4Chan + Open Source Protest = ?

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Shlok Vaidya  -  

4Chan’s on a DDoS rampage:

Led by the users of the 4chan message boards, a coordinated and massive DDoS attack Friday and Saturday took down the websites of both the MPAA and the anti-BitTorrent AiPlex Software.

According to a flyer being distributed around the net, ‘Operation Payback‘ will now spread to another popular hate figure’s website. At 3pm Eastern today a new DDoS attack will be launched against the RIAA, but they won’t be the only targets. New information suggests that at the same time an attack will also be launched against the UK’s BPI.

Users can download and donate their processing power using a tool called the ‘Low Orbit Ion Cannon’, which has an interesting writeup:

LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) is an app, written in C# and developed by praetox that was exploited during Project Chanology to attack teh $cifags‘s many web sites. It attempts to DDoS the target site by bandwidth raeping, sending TCP, UDP, or HTTP requests to the site until its ass looks like goatse. It is also in the Dangerous Kitten tools pack.

WARNING: this will cause srs nerd rage and make asspies have meltdowns, which will result in episodes of bawwing. Use at your own risk.

The real question is: what is the impact of this strategy?

Like traditional mass protest, this has very little impact on the activities of the targets that 4chan has selected. How this works:

  • It does garner plenty of attention. (Defacing institutions has that effect.)
  • Shows the strength of the organization (X thousand people are using the LOIC).
  • Solidifies that social group. (We did something!)

However, this series of attacks had very little impact on the operations of the MPAA, or AiPlex, or RIAA.

A DDoS is, unless its targeting more critical backend servers – email, calendars, security (physical and non), etc – the attack is akin to graffiti on the the office building, or paint on the White House, or standing outside the court so no one can enter. (But leaving all the critical backdoors untouched.)

The parallels the plight of traditional mass protest as well. If the protest is to accomplish anything, it’s got to break the law, and transition into an insurgency-style organization. If this shift is mishandled, there’s a good chance the backlash will destroy the organization (or participants). A big part of this is gaining funding to get the snowball you need.

If its handled well…. you’re an insurgency.

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