Hacktivists Wage Cyberwar on Behalf of WikiLeaks

Friday, December 10, 2010


Hackers known collectively as "Anonymous" have been launching online attacks against the perceived enemies of WikiLeaks. Daily Beast writer Brian Ries explains who is behind Anonymous, who they're targeting, and how they are pulling off these attacks.

Comments [10]

blackbelt_jones from New York

Ben, I'm sorry, but if habitual lying in all directions is the fundamental basis of diplomacy, I'd say that the fundamental basis of diplomacy is already damaged, and badly. Maybe it's time for us to take a hard look at that.

I believe that the world needs to be saved, and what the world is doing now isn't doing that. I'm not convinced that injecting a bit of reality into the proceedings isn't going to have a beneficial effect on world diplomacy. Considering where we seem to be headed, I think we ought to be desperate enough to try it.

Dec. 13 2010 01:47 PM
Ben B

Consider that the ability to speak in different forms (public v. private v. to children v. with spouse) is a fundamental necessity of effective human communication. Some level of secrecy to separate public from non-public consultation is a basic requirement for diplomacy to function at all. Consider that diplomacy is one of human civilizations' best tools to resolve international disputes by means other than war. What does WikiLeaks do to our ability to use diplomacy? How is damaging the fundamental basis of diplomacy good for society?

Dec. 13 2010 09:04 AM
Marcel de Jong from The Netherlands

For what's it worth, the Dutch hacker community condemns the actions of the 16 year old Dutch boy who was arrested recently, with regards to the attack on Mastercard.
And instead they want to help him become a more ethical hacker.

DDOS-ing has very little to do with actual hacking anyway, all you have to do is press a button and a site goes down. That's not very hard, and is indeed illegal.

Now, on the flipside, what Visa, Mastercard, Amazon and Paypal have done, by booting Wikileaks (and supporting charities) from their systems is severely endangering freedom of speech.
All they heard from the State Department (according to a Paypal spokesperson) was that Wikileaks was doing something illegal (guilty until proven innocent?), and subsequently stopped any donations going to Wikileaks' supporting charity Wau Holland Foundation in Germany.

That is a US company that likes to portray itself as a bank, blocking a charity in another country, because of political pressure from the US State department.
That is a quite clear case of infringement of the universal freedom of speech.
And while I don't agree with the method that these "hackitvists" have been using (DDOS is also an infringement of someone's freedom of speech), I do agree with their sentiment.

The only way to combat bad speech, is better speech.

Dec. 13 2010 08:55 AM
Gregory Slater from CA


Consider the real transgressions against the American people before dutifully denouncing Wikileaks for doing the job that the American press claims it does, and should be doing, but has failed miserably at. Organizations such as Wikileaks arise spontaneously when governments operate behind a wall of secrecy and deceit toward their own citizens in making and carrying out policies that are against the wishes and interests of the people. Wikileaks is a consequence of a failed system. Don't kill the messenger.

Dec. 13 2010 12:10 AM
Gregory Slater from CA


- The United States had covered up a conclusion by US officials that the overthrow of the Honduran president was indeed clearly illegal, while claiming that the events were being studied.
- The US secretary of state ordered the gathering of personal data, credit card numbers, etc. from UN officials in violation of treaty.

5. Consider what is being defended here, by nearly the entire American press: a system of government based upon ubiquitous lying, deceit, betrayal, and secrecy. Our government, and our diplomats, are revealed by these documents to lie to and deceive not only our enemies, but our friends and allies, and above all, the American people! This is a completely corrupt system of government that astoundingly is being defended by the entire American press corps. And look at the results of this system of ubiquitous lying over the last ten years - our policies have been nearly uniformly disastrous.

Dec. 13 2010 12:06 AM
Gregory Slater from CA


3. Wikileaks does not solicit leaks but provides a means of releasing leaked documents.
4. Completely ignored in the near universal condemnation of Wikileaks and Assange by the American press and the Congress are the actual content of the documents, which reveal and confirm systematic lying by the US government. A sample:
- The US publicly and repeatedly denied carrying out covert attacks within Yemen when in fact they had. How can anyone assert that, with the United States still embroiled in two occupations, the American people have no right to know that their government is now engaged in yet more covert military action in yet another country?
- The military had (has?) a policy of ignoring on-going torture of detainees by the current US-backed Iraqi regime.

Dec. 13 2010 12:05 AM
Gregory Slater from CA


Before anyone reflexively condemns Wikileaks, or calls for the assassination of Assange, etc., they should at least make sure they have a clue as to what they are talking about. There are many points to be made:

1. Wikileaks is not 'indiscriminately dumping documents', as virtually the entire main stream media have continuously asserted. That is simply a lie. Instead, they have submitted the documents to several papers for selection and redaction, and then published the same documents published by these papers (and after that the entire worldwide media) with the reductions in place. They have so far released something like one thousand out of more than 200,000 documents - which is less than one percent.
2. As pointed out by OTM, every newspaper and news agency or Congressperson, or Hill staffer that publishes or discusses the documents should be subject to the same condemnation that is being urged upon Wikileaks.

Dec. 13 2010 12:03 AM
c woof from ca

Totally ditto Steve Kay.

Dec. 12 2010 07:20 PM
JAFO from About a mile outside the beltway

Steve Kay, I'm with you. You covered covered it!

Dec. 12 2010 10:44 AM
Steve Kay from Chicago, IL

I was dumbfounded by the segment on the hacktivists. The hacktivists are NOT attacking sites they disagree with! Nowhere in your report did you even state what opinions the corporations are defending that hacktivists are attacking. You could not state such opinions because that's not what this is about. This is about freedom of speech throughout the internet, and it's about the very nature of the World Wide Web.

The hacktivists are attacking large corporations which are acting in ways that endanger the ENTIRE WEB. The hacktivists are attacking the control of web content by giant financial-service corporations acting in collusion with the US government.

Has it not occurred to you at OTM (or anyone at the Daily Beast), that the censoring actions of Amazon, PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard (under the direction of the US governmet) could someday be directed toward the New York Times, The Daily Beast, or perhaps a small local weekly, or any number of small websites posting or reporting on leaked information? (If I.F. Stone were working today, for example, it's not hard to imagine that his work might be targeted.)

Most sites and media outlets would be destroyed if Visa & Mastercard & PayPal & Amazon all refused to process their financial transactions.

There is no hypocrisy in the hacktivist attacks. And this is not simply about Wikileaks.

So, while I support the actions by other hackers who are posting the leaked documents all over the web, those hackers are doing nothing to try to deter the government and financial-service corporations from shutting down speech on smaller websites and media services which lack the high profile, fame or notoriety of WikiLeaks.

I've listened to OTM for close to 10 years, and I've never been so disappointed in what I've heard on OTM as I am right now, in regard to this segment.

Dec. 10 2010 10:52 PM

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