There’s been a big thing around the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
Since the revelations a few weeks ago about the site, many companies have pulled their support from WikiLeaks, such as Mastercard, Paypal and Amazon. Since WikiLeaks began to publish 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables, the US government had written to the website saying that their actions were illegal, though they deny that they’ve put pressure on the firms to withdraw services.
But since these companies, amongst others, pulled out of WikiLeaks, they have been under attack by pro-WikiLeaks hackers.
How? DDOS attacks, or Distributed Denial-Of-Service attacks.
No idea how DDOS attacks work? Well, when you clicked on the link to this article (for example), you sent a request to Wicid to see the page, then Wicid sends the page to you to see. What DDOS attacks do is that hackers bombard websites with requests (millions of requests per second, roughly) until the targeted websites are unable to cope, forcing them to go down. The hackers use something called a botnet to send the millions of requests at a time. The software has been downloaded over 300,000 times.
Who are behind these DDOS attacks? A group of hacktivists called Anonymous who believe that WikiLeaks is proof that the internet is open and free. One of them, named Coldblood, told the BBC that “more and more people are downloading the voluntary botnet tool,” adding that thousands of people have joined up in the “war of data”, as he described it.
Recently, one of these hacktivists has told Sky News that more cyber attacks will accrue. He told Sky News that “our pool of targets is actually verily limited”, adding “we are going after the agencies that were directly involved in the censorship of WikiLeaks”.
The member of Anonymous, codenamed Bass, continued to say that “They include PayPal who cut off services and withheld funds. The same with Visa and MasterCard, then Amazon who cut off their service support.
“We don’t attack the media, that is a big no no. Even the media that has been critical of us, we don’t attack any of the news”
Users of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites could breathe a sign of relief, as Bass stated that “even though they have done some things against us we’re not going after them.”
Though these hacktivists are only attacking those they feel are censoring the internet, this could be the dawn of a new form of warfare.
Us humans have become rather reliant on the web in this day in age. Imagine if a group that isn’t like Anonymous and has their eyes set to attack the media. This could result in major problems.
Granted, it won’t be the end of the world if you couldn’t read your emails for a few days, but imagine if someone targets an online store, for instance. The online store will lose money due to the site not working, resulting in loss of earnings and, if the site is down long enough, could spell the end of the company.
It is something worth thinking about. Could DDOS attacks be the new form of warfare? Or even worse, terrorism?