4chan-affiliated hacker group Anonymous has declared war on enemies of secret-sharing site Wikileaks. Internet war! Their first targets: PayPal, which won't facilitate donations to Wikileaks, and PostFinance, the Swiss bank that froze founder Julian Assange's accounts. Update: And Mastercard!
For all of the high-minded talk about censorship, information, and power, the publication of hundreds of classified diplomatic cables on secret-sharing site Wikileaks is also an act of very high-level trolling. So is it really any surprise that Anonymous, the vaguely-organized group of anti-Scientology troll-hacker-vigilantes known for hanging around the 4chan image boards, is striking out in his defense?
In their requisite self-serious flyer declaring "Operation Avenge Assange" ("We have a chance to fight in the first infowar ever fought," it reads), Anonymous tells itself: "PayPal is the enemy." (The flyer then lays out the rest of the hilariously earnest plan: Write letters to your congressman! Hold protests! Vote for Julian Assange in the "Time Person of the Year" poll!)
Unfortunately, PayPal might have been too much enemy for Anonymous. The main site doesn't seem to have been affected by the presumed DDoS attack (though the blog went down), and soldiers on facilitating eBay transactions and so forth.
But luckily for Anonymous, though, PayPal wasn't their only target. Another DDoS attack, this one aimed at the Swiss bank PostFinance, which froze Assange's assets, was very successful, and has kept the site down for some 24 hours as of this writing. Don't be down on yourselves, guys! One out of two ain't bad.
Of course, their attacks didn't come without counterattacks of their own: Anonymous' own site was reportedly the victim of an unsuccessful DDoS. But such are the wages of InfoWar, one supposes.
Assange, meanwhile, is still being detained by Britain, having been denied bail.
Update: Looks like they've improved to two-for-three! As of 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Mastercard's website has been down for at least two hours, presumably thanks to an Anonymous DDoS in response to Mastercard's refusal to process payments to Wikileaks. You can still use your card but, well, hope you didn't need to check your credit card bills today!
[Ars Technica, photo of Assange via AP]