de “entidades antipirataria e antiliberdade” em tempo real. São mais de 15 mil seguidores.
Na quarta-feira (8), foram colocados como alvos os sites http://www.visa.com e http://www.mastercard.com. O perfil avisa com alguns minutos de antecedência qual será o alvo e divulga um link com as “armas” a serem usadas no ataque.
O Twitter é uma iniciativa do grupo Anonymous, que nasceu no popular fórum 4chan em 2003, segundo o “Guardian”. Atualmente, eles estão trabalhando contra as entidades que de alguma maneira afetarem o funcionamento do WikiLeaks, segundo o julgamento do grupo.
Ainda de acordo com a reportagem do jornal, não existe uma estrutura de comando no Anonymous, formado tanto por adolescentes tentando fazer um impacto no que ocorre, quanto por pais de família, profissionais da tecnologia da informação e pessoas que têm tempo e dinheiro para investir nas ações.
“Nós somos contra empresas e governos interferindo na internet. Acreditamos que ela deve ser aberta e para todos. Governos não deveriam tentar censurar”, disse um membro do grupo ao “Guardian”.
Hackers Attack Those Seen as WikiLeaks Enemies
By JOHN F. BURNS and RAVI SOMAIYA
Published: December 8, 2010
LONDON — In a campaign that had some declaring the start of a “cyberwar,” hundreds of Internet activists mounted retaliatory attacks on Wednesday on the Web sites of multinational companies and other organizations they deemed hostile to the WikiLeaks antisecrecy organization and its jailed founder, Julian Assange.
Articles in this series examine American diplomatic cables as a window on relations with the rest of the world in an age of war and terrorism.
* Documents Documents: Selected Dispatches
The Lede Blog: Attacks on MasterCard and PayPal Sites to Avenge WikiLeaks Are ‘Operation Payback’ (December 8, 2010)
The Lede Blog: ‘Operation Payback’ Attacks Visa (December 8, 2010)
Within 12 hours of a British judge’s decision on Tuesday to deny Mr. Assange bail in a Swedish extradition case, attacks on the Web sites of WikiLeaks’s “enemies,” as defined by the organization’s impassioned supporters around the world, caused several corporate Web sites to become inaccessible or slow down markedly.
Targets of the attacks, in which activists overwhelmed the sites with traffic, included the Web site of MasterCard, which had stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks; Amazon.com, which revoked the use of its computer servers; and PayPal, which stopped accepting donations for Mr. Assange’s group. Visa.com was also affected by the attacks, as were the Web sites of the Swedish prosecutor’s office and the lawyer representing the two women whose allegations of sexual misconduct are the basis of Sweden’s extradition bid.
The Internet assaults underlined the growing reach of self-described “cyberanarchists,” antigovernment and anticorporate activists who have made an icon of Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian.
The speed and range of the attacks also appeared to show the resilience of the backing among computer activists for Mr. Assange, who has appeared increasingly isolated in recent months amid the furor stoked by WikiLeaks’s Web site posting of hundreds of thousands of secret Pentagon documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mr. Assange has come under renewed attack in the past two weeks for posting the first tranche of a trove of 250,000 secret State Department cables that have exposed American diplomats’ frank assessments of relations with many countries, forcing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to express regret to world leaders and raising fears that they and other sources would become more reticent.
The New York Times and four other news organizations last week began publishing articles based on the archive of cables made available to them.
In recent months, some of Mr. Assange’s closest associates in WikiLeaks abandoned him, calling him autocratic and capricious and accusing him of reneging on WikiLeaks’s original pledge of impartiality to launch a concerted attack on the United States. He has been simultaneously fighting a remote battle with the Swedish prosecutors, who have sought his extradition for questioning on accusations of “rape, sexual molestation and forceful coercion” made by the Swedish women. Mr. Assange has denied any wrongdoing in the cases.
American officials have repeatedly said that they are reviewing possible criminal charges against Mr. Assange, a step that could lead to a bid to extradite him to the United States and confront him with having to fight for his freedom on two fronts.
The cyberattacks in Mr. Assange’s defense appear to have been coordinated by Anonymous, a loosely affiliated group of activist computer hackers who have singled out other groups before, including the Church of Scientology. Last weekend, members of Anonymous vowed in two online manifestos to take revenge on any organization that lined up against WikiLeaks.
Anonymous claimed responsibility for the MasterCard attack in Web messages and, according to one activist associated with the group, conducted waves of attacks on other companies during the day. The group said the actions were part of an effort called Operation Payback, which began as a way of punishing companies that attempted to stop Internet file-sharing and movie downloads.
The activist, Gregg Housh, who disavows a personal role in any illegal online activity, said that 1,500 supporters had been in online forums and chat rooms organizing the mass “denial of service” attacks. His account was confirmed by Jose Nazario, a senior security researcher at Arbor Networks, a Chelmsford, Mass., firm that tracks malicious activity on computer networks.
Most of the corporations whose sites were targeted did not explain why they severed ties with WikiLeaks. But PayPal issued statements saying its decision was based on “a violation” of its policy on promoting illegal activities.
Almost all the corporate Web sites that were attacked appeared to be operating normally later on Wednesday, suggesting that any economic impact was limited. But the sense of an Internet war was reinforced when Netcraft, a British Internet monitoring firm, reported that the Web site being used by the hackers to distribute denial-of-service software had been suspended by a Dutch hosting firm, Leaseweb.
A sense of the belligerent mood among activists was given when one contributor to a forum the group uses, WhyWeProtest.net, wrote of the attacks: “The war is on. And everyone ought to spend some time thinking about it, discussing it with others, preparing yourselves so you know how to act if something compels you to make a decision. Be very careful not to err on the side of inaction.”
Mr. Housh acknowledged that there had been online talk among the hackers of a possible Internet campaign against the two women who have been Mr. Assange’s accusers in the Swedish case, but he said that “a lot of people don’t want to be involved.”
A Web search showed new blog posts in recent days in which the two women, identified by the Swedish prosecutors only as Ms. A. and Ms. W., were named, but it was not clear whether there was any link to Anonymous. The women have said that consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange became nonconsensual when condoms were no longer in use.
The cyberattacks on corporations Wednesday were seen by many supporters as a counterstrike against the United States. Mr. Assange’s online supporters have widely condemned the Obama administration as the unseen hand coordinating efforts to choke off WikiLeaks by denying it financing and suppressing its network of computer servers.
Mr. Housh described Mr. Assange in an interview as “a political prisoner,” a common view among WikiLeaks supporters who have joined Mr. Assange in condemning the sexual abuse accusations as part of an American-inspired “smear campaign.”
Another activist used the analogy of the civil rights struggle for the cyberattacks.
“Are they disrupting business?” a contributor using the name Moryath wrote in a comment on the slashdot.org technology Web site. “Perhaps, but no worse than the lunch counter sit-ins did.”
John Markoff and Ashlee Vance contributed reporting from San Francisc
WikiLeaks: Who are the hackers behind Operation Payback?
‘Hacktivist’ group Anonymous, linked to message board 4chan, has led online assault against MasterCard and Paypal websites
Follow the latest on our WikiLeaks live blog
MasterCard closed sign MasterCard was forced offline by activists protesting against the blocking of payments to WikiLeaks. Photograph: Tim Wimborne/Reuters
The MasterCard website was forced offline for several hours today, following an online assault led by a shadowy group of hackers protesting against the card issuer’s decision to block payments made to the WikiLeaks website.
The “distributed denial of service” attack was apparently orchestrated by a “hacktivist” group calling itself Anonymous, which has in recent days temporarily paralysed the websites of Post Finance, the Swiss bank which closed WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange’s account, and the website of the Swedish prosecution office.
Twitter is next in its sights, following allegations that the social networking site is “censoring” visibility of the breadth of discussion of WikiLeaks by preventing it from appearing in Twitter’s “trends”. Twitter has denied that it is doing this, saying its systems identify topics that are “being talked about more right now than they were previously” – which doesn’t include WikiLeaks.
But who, or what, is – or are – Anonymous?
A 22-year-old spokesman, who wished to be known only as “Coldblood”, told the Guardian that the group – which is about a thousand strong – is “quite a loose band of people who share the same kind of ideals” and wish to be a force for “chaotic good”.
There is no real command structure in the group, the London-based spokesman said, while most of its members are teenagers who are “trying to make an impact on what happens with the limited knowledge they have”. But others are parents, IT professionals and people who happen to have time – and resources – on their hands.
The group has gained notoriety for its attacks on copyright-enforcement agencies and organisations such as the Church of Scientology.
Anonymous was born out of the influential internet messageboard 4chan, a forum popular with hackers and gamers, in 2003. The group’s name is a tribute to 4chan’s early days, when any posting to its forums where no name was given was ascribed to “Anonymous”. But the ephemeral group, which picks up causes “whenever it feels like it”, has now “gone beyond 4Chan into something bigger”, its spokesman said.
The membership of Anonymous is impossible to pin down; it has been described as being like a flock of birds – the only way you can identify members is by what they’re doing together. Essentially, once enough people on the 4chan message boards decide that an issue is worth pursuing in large enough numbers, it becomes an “Anonymous” cause.
The group counts the current campaign in support of WikiLeaks as “probably one of [its] most high profile yet”. The group gained notoriety more recently for a number of sustained assaults against the sites of US music industry body RIAA, Kiss musician Gene Simmons, and solicitors’ firms involved in lawsuits against people suspected of illegal filesharing. In early 2008, Anonymous launched a campaign against the Church of Scientology, bringing down related websites and promising to “expel” the religion from the internet.
“We’re against corporations and government interfering on the internet,” Coldblood added. “We believe it should be open and free for everyone. Governments shouldn’t try to censor because they don’t agree with it.
“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.”
The spokesman said Anonymous plans to “move away” from DDoS attacks and instead focus on “methods to support” WikiLeaks, such as mirroring the site. “There’s no doubt in [Anonymous members’] mind that they are breaking [the] law,” he said of the latest attacks. “But they feel that there’s safety in numbers.”
Anonymous refused to say whether it would target government-owned websites next, but warned: “anything goes.”