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Operation Payback and Hactivism 101 423

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tread-softly dept.
Orome1 writes "While individual acts of hacktivism are inconvenient, something else happens when hacktivists group together — they commonly perform a DDoS attack. Techniques have advanced to automate the process, making the attacks more powerful and thus more able to bypass security controls — the effect, however, remains the same. Let us take a look at the recent Operation Payback which has gained notoriety in the past few months."
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Operation Payback and Hactivism 101

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  • Can we PLEASE.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Monday December 13, 2010 @09:53AM (#34534048)
    Stop calling it HACKtivism?

    Amongst nerds (which is pretty much whoever is following it on this site) - to 'hack' does not meant the same as 'to crack'.

    And calling DDOSing 'hacking' is wrong on both definitions of hack. Especially if the client is just a script kiddie using a program which s/he doesn't know (or care enough) to work out what its doing exactly.
    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Even if it was hacking the name is just stupid.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Yap, DDOSing is lame.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:14AM (#34534252)

      Amongst nerds (which is pretty much whoever is following it on this site) - to 'hack' does not meant the same as 'to crack'.

      You know, for many of us, we simply don't care about this whiny distinction between "hacking and cracking".

      It's stupid -- back in the day, you could hack some code, or you could hack into a system, or you could pull off a hack and hang a volkswagon from a bridge or make your calculator to something cool that nobody expect. We understood the difference between these things, and it was all one word.

      You whiny kids who think you "own" the language and have to be telling everybody the "right" want to say it are just fooling yourselves. Even in the nerd community you think you represent, for many of us "hack" still means exactly what you claim it doesn't. Hell, 2600 [2600.com] has been around since the 80's, and it's always been hacker -- it's got a shitload more street cred than you kids who think that it's always been differentiated. Anybody under 40 who is saying anything about what is "hack" and what is "crack" is too fucking young to know what they're talking about.

      It's all the same fucking thing -- "cracker" is a very recent word, and quite an arbitrary distinction which people tried to apply after the fact to make what they did sound less evil and dissociate itself from malicious break-in type stuff. Get over it.

      Now, STFU, and get off my fucking lawn.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday December 13, 2010 @09:57AM (#34534088)
    The DDOS Wikipedia Entry [wikipedia.org] is much more informative than this article, I would suggest reading it instead.
  • It is Not DDoS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Monday December 13, 2010 @09:57AM (#34534094)
    It is not DDoS or cyber-war it is cyber-picketing. It used to be that when you had a disagreement with a company people picked it and disrupted its business that way. Well, welcome to the 21 century you can now picket the business from the comfort of your own home.
    • Re:It is Not DDoS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:08AM (#34534190)

      It is not DDoS or cyber-war it is cyber-picketing.

      It used to be that when you had a disagreement with a company people picked it and disrupted its business that way. Well, welcome to the 21 century you can now picket the business from the comfort of your own home.

      Interesting. Though I loathe the "cyber" prefix... That doesn't seem like a completely inaccurate description. Hadn't thought of it that way.

      • I got into an argument about this is an earlier topic pointing out that it is also, strictly speaking, non-violent.

        it's dickish but it is different from most of the other various forms of attack, a DDoS doesn't involve actually breaking into any systems, it doesn't damage any property and it doesn't hurt anyone.

        In a sense it probably shouldn't be lumped in with most other forms of attack online which mostly involve breaking into the system in question or attempting to.

        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          Their targets have fat pipes the bandwidth of which these attackers probably can't really fathom, and thus their ability to limit service is somewhat limited. However, having worked in system/network administration positions where i've had to help colocated customers defend against attacks, I will tell you that smaller merchants or other online presences can easily be flooded by these attacks and that it does cost them money and time, and cost us lots of time trying to do our level best to keep them online

          • by stdarg (456557)

            Its not cute or funny, its not magically OK because its "for a good cause," etc.

            It doesn't have to be cute or funny if it's a good cause. When government stops sticking up for some group of people, the people start sticking up for themselves.

            I'm glad they are doing meaningful protests like taking the exact websites that they have problems with, and not trying to blow themselves up in Stockholm and take as many innocent people with them as possible.

            Just because its not the most direct or violent action they could take (some digital equivalent of breaking windows or throwing petrol bombs) doesn't make it OK.

            But the lesson being learned by new generations is that the government basically doesn't give a crap about you, and is only concerned when c

    • by pspahn (1175617)
      It's still a bit of both, as this DoS is preventing people from ignoring picketers. Forced boycott would maybe be more appropriate.
    • Re:It is Not DDoS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AlexiaDeath (1616055) on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:19AM (#34534302)
      Completely accurate definition. Calling simple request swamping hacking, cracking, cyber-war or any other alarmist title is bullshit. Nobody is breaking into the systems, they are simply utilized beyond their capacity to serve, and that happens because enough people band together to cause the disruption... Witch is in turn caused by company's actions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It is not DDoS or cyber-war it is cyber-picketing. It used to be that when you had a disagreement with a company people picked it and disrupted its business that way. Well, welcome to the 21 century you can now picket the business from the comfort of your own home.

      When you're picketing, staging a sit-in, etc you're putting yourself at some risk. At minimum, there's the risk of recognition, of having your name and face associated with your action. You're also taking some of your time and energy to do something that's of value to you.

      For a DDOS attack, you're anonymously pushing a "go" button. Quite possibly you're not even still at your computer while it runs. Woooo, there's a way to make a statement.

      The nature of the attack itself strips it of both credibil

    • It is not DDoS or cyber-war it is cyber-picketing.

      It used to be that when you had a disagreement with a company people picked it and disrupted its business that way. Well, welcome to the 21 century you can now picket the business from the comfort of your own home.

      Picketing is a public act. DDoS is not. There is an essential difference. The media orchestration that we have seen over the last few days around DDoD lend me to think me that if there are a few teenagers behind these attacks, they are manipulated by those who want to influence public opinion in the direction of a kill-switch as one poster has mentioned above, and in the direction of measures to rein in on the Internet.

      It is all too easy for provocateurs to do as they please, as these actions are anonymous.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      More like cyber-thuggery.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      It is not DDoS or cyber-war it is cyber-picketing. It used to be that when you had a disagreement with a company people picked it and disrupted its business that way.

      Bullshit.

      No picketer ever stopped someone from entering a store. Such an action would be an arrestable offence, as it would involve, at minimum, the physical assault of prospective customers, and probably trespass.

      The point of picketing isn't about physically preventing people from patronizing the business in question. It's to raise awarenes

    • Maybe a cyber-sit-in would be more accurate though. Generally picketers let people into the business, it's just that every potential customer has to walk through the picket line, get shouted at, read the signs, etc. Sit-ins actually attempt to block the business from servicing customers, they're also a bit more shady on the legal side (just like a DDoS). The sit-in analogy also has the benefit of reminding the participants that what they're doing may very well get them in trouble, people who did sit-ins

    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      I disagree. While picketing would slow down business, DDoS stops business altogether. To me, its the equivalent of standing in front of a store entrance and not allowing anyone in. Last I checked, you'd probably get arrested for that.
  • Next Target: (Score:2, Informative)

    by WiglyWorm (1139035)
    Whomever coined the word "Hactivism" has a DDoS with their name on it, as far as I'm concerned. Hate, hate, hate, that word. It's neither hacking nor activism.
    • A DDoS isn't hacking but it can be activism (and in this case I'd say it is). The "cyber-picketing" analogy is a good one: It's just the online equivalent of blocking people from entering a building to do business.

  • by MrShaggy (683273)

    DDos attack = slashdot Effect.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:21AM (#34534334) Homepage Journal

    As advocates of Democracy and transparency, let's break the law and act in secret to take down big companies, which in turn hurts small businesses who use these payment services. Let's also inconvenience random shoppers. Let's create all kinds of random collateral damage to make a point about supporting transparency by supporting a completely secretive organization.

    Sorry, I'm not buying it.

    I was just at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial and museum. One of the more interesting aspects of it was that the people motivated to bomb the federal building (and kill infants in the nursery) were upset at the government. They felt the most effective way to change the government was a terrorist attack. The two responsible were caught. One will serve life in prison while the other was executed. They didn't change government, but they did forfeit their lives.

    Conversely, families of vicitms banded together, formed a group and went to Washington D.C. to ask for reform in how the death penalty is handled in federal cases. They felt the best way to support Democracy and affect change was to use Democracy itself.

    That is such a novel concept.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by orphiuchus (1146483)
      These people don't have the attention span to actually do anything like that. They are just like the hippies who thought that sitting around, singing, and doing drugs instead of contributing to society would change things. Everybody wants a shortcut, the truth is that the best way to change things is through hard work within the system, only stepping out of it when that fails.
      • by NiceGeek (126629)

        That won't go over with them, all you'll hear is them complaining that the "system doesn't work" even though they don't put in the effort to make it work.

        • by Xelios (822510) on Monday December 13, 2010 @11:02AM (#34534828)
          Tens of thousands of students in the UK put in the effort to make it work recently. They were out in freezing temperatures, protesting against legislation that would triple the tuition cap in the country. What did it get them? A new law that triples the tuition cap in the country, and a broken election pledge from the Liberal Democrats.
          • by caladine (1290184)

            Protesting doesn't always work. It's not a novel concept. Doing things to break the law aren't going to get them what they want in this case either. You're not always going to get what you want, no matter how you try and get it.

            The reality of the situation is that UK's budget deficit in 2010 was almost 12% of GDP. Of course some things are going to get cut. I'm not sure why the students are so surprised. Budgets across the board in the UK are getting slashed. They can be pissed off all they want and protest

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Wow, you must really enjoy your job at Conglomo Marketing.
      Hurts small businesses... really. Are you telling me that people are so fickle that when they cant buy an item they say " screw it, I'm not buying it! Ohh look a different shiny! Gimmie gimmie new shiny!!!!!!"

      In reality they simply wait and buy it later, or contact he company and ask, "I cant buy your custom made beer goggle dispenser, what's up? I want to buy it."

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:51AM (#34534678)

      Only the public websites of Visa, Mastercard, et al. are being hit. The actual functionality of their payment system has been untouched.

      It's a slap in the face without disrupting their actual business.

    • by DogDude (805747) on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:52AM (#34534692) Homepage
      "They felt the best way to support Democracy and affect change was to use Democracy itself. That is such a novel concept."

      More than novel, it's incredibly naive. How do you propose that actual people (not corporations) influence their government in any way? How are regular people going to open up our horribly, horribly corrupt government? Politely vote in our Coke/Pepsi elections, and ask them to please tell us all of the illegal and immoral things they've been doing in our name with our tax dollars?
      • Reaching a government official and talking to them isn't nearly as impossible as you might imagine it is.

        I've talked to my Nebraska Representatives and Senators. I've also reached out to a State Senator to ask for Limited Liability laws to change.

        You suggest it is naive. Are you suggesting that Democracy is then broken and pointless? Then why bother fighting to try and preserve it in the first place?

        The people trying to take down api.paypal.com, visa.com, amazon.com, etc. were supposedly defending Democracy

        • Democracy isn't pointless, but the American implementation of it most certainly is broken.

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          The fact that you can TALK to one of your elected officials or one of their staffers doesn't mean they're listening. I've written hundreds of letters and e-mails and made dozens of phone calls to mine. I often get a response thanking me for my support of the position I was writing to them to oppose, or a polite "Thanks for sharing your opinion, I'll take it into consideration" response. Only ONCE in 20+ years of voting has a candidate of my choice been elected to national office, and that was a major cas

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        If you think ours is the epitome of corrupt you should see some of the other governments people have put up with.

        Corrupt? Yes. (Redundant question. All politics are corrupt at some level). Horribly, horribly corrupt? Only if you ignore all the actually horribly, horribly corrupt governments out there.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday December 13, 2010 @11:14AM (#34535006)
      When people lose faith in democracy, they turn to violence. Right now a lot of people, espicially online, feel that they live in a society where corporations rule and people are regarded as nothing more than the consumers and employees that fuel them. Unless people can feel that they matter - that the government really will seriously listen to them - this is just going to continue.
    • by Ragun (1885816) on Monday December 13, 2010 @11:21AM (#34535112)
      As advocates of Freedom and fairness, let's break the law and act in secret to take down the tea industry, which in turn hurts distributors who only transport tea. Let's also inconvenience random tea drinkers. Let's create all kinds of random collateral damage to make a point about supporting fairness by supporting the Boston Tea Party.*

      No one here would be OK with the taking of human life, true terrorism, but honestly, you almost have to cause collateral damage to be taken seriously.

      *No association with the modern conservative tea party.
      • Touche.

        I'd say the only difference here is that the Boston Tea Party was such a shocking act of rebellion and caused such a financial impact that it couldn't be ignored.

        The other difference is that the colonials didn't have much choice given that they lived under a monarch.

        We live in a Democracy/Republic. Here politicians pay close attention to Gallup polls. Here, leaders can be voted out of office. Here, a legal protest can affect change.

        Protesters who annoy and inconvenience me don't convince me to side w

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      As advocates of Democracy and transparency, let's break the law and act in secret to take down big companies, which in turn hurts small businesses who use these payment services. Let's also inconvenience random shoppers. Let's create all kinds of random collateral damage to make a point about supporting transparency by supporting a completely secretive organization.

      So in other words, let's use the tactics of the oppressors against them? The formulae for credit scores and insurance rates are the results of conspiracies to milk you of every possible dime, and they are closely-guarded secrets. These people don't care who they shit on in their quest for money, and the people who patronize them are Part Of The Problem. They actively aid the quest for money at the expense of all else.

      The rest of your entry is such blatant wanker propaganda it does not bear comment.

  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Monday December 13, 2010 @10:30AM (#34534396)

    I find it interesting that some people on Slashdot consider them "freedom fighters" of a sort, trying to preserve freedom of speech, when some of the same group have actively tried to interfere with Tumblr and Facebook merely because they didn't like the kind of people who posted on them.

    As someone upthread said, these aren't freedom fighters, they're thugs. Just because their targets at the moment include businesses you don't like, doesn't make them less so.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Why do you find it interesting?
      The same people talking about "freedom fighters" still have their Amazon wish lists, Visa and MasterCards sitting in their wallets, and are using PayPal to buy that limited edition anime they found on Ebay....
      It is simply typical arm chair protesters.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      "As someone upthread said, these aren't freedom fighters, they're thugs."

      I'm fine with calling them thugs, if we can come up with some more colorful names for our Government/Business overlords that secretly do illegal and immoral things with our money in our names. To say that we, the powerless people have to play by their rules that they write, and they selectively enforce, is absurd.
    • I find it interesting that some people on Slashdot consider them "freedom fighters" of a sort, trying to preserve freedom of speech, when some of the same group have actively tried to interfere with Tumblr and Facebook merely because they didn't like the kind of people who posted on them.

      As someone upthread said, these aren't freedom fighters, they're thugs. Just because their targets at the moment include businesses you don't like, doesn't make them less so.

      I'm not sure what to call them, exactly, but what's clear to me is that they have some power but are clueless in the application of that power to achieve their goals. If they can even articulate what their goals are.

      I don't believe for one second that any of the companies they targeted will consider the likeliness of a DDOS response as a decision criteria going forward.

  • But I would observe that while the millstones of Mastercard et al may grind slowly they grind exceedingly fine. As my old Lutheran school teacher used to tell us about other stuff...
  • Please. Making a DDoS with a simple program relates to Hacking like Kicking garbage cans out of frustration relates to making really good and creative political demonstrations.

    Even if i do not consider myself a hacker, i think think that the following rules apply for most hackers:

    a) Hacking is creative, finding interesting ways to do and know interesting things, and communicating them.

    b) If its used for a purpose, make sure the purpose harms nobody. Always try to be useful.

    c) don't make hacks available in a

  • I don't think the article had any more information than the summary. The article read like a middle school research project. The discussion on the topic is only slightly more interesting...

    I'm sure the kids on 4chan/b/ are enjoying the attention...until they find out the "hacking" kit they installed just uploaded all of dad's financial information.
  • Wikileaks did it to themselves.

    Instead to sticking to the leaking criminal activity or human rights violations, leaks decided to just release everything they were given without regard to consequences.

    They are now actually aiding countries like China and Saudi Arabia by exposing all the US information and opinions on them.

    Good job leaks.

  • Well it worked .... (Score:5, Informative)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday December 13, 2010 @11:24AM (#34535168) Homepage Journal
    At first paypal was blabbering that they cut wikileaks due to 'violation of tos', and there was no political pressure involved. (probably liebermann warned them to say that). A few days with anonymous, they came around to openly say that they did it due to political pressure. A few more days, they decided to release the wikileaks funds they were holding ...

    you cant say it didnt work.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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