Morning Wrap: Operation Payback

Thursday, December 09, 2010 - 11:31 AM

network cable, cat5e (Sascha/flickr)

This morning, we got a little window into the group that's attacked MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa servers from "Anonymous" member Gregg Housh. He says he didn't help in this attack, but did tell us how it all worked:

The people behind Operation Payback have come up with a fairly ingenious way to do it, where it’s as simple as downloading a small piece of software, entering one little web address into this software, and hitting a button — and you’ve joining what they’re calling a voluntary botnet. You don’t have to have any talent. You minimize the application and it’s sitting down in your system tray there, and you don’t even know it’s doing anything, and it’s off just joining in. And anytime they change their target, everyone who’s part of the voluntary botnet changes their target and goes after them.

That's the interesting part — how little skill all of this takes, at least at the mass level. "Anonymous" has hit many targets in the last 48 hours, and announced on Twitter this morning that they’ve attacked PayPal: "Once again, ANON DELIVERS! Current target: api.paypal.com. Port: 443. Status: DOWN!"

Sounds fierce, though most of our guests this morning thought the attacks fell into the category of prank instead of an actual, long-term threat. And Gregg also seemed to question the motives of the members of Anonymous altogether:

 “The only reason they’re doing it is the press keeps covering it and they need the media coverage to keep getting more members.”

As always, let us know what you think: Call 877-8-MY-TAKE, email us at mytake@thetakeaway.org, or reach us on Facebook.

A little taste of what people are saying on Facebook:

When I get all bollocksed-up with one of these seeming philosophical and ethical quandaries, I ask myself, "Self, what would the Central Intelligence Agency of my (our) United States of America do?" The answer then becomes obvious. (Brien)

Is it "OK"? Probably not. It is the reality of the day? Most certainly. Those that believe themselves "oppressed" believe it their right to fight with whatever weapon they might have. (Rusty)

Hacking is illegal. If you are hacking due to some cause - you should be willing to go to jail on principle, because of the illegal activity which draws attention to your cause. Protesters have done this through the ages - blocking parliament, throwing rocks, burning symbols, etc (Marko).

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