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Anonymous in Tactical Protest Shift January 15, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.

Online protest group “Anonymous” have called for a global day of action on 15 January in defence of freedom of expression and attempts to close down Wikileaks, an amorphous organization based in Sweden that publishes anonymous leaks of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations, while preserving the anonymity of their sources.

The self-styled Web freedom fighters have in recent months staged some of the most stunning and audacious cyber-attacks yet seen on key corporate Web infrastructure, gaining notoriety for targeting Websites of companies it deems anti-Wikileaks.

A new video published to their central communications blog Anonops Communications calls for a series of offline protests:

The internet needs champions and we will rise…We are Anonymous and so are you. Stand up and fight. Every city, everywhere.


Details of the actual protests are hard to find because of the anonymous and loose-knit nature of the group, but the call for a real world protest signals a tactical change from the group’s distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS.)

In the DDOS carried out in support of Wikileaks, Anonymous members bombarded target websites with huge amounts of data in a bid to knock them offline. The targets were companies that had cut ties with whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

DDoS attacks are more akin to sit-in protests than cyberterrorism. While a real-world protest is a change in tactics for “Anonymous,” it’s not unfounded for the group, which has no real individual leadership save but for the prevalence of ideas that gain popularity online.

The US Department of Homeland Security has mentioned “Anonymous” among a list of groups they believed could fuel a “resurgence in radicalization.” However, an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report dismisses the risk of cyber war as over-hyped.

The OECD study says a vast majority of hi-tech attacks described as acts of cyber war do not deserve the name. Unlike pandemics and financial instability, trouble caused by cyber attacks is likely to be localised and short-lived.

Attempts to quantify potential damage that hi-tech attacks could cause and develop appropriate responses are hampered by the hyperbolic language used to describe these incidents. Under the heading of cyber weapons the report included viruses, worms, trojans, distributed-denial-of-service using botnets and unauthorised access to computers ie hacking.

Related read
Anonymous names Saturday a global day of protest to defend free speech
Anonymous urges global protests



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