Anonymous Demands Recognition of DDoS as a Legal Form of Protest

We all know that how annoying DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is, and just how inconvenient it becomes to access a much-needed site. While we may cuss the people behind DDoS attacks, the renowned hacktivist Anonymous group is looking to get it a status of legal protest. According to them, DDoS is done to send a message to the affected party, which is why they’ve petitioned the Obama administration to recognize DDoS as a legal form of protest.

“It is, in that way, no different than any “occupy” protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.”

In the petition, the Anonymous group also demanded that anyone who has been jailed for participating in a DDoS attack should be immediately released, and anything related to the attack should be wiped from their criminal records.

“The person who wrote this petition for Anonymous seems to misunderstand the ethos of civil disobedience and freedom of speech,” says Kyt Dotson, HackANGLE editor. “Certainly we’ve seen numerous civil rights movements in the United States use civil disobedience–breaking the law in order to draw attention to bad laws–but breaking the law in of itself is not free speech under US law. Worse, the activities of Anonymous cross international boundaries into spaces where ‘freedom of speech’ doesn’t follow. Distributed Denial of Service attacks illegally co-ops shared networks in a fashion that denies other’s their own speech.

“As a group, Anonymous acts on an amorphous moral decision-making process that involves viral ideas and this one potentially caught on out of a sense that those taking part of these attacks are part of a civil rights activity–but those in Anonymous continuing to share this petition should know that part of civil disobedience is taking responsibility for illegal acts.”

It is quite common for the hactivist collective to carry out DDoS attacks, especially against U.S. financial institutions. Later last year, a UK based, Anonymous hacktivist affiliate–Fawkes Security took down the HSBC websites worldwide on via DDoS attacks. Not only this, the group also stated that they’ll keep targeting the other banks in future, giving the reason that it’s their fault that the worlds’ economics are so messed up. This was followed by taking down of websites of PayPal and Ministry of Sound with a huge volume of messages and requests. The entire act was carried out under the name Operation Payback, and caused losses worth more than £3.5m in revenge for the backlash against WikiLeaks and the founder Julian Assange.

Earlier in December, five U.S.-based banks, U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services Group, and SunTrust became a target of DDoS attacks. After that hacker group called Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters launched a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against these banks. The hackers also posted some message on Pastebin, reinforcing their commitment of more severe attacks.

As 2013 has started, the group is not ready to sit down silently. Recently, the hacktivist collective Anonymous posted an ominous warning, promising of many more cyberattacks to come in 2013. Possibly, this will include DDoS attacks, which is a crude method used by the group. So, looking at the entire scenario, it doesn’t look like Obama will give any response, unless the group manages to get 25,000 signatures.

About Isha Suri

Isha Suri is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE covering social news and security trends. If you have a story idea or news tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.