An odd thing happened this week. At about the same time, on the same day, Wikileaks and Pirate Bay were the victims of DDoS attacks. It’s odd because these sites are usually considered friendly by hackers, who tend to go after governments and corporations they don’t like.
Why would Anonymous, the loosely knit group of hackers go after sites previously considered friendly? Well, it could be that the the group is splintering, and some members have to decided to go their own way.
According to a post on ZDNet, the attacks were the work of someone who goes by the name AnonNyre. This person bragged about the attacks and sent out a couple of hate-filled invectives to announce his or her work. It’s impossible to know if this is really the work of one individual or many, but it appears that there may be some serious splits in the hacker community (if any conclusions can truly be drawn from one day’s actions).
As we have seen over the last year, Anonymous or whoever it might be can take down sites with DDoS attacks almost at will. They usually do it as a form or retribution. For instance, at the end of 2010, they took down Visa after they felt it behaved wrongly in the wake of the WikiLeaks cable documents release, part of a series of attacks dubbed Operation Payback.
We have seen these groups go after law enforcement, even going so far as to hack a conference call between US and UK law enforcement officials to discuss Anonymous. Boy, was that embarrassing.
Just this week in fact, the main group known as Anonymous took down the Indian government as retribution for a crackdown on…wait for it…Pirate Bay. So you have one group of hackers punishing a site for censoring Pirate Bay and you have a rival taking down Pirate Bay itself.
What exactly is going on here?
Whatever it is, it seems no company, government or law enforcement web site is safe from attack and it’s got to be making many an IT Pro uncomfortable wondering if their company will be next.
We have a splinter group (or individual) calling out the mainstream group and it makes me wonder if this is the beginning of a hacker war of sorts. If the hackers are attacking each other, what does that mean for you?
It’s hard to say if that makes the world a safer place or less safe because even sites that were once considered off limits, no longer are. It likely leaves IT pros more insecure than ever.
If we do have a hacker war though, it’s going to get interesting out there. Is the enemy of your enemy your friend, or just another thing to worry about? That’s the question.