Protestors “called off” Amazon attack
An Anonymous statement has claimed an attack against Amazon.com didn’t fail, it was merely called off – to let people shop.
The online campaigners have targeted companies including MasterCard, PayPal and Visa, after they cut off funds to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
Yesterday, an Anonymous Twitter feed named Amazon as the next target, after the company refused to continue hosting Wikileaks’ website, but allowed the sale of an eBook incorrectly advertised as containing the leaked diplomatic cables.
Amazon.com didn’t seem to have any troubles after the attack was expected to kick off, leading many to suggest its systems were robust enough to withstand the usual Anonymous denial-of-service tactics.
Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste
However, a press release apparently from Anonymous said the attack simply didn’t go ahead.
“While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in a DDOS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occurred,” the statement said. “After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous.”
“Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste,” the statement added.
Sean-Paul Correll, at Panda Security, also noted that Anonymous’ own servers went down right around the time of the planned attack. “Attacks are going on in all directions,” he said in a Panda Labs blog post.
“While the next step was to attack Amazon.com, Anonymous’ server infrastructure was heavily attacked, and in fact they have been taken offline for a long period of time during the day,” he added. “Right now they are currently regrouping and strategising for future attacks.”
Wikileaks yesterday denied any connection with the campaign, but refused to condemn the attacks.
Not a hacking group
Anonymous also used the statement to stress that it’s not a hacking group. “Anonymous is not a group, but rather an internet gathering… Anonymous has a very loose and decentralised command structure that operates on ideas rather than directives,” the statement added.
“We are average internet citizens ourselves and our motivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witness every day.”
Anonymous also claimed it was not stealing personal information or credit card details, and was not looking to attack critical infrastructure at the companies it targeted.
“Rather than doing that, we focused on their corporate websites, which is to say, their online ‘public face’,” it said, describing the acts as a “legitimate expression of dissent.”
Find out more
Wikileaks protest tool could carry two-year jail stretch
Ironically, it suggested the attacks on PayPal would continue because they weren’t actually hurting the payment firm’s infrastructure.
While Anonymous doesn’t want to be called a “group” – despite being organised enough to cobble together a press statement – it is looking at tightening up its structure.
“We do not believe that a similar movement exists in the world today and as such we have to learn by trial and error. We are now in the process of better communicating some core values to the individual atoms that comprise Anonymous.”