Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

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Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:49 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Internet hacktivists are claiming to have brought down the Mastercard website as revenge for the firm withdrawing services to Wikileaks.
The Anonymous group of hackers have also brought down the website of the Swedish prosecutors office which is pursuing founder Julian Assange.
It has pledged to launch denial-of-service attacks on websites it sees as anti-Wikileaks.
Earlier it hit the Swiss bank that froze Mr Assange's assets.
PayPal, which has stopped processing donations to Wikileaks, has also been targeted.
Anonymous is a loose-knit group of hacktivists, with links to the notorious message board 4chan.
"We are glad to tell you that Mastercard is down and it's confirmed," the group tweeted.
Mastercard said that it had nothing to say about the matter at the time of publication.
But security experts have said the site has been under a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS), which swamp a site with so many page requests that it becomes overwhelmed and drops offline.
Access to the website appears to be possible intermittently and it is still visible from some countries, experts say. It is not clear whether the attacks have affected Mastercard's payment system.
Earlier the group confirmed other targets: "In response to the arrest of Julian Assange, Anonymous has taken down PostFinance.ch, who terminated Wikileaks bank account, using a distributed denial-of-service attack. Subsequently, Anonymous attacked http://www.aklagare.se, the Swedish Prosecutors office, also using a DDoS attack, and took the site down in under 10 seconds of beginning the attack," the group said in a statement.
Noa Bar Yosef, a senior analyst at security firm Imperva said the attacks are "very focused".
"It is recruiting people from within their own network. They are actually asking supporters to download a piece of code, the DDoSing malware, and upon a wake-up call the computer engages in the denial of service," he said.
Increased traffic
Before the Mastercard attack, a member of Anonymous, who calls himself Coldblood, told the BBC that "multiple things are being done".
"Websites that are bowing down to government pressure have become targets," he said.
"As an organisation we have always taken a strong stance on censorship and freedom of expression on the internet and come out against those who seek to destroy it by any means."
"We feel that Wikileaks has become more than just about leaking of documents, it has become a war ground, the people vs. the government," he said.
Some of the early DDoS hits failed to take sites offline, although that was not the point of the attacks, according to Coldblood.
"The idea is not to wipe them off but to give the companies a wake-up call," he said. "Companies will notice the increase in traffic and an increase in traffic means increase in costs associated with running a website."
DDoS attacks are illegal in many countries, including the UK.
Coldblood admitted that such attacks "may hurt people trying to get to these sites" but said it was "the only effective way to tell these companies that us, the people, are displeased".
Anonymous is also helping to create hundreds of mirror sites for Wikileaks, after its US domain name provider withdrew its services.
Ending contracts
The attacks are part of an ongoing infowar involving Wikileaks.
The whistle-blowing site has also been hit by a series of DDoS attacks, following the release of a quarter of a million US embassy cables.
It is unclear who is behind the attacks but it seems that Wikileaks is getting too hot to handle as many of the businesses that work with the site, distance themselves from it.
On 3 December, domain name provider EveryDNS cut off service, citing the denial-of-service attacks as the reason.
Amazon also ended an agreement to host the site, saying Wikileaks failed to adhere to its terms of service.
It said that Wikileaks was unable to ensure that it "wasn't putting innocent people in jeopardy" by leaking classified documents.
Online payment company, PayPal, has permanently restricted Wikileaks' account, making it harder for supporters to make donations.
MasterCard Worldwide is also choking payments to the site.
The Swiss bank, PostFinance has closed the account of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
In all cases, the companies have insisted their decisions are not politically motivated.
PayPal said Wikileaks' account had violated its terms of services.
PostFinance, meanwhile, claimed Assange had provided false information when opening his account.
BitTorrent file
But some have taken a different view.
French internet service provider OVH said it had no plans to end the service it provides to Wikileaks.
"OVH is neither for nor against this site. We neither asked to host this site nor not to host it. Now it's with us, we will fulfil the contract," said OVH managing director Octave Klaba.
"It's neither for the political world nor for OVH to call for or to decide on a site's closure," he added.
French industry minister Eric Besson had called for the site to be shut down, saying France could not host internet sites that "violate the confidentiality of diplomatic relations and put in danger people protected by diplomatic secrecy".
But on 6 December, a French judge declined to force OVH to shut Wikileaks down, saying the case needed further argument.
Wikileaks has amassed some high-profile enemies including Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the US Homeland Security Committee.
He has urged the US government to "use all legal means necessary to shut down Wikileaks before it can do more damage by releasing additional cables".
Dr Joss Wright, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute thinks it could be too late to legislate Wikileaks offline.
"Wikileaks has released an encrypted file containing all of the embassy cables," says Dr Wright. "The information is already out there."
Dozens of copies of that encrypted file have been shared using peer-to-peer networks, such as BitTorrent. "Once the information is there, it's virtually impossible to stop people sharing it," said Dr Wright.
Founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange has been arrested in London and is being held in custody, having been refused bail.
He is accused by the Swedish authorities of sexual assault.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11935539

If anyone needs some more "insider" information, I'm in the IRC server where this is taking place, and have been for like...a month, haha. I'm not DDoSing, but watching. This originally started as Operation Payback wehre they hit anti-piracy websites (including genesimmons.com) but now they're supporting Wikileaks. I have never seen an Anonymous DDoS like this, not even during Operation Titstorm which had hundreds of people involved. At the time of me writing this, there are over 1300 people connected to the IRC channel orchestrating this, and close to 850 people in "Hivemind" which is when you hook up LOIC (low orbit ion cannon) to an IRC channel, and the operator of the IRC channel gives commands about who to attack, and your computer then does so. In other words, a voluntary botnet. Also, I know one guy who says he has 2500 strong botnet, and provided evidence. It's 4chan though, so whether he's lying or telling the truth...wouldn't be a surprise either way, haha.

The site hit yesterday was postfinance.ch which froze Assange's account. For almost an entire day they prevented people from making transfers on that site. Postfinance is kinda like a half-post-office, half-bank sorta *thing*. Anyway, it's a large institution, in the top 10K sites online, and has a stadium named after it. For a short period they also attacked lieberman.senate.gov, which actually semi-worked. The server was working about 50% of the time. When you consider the fact that liberman.senate.gov has the same IP as senate.gov...that's pretty impressive.

EDIT: owner of IRC channel says that when hivemind his 1000 they're going to go after paypal again. If that happens...jesus christ, help us all.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:56 pm UTC

Awesome.

Not that it's necessarily ... y'know, legal, or anything... But legality/morality are not the same, and I think it's good to provide a negative consequence for blindly following government "preferences". This could allow organizations to demand strong fucking reason for allowing government to tell them how to operate. Okay, you want us to freeze this one guy's account...uh, yeah we could do that, but whenever we do stuff like that we kind of get firebombed into uselessness and lose a lot of money and end up with a lot of rightfully pissed off customers. So, we'll be glad to, as long as you present us with some actual reasoning other than "shut up and do this." And it also forces companies that have a tendency to do ANYTHING a government asks to examine government requests for legitimacy. Citizens may not be able to attack governments easily, but corporations are clearly viable targets, so allying your corporation with the government for ease of business now can, as it rightly should, carry hefty consequences.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby JayDee » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:03 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm tending towards awesome too. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but there are plenty of behaviours and actions from, say, fifty years ago, from the great depression, that were just as illegal, but that I can only see as being the right thing to do.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

I think I might disagree with attacking postfinance.ch, because I'm not sure they did anything actually wrong.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Ulc » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

I dislike the action, but think that it is necessary none the less.

It's a really bad thing if we allow governments to take action against a individual or organisations outside of the law. If they can within the law go after wikileaks, by all means, they should go for it. And that's essentially what have happened here, they have pressured companies into helping shutting down wikileaks* - with no legal reason.

And that's essentially what the people behind this are saying, "censor people without legal reason, due to government pressure, and we will come for you"


*If you buy the "all of us independently noticed technicalities that meant we had to shut wikileaks down, within the same week, honest!", then I have bridge or two you might just be interested in.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:23 pm UTC

Update: 1111 in Hivemind, 1873 total on IRC channel. Front page article on guardian.co.uk, a bunch of other news websites. They're strategizing how to attack Paypal's servers.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby JayDee » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

It's weird to think of people willingly offering up their machines for DDoS attacks. It's like a digital sit-in.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Wow. Good analogy.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zamfir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:56 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:It's weird to think of people willingly offering up their machines for DDoS attacks. It's like a digital sit-in.

Are these just the users PCs? Then a thousand participants to achieve such results seems awfully low.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Fume Troll » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:58 pm UTC

Freedom of Speech - priceless.

For everything else, there's MasterCard

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:06 pm UTC

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/de ... mastercard

Mastercard might owe the US government for lobbying Russia previously, and the irony is we know this... because of cables wikileaks released.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zamfir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:09 pm UTC

A question: is it possible to counter-attack a ddos attack? Assuming you have enough resources, NSA-level or so, could you identify the attackers and somehow block or overload their internet connection?

Or could you infiltrate in the attack? Pretend to join in, then screw up the timings of the coordinated attack?

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:12 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
JayDee wrote:It's weird to think of people willingly offering up their machines for DDoS attacks. It's like a digital sit-in.

Are these just the users PCs? Then a thousand participants to achieve such results seems awfully low.

This is much higher than any other Anon-orchestrated DDoS that I'm aware of. 1633 people are on Hivemind right now, and that number is growing very fast, what with all the front page articles. I wouldn't be surprised to see 3000 by the end of the day.

It's a large number of people willing to engage in an illegal activity such as distributed denial of service.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Oregonaut » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

Really? ...Really?

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Network Operations Center - Web Access Denied

Access to the URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/de ... mastercard has been denied.

The VA NSOC Operations Internet Gateways are for official VA use only. Misuse violates VA policy. If you believe that this site is categorized incorrectly, and that you have a business reason for access to this site please contact your local Information Security Officer and the VA Network Operations Center via
E-mail: VANSOC@va.gov
Please use the Web Access Request Form and include a business justification. Only e-mail that originates from valid VA e-mail addresses will be processed. If you do not have a valid VA e-mail address, your Internet Security Officer will need to submit a request on your behalf.



Generated: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:12:37 GMT by GWSWBC4
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zamfir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:38 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:Really? ...Really?

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Network Operations Center - Web Access Denied

Access to the URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/de ... mastercard has been denied.

The VA NSOC Operations Internet Gateways are for official VA use only. Misuse violates VA policy. If you believe that this site is categorized incorrectly, and that you have a business reason for access to this site please contact your local Information Security Officer and the VA Network Operations Center via
E-mail: VANSOC@va.gov
Please use the Web Access Request Form and include a business justification. Only e-mail that originates from valid VA e-mail addresses will be processed. If you do not have a valid VA e-mail address, your Internet Security Officer will need to submit a request on your behalf.



Generated: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:12:37 GMT by GWSWBC4

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Oregonaut » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

I read the Guardian every other day online while I was in the military, on computers connected to the .mil domain. The VA really has its head up its ass as far as these matters go.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zamfir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:I read the Guardian every other day online while I was in the military, on computers connected to the .mil domain. The VA really has its head up its ass as far as these matters go.

But that's gathering intelligence on the enemy. Now you are retired, you can't use that excuse anymore :)

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

This is on the front page of almost every mainstream news site. There are 1960 in Hivemind, and that is growing exponentially as there is more exposure. This is almost certainly Anonymous's greatest achievement...ever. It looks like they're going to wait a day or two to attack paypal. The attacks on Mastercard's servers have disrupted payments, and it's expected for them to have a massive drop in the stock market. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11935539
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Dauric » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

... Well I'm glad my debit card is Visa....
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:1633 people are on Hivemind right now
sje46 wrote:There are 1960 in Hivemind
sje46 wrote:growing exponentially


You keep using that word....
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:and it's expected for them to have a massive drop in the stock market.

....thats not how the stock market works....
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Sero » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:04 pm UTC

Grrh. I'm always slightly amused and somewhat vexed whenever a news article about Anonymous quotes a member of a completely non-hierarchal group, as though that person is a spokesperson for the entirety of the group. That spokesperson naming themselves, even by internet alias, makes it even worse. Nitpicky and silly, but c'mon, BBC, get at least partially with the times.

Actually on topic...I think this is pretty interesting to watch. On gut reaction, (that is, I have not subjected this to much self-analysis of it's ethicality or morality), I like the idea of this form of protest against the interference with a whistleblower/free press organization by interfering with the business operations of those responsible. Nicely karmic, or something. 'Standing up for free speech might cost you money, stifling it in the name of your own expediency will cost you money.' (I don't really want to get into a debate about whether wikileaks is justified free speech or whatnot, it's just the concept I really admire. Though I do support wikileaks, that isn't the point I'm trying to make.)
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Garm » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:05 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sje46 wrote:1633 people are on Hivemind right now
sje46 wrote:There are 1960 in Hivemind
sje46 wrote:growing exponentially


You keep using that word....


I think, sje, that the phrase you're looking for is "monotonically increasing," since as Belial points out, exponentiation is certainly not happening.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

Even if its increments of X at regular periods of time it's still technically exponential. Quit the pedantry. It's increasing rapidly as more and more people find out, which is my point.

But not anymore, since there's only 3 or so people connected. Counter-DDoS!
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby PhatPhungus » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

Where do I find this IRC channel?
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:... Well I'm glad my debit card is Visa....

Funny you should say that...

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irc.anonops.net #operationpayback is the main discussion one. You need to be registerred to talk though.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:20 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Even if its increments of X at regular periods of time it's still technically exponential.

What exactly do you think exponential means?

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby MartianInvader » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:23 pm UTC

You could make an argument for exponential growth:

-The amount of exposure grows with the number of people involved.
-The number of new people joining grows with the amount of exposure.
-Therefore, one could posit a linear relationship between the number of people involved and its derivative, which implies exponential growth.

I guess that's probably not the case here. And people using "exponential" to mean "fast" is one of my big pet peeves, but I don't think you can outright reject at least temporary exponential growth here. :)
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:24 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:But not anymore, since there's only 3 or so people connected. Counter-DDoS!

How did that happen?
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby sje46 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:34 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:
sje46 wrote:Even if its increments of X at regular periods of time it's still technically exponential.

What exactly do you think exponential means?


Example: y=a*b^x

X can equal one, which means linear growth.

or x = 1.0000001

Doesn't really matter.

I could be wrong about this, but if I recall high school math correctly...then yeah.
nitePhyyre wrote:
sje46 wrote:But not anymore, since there's only 3 or so people connected. Counter-DDoS!

How did that happen?
There are numerous servers for the network. Everyone using LOIC was connected to loic.anonops.net. The hive itself is #loic. Since loic.anonops.net went offline for whatever reason (probably DDoS?) #hive pretty much emptied.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby PhatPhungus » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:42 pm UTC

Check out mastercard.com
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Example: y=a*b^x

X can equal one, which means linear growth.

or x = 1.0000001

Doesn't really matter.

I could be wrong about this, but if I recall high school math correctly...then yeah.

Well, not quite - x isn't a constant in an exponential, it's a variable (time). In order to match exponential growth, the population has to grow in a manner proportional to the current population, which wasn't the case here.

But yeah, doesn't really matter.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zanmanoodle » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

This is both brilliant and a terrible idea. I'm still neutral on this whole Wikileaks mess, but if they start attacking .gov sites, Anon is just begging for the government to start exercising more control over the internet. Or at least trying to.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:Really? ...Really?

I got a reason:
This site has been blocked due to government security concerns regarding leaked information.

I think they're worried about someone with a security clearance viewing leaked documents. Seeing a classified memo from the state dept. is still a security violation if you aren't authorized to see it, regardless of whether or not it's in the public domain.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Sero » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

Not really much more so than any DDoS attack does. Oh, it's possible it would motivate some legislators, but unless the attack on government sites is of a much greater degree than other DDoS attacks, as in, protracted for weeks or something of that nature, I don't think it would influence legislative thinking much. I think you overestimate the personal stake a senator has in senate.gov. It doesn't personally affect them, they don't really care.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Zanmanoodle » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

Sero wrote:Not really much more so than any DDoS attack does. Oh, it's possible it would motivate some legislators, but unless the attack on government sites is of a much greater degree than other DDoS attacks, as in, protracted for weeks or something of that nature, I don't think it would influence legislative thinking much. I think you overestimate the personal stake a senator has in senate.gov. It doesn't personally affect them, they don't really care.


Well, considering that some senators have already been calling for Assange to be labeled a terrorist by Homeland Security, I foresee a bountiful quantity of fear-mongering and such.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:31 pm UTC

I'm a bit surprised to see people in agreement here; MasterCard customers, card holders, have done nothing wrong. While I agree that hitting the company where it counts is the best way to send a message, think of all the people whose potential livelihoods will be affected, for politics they are neither involved in or forewarned of.

If the attacks somehow released a memo or notification about what they were doing, I'd be MILDLY more accepting of this, but what you're basically greenlighting is the tampering with the financial security of countless innocent people because they were associated with a company that did something you disagree with.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm a bit surprised to see people in agreement here; MasterCard customers, card holders, have done nothing wrong.


How exactly do you suggest striking at a company without inconveniencing its customers? If the customers are all perfectly happy and still using the service, the service won't feel the pain.
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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:but what you're basically greenlighting is the tampering with the financial security of countless innocent people because they were associated with a company that did something you disagree with.

Noone attacked Mastercard Headquarters or altered their records. They took the website offline temporarily. I'm sure we could concoct a scenario where that could make or break someone, but primarily, it's a minor inconvenience to individual customers, and a nightmare for corporate Mastercard.

This is a nonviolent reaction to an assault on the freedom of the press. It could even be viewed as protected speech with a very liberal interpretation of the 1st amendment.

Edit: To me this is more like protesting in front of a Wal-Mart. Saying that you're impacting customers' "financial security" is a stretch.

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Re: Mastercard 'hit by Anonymous Wikileaks revenge attacks'

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:I'm a bit surprised to see people in agreement here; MasterCard customers, card holders, have done nothing wrong.


How exactly do you suggest striking at a company without inconveniencing its customers? If the customers are all perfectly happy and still using the service, the service won't feel the pain.
Somehow by striking against its employees(which is the biggest thing this is doing) or its investors(which the stock is up $2 today so its not effecting them at all). The latter is most done through legal means though, its hard to do it as a vigilante.
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