Outage

Attacked by Anonymous: How to defend against a denial-of-service

Alfonso Barreiro witnessed an Anonymous-led attack firsthand. Here is a description of their primary weapons and the countermeasures that can be taken against them.

One of the reasons hacktivism has gained greater visibility recently is that it's now very easy to obtain and use attack tools, especially those that perform denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. The goal of hacktivists is usually to protest or promote a particular political issue, but these days anyone can become a target of theses types of attacks, even if it's "just for the lulz". I recently had the opportunity to witness a hacktivist DDoS attack (announced by Anonymous in advance) and here, I'll share the tools they used and some tips on how to defend against these types of incidents.

The attack tools

A denial of service attack is basically an attempt to negate access to a resource (usually a web server) to its users. A distributed denial of service attack involves multiple machines performing the attack in concert. There are many tools that can be used to launch DoS attacks, but let's just take a look of the most popular right now:

  • The Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) is perhaps the most well-known tool used by Anonymous and other hacktivists for performing DDoS attacks. The LOIC might have legitimate uses as a stress-testing tool but it became more widely used as a DoS tool. It's popularity led to the creation of a JavaScript version, enabling attacks from a web browser and allowing attackers to easily get their followers (or unwary visitors) to join the attack.
  • HPing is a command line utility similar to the ping command, but has many more advanced capabilities. It can be used to create huge amounts of TCP traffic and perhaps the most important characteristic for attackers is the ability to mask the source of an attack via spoofing.
  • Slowloris on the other hand, performs DoS attacks by making slow, partial HTTP requests, keeping IP sockets open on the server and eventually consuming all of its available network ports. This tool requires Perl and runs better on Linux, so it might not be a tool for regular users.

On their own, each of these tools can be an effective way of taking down web servers. An attack using a combination of these tools however, has the potential of being very powerful and difficult to stop.

As many would-be attackers have learned, a tool like the LOIC does nothing to protect the identity of the source of the attack. Anonymous promotes the use of VPN services as a way to cover the true source of the attacks. This might no longer be the best way to cover their tracks; the arrest of an alleged LulzSec member shows that VPN service providers (like the one he used, HideMyAss.com) can and will turn over log data to the authorities.

The countermeasures

Organizations have to be ready to face possible DoS attacks. Here are some basic strategies that can be used to defend against an attack:

  • Configure your routers and firewalls to stop invalid IP addresses and filter out protocols that are not needed. Some firewalls and routers include features to prevent TCP/UDP floods. Also, make sure that logging is enabled in all your devices and that you can reliably examine them to identify attacks and if needed, turn them over to law enforcement authorities.
  • An intrusion-detection/prevention system (IDS/IPS) can detect the misuse of valid protocols as attack vectors. Depending on the products and your network configuration, it's possible to automatically block the attack traffic.
  • Get help from your provider. This way, attack traffic can be blocked closer to its source before it can clog your organization's bandwidth.
  • You should have an incident response plan in place and be ready to activate it. If an attack comes, everyone should know how to respond and who to contact both inside and outside the organization (law enforcement for instance).
  • Ensure that you have means of communicating with your users and/or customers. Be as honest and forthcoming as you can about the incident.

You must also be aware of some issues that can derail your defense strategies:

  • Make sure you've taken the time to properly tune your IDS/IPS and that its detection signatures are up to date. If you can't trust its detections (either because you get too many false positives or false negatives) you will not be able to rely on it to help you block an attack.
  • You need to be clear on your provider's terms of service and support levels. If an attack occurs outside regular business hours, it's possible that your support will be a voice-mail inbox or a ticketing system with a 24-hour waiting period. Ideally, you should have access to emergency support personnel that have the expertise and/or authority to help you.
  • Timely and open communications are extremely important. For instance, in larger organizations it's possible that authority over different components such as routers and firewalls lie within different groups, and the last thing an organization needs when dealing with an attack is to delay its responses because of internal "walls".
  • Communication with other units in the organization (HR, Legal, etc.) must not be underestimated. It's not unusual for the media to contact someone from the affected organization and having your CEO caught unaware or clueless could potentially damage your organization's image even more than the incident itself.

The fallout

The events that triggered the "protest" that I observed were already heavily covered by the media, so for this group of "Anonymous" hacktivists, the obvious result of the attack was publicity for themselves. After a few hours, they were apparently successful in knocking down one target site and slowing access to two or three other sites.

Only time will tell if this attack might have other, more serious consequences for those involved.

About

I am a technology specialist with over 10 years of experience performing a variety of corporate IT functions, including desktop and server operations, application development, and database administration. My latest role is in information security, fo...

39 comments
Netlord69
Netlord69

Their problem is they are angry because they feel mommy and daddy did not pay enough attention to them as children and they have discovered a way to become a PITA to anyone that makes them upset or angry and they have decided they are too old to sit in the corner and suck their thumbs, so they lash out. When they mature they will find themselves in jail, on Prozac, commit suicide or realize the things they have done just did not accomplish anything of any value.

uphadmin
uphadmin

Cloudflare provides enterprise-class DDOS attack blocking to everyone. Although not recommended for users with multiple webs, if you are a small business, it's recommended.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Another option would be to choose not to behave in the sort of unethical manner that attracts the attention of Anonymous. Claiming you provide "anonymity" when you don't (especially given the fact that some of their customers are using it to avoid persecution by oppressive government regimes who might kill them) is clearly unethical, and the sort of cynical capitalism-at-all-costs that draws the ire of the anons. Here's a thought: Put your customers lives ahead of your profit by admitting it isn't really anonymity they're selling.

Bo Tym
Bo Tym

the fact that mainstream media paints such a negative picture about Anonymous. Pressure from investers I would assume to be the leading cause of nagative press. More people should educate themselves before deciding they are a criminal organization. They are admittedly vigilante in thier methods, but so was Batman. Batman was a "Super Hero"....OpDarknet was a golden example of MSM propaganda. Anonymous restricts credit card payments from a kiddie porn site and MSM makes the report out to sound like Anon "hacked" visa and mastercard, "potentailly comprimising thier clients personal info" (CEO didn't like his kiddie porn server going down?).... not to mention Anonymous is non-profit... as a parent of 5, I greatly appreciate thier actions in regards to lolita city and others, even if thier methods aren't "PC". Anonymous = Batman, all-time greatest super hero. As far as the attack you witnessed firsthand, can you give us more details(w5)? They gave forewarning of thier attack? So they didn't sucker-punch thier victim, they (honorably) gave them fair warning.

Slayer_
Slayer_

The key issue is still bandwidth, even if your firewall rejects every incoming packet, it still used up bandwidth doing so, and will still DoS you.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

Why is Hidemyass marketing a service that they don't really provide. These company's who bury these things in fine print should have to answer to that. Like why are they logging information on paying customers whom they are promising real anonymity to. If they don't really provide anonymity that's fine but it should be made abundantly clear in their advertisement. So if your life depends on anonymity and you use Hidemyass you will certainly die.

bboyd
bboyd

Gamers, Sports Fans, Poets, Politicians and any of a multitude of other activities. They involve themselves in a community and do what they do. Unfortunately each group is weighed on the actions of its individual extremists. How about i turn this around and stereotype you based on a readily observable fact, "Netlord69" does in fact sound like the name a young script kiddy in the anonymous legion. Please don't take that too negatively, not intended to be derogatory. But stereotypes form for real reasons or are learned from our mentors and peers. I understand you're a reasonable individual, where others may look at the name and assume you have the opposite viewpoint than what you espouse.

dcolbert
dcolbert

That isn't liberty, that is fascism. I hate it when this option gets invoked as a defense for the actions and activities of Anonymous. "Behave the way they want you to behave, and they won't bother with you. Act up, and expect their wrath". That doesn't sound like a very benevolent future, to me. It sounds dystopian. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of a group of anonymous, idealistic hackers operating as a digital Judge Dredd acting as police, jury, judge and executioner. Especially when sometimes aligned with less disciplined and/or principled groups like Lulzsec. It is a very difficult challenge. Are Anonymous defenders of freedom or as big of a danger as the forces they claim to fight against? How many times have there been revolutions where they revolutionaries turned out to be as bad if not worse than whatever system they overthrew - once they were in power? The devil you know versus the devil you don't know - in this case. I know what kind of abuse I can expect from the powers-that-be in the status quo as it exists today. What kind of world would it be if Anonymous achieved their end goals? Would it be better? Or worse. I don't want to be told, "behave, and you won't have any problems with us". I want to be told, "This is how our principles and values are superior to the oppression we're fighting against" - and be able to believe it. If the threat of becoming a target keeps me in line, I have trouble believing in the integrity of the motivation of the group. Anonymous wields enormous power as a collective group. How responsibly will they manage that power?

Netlord69
Netlord69

For someone that talks about people needing to become educated you need to learn to spell and while you are at it, pull your head out of your fourth point of contact and come to the world or reality. Living in a world of comic book super heroes could cause injury when you read the next edition of Superman and jump off your garage with a towel around your neck as a cape so you can fly. WAKE-UP!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Only problem with that analogy is that Batman is Fictitious and not real. Anon is very real and no matter what their motives their actions are very counterproductive. I can't disagree with the reports of Anon's activities but can only say that the places who report in this way are opening themselves up to attack from Anon if they upset them too much. OH and just in case you don't get it if Batman was real he would be being chased by every Police Officer in Town not to mention the Social Workers for placing his Ward in Danger and encouraging him into a life of Crime. So not only would he end up in jail but very likely on the Sexual Offenders Registry for placing Minors in Jeopardy. Col

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Ideally you would be in a position to identify and drop/reject this traffic at your boundary router. I agree there is a limit to the effectiveness of this, but it is worth doing because it requires the attacker to generate significantly more traffic than they'd have to if you just did nothing, requiring the attacker to compromise more zombie systems to actually arrive at a level of traffic that actually denies access to the service.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

While it will not stop any DDoS Attack against you it will conceivably stop your equipment being used to host that Attack against others. You need to remove your system from the mix to prevent it being used by others for their own purposes which isn't always easy when you are looking after the hardware for a Big Business. ;) Col

bboyd
bboyd

Stop telling people the plain truth, they can't bury their head in the sand. /smirk On a side note if your company isn't doing the things listed, they have worse problems than DoS attacks.

mikef12
mikef12

Because business runs on bullsht, not oil.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Ok... there may be something worth pursuing here. Is the leadership of Anonymous organized, in control, and disciplined and ethical? Or is it a free-for-all where immature script kiddies might act irresponsibly and cause terrible damage to society in the process? I'm not worried about gamers, sports-fans, or poets behaving this way. If we were considering electing a 16 year old emotionally unstable kid with very unsophisticated world-views as the President, though... yeah... politicians, we want some maturity there. But I don't have any insight into how Anonymous picks their talents, or who keeps them in check, or if they even can. Anonymous is wielding tremendous power. Are the going to do so responsibly?

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Anonymous exists because traditional power structures have failed to police the behavior of same power structures, so trying to claim that the "devil you know" will deal with the problem is to willfully ignore the problem. Because the "devil we know" has been utterly captured and has utterly failed and/or refused to enforce the law and rein in the bad-behavior. I agree: Anonymous is a sub-optimal means of getting business people to follow a moral code--but the idealized method you were taught in 8th grade civics class (where corporate executives could be arrested for the illegal actions of their company) has utterly failed to do so, and has failed spectacularly for decades. Against that backdrop, the existence of anonymous should hardly surprise anyone: The government has refused to stop the sleaze-fest--eventually, people get sick of the abuse and take action. Is it ideal? Nope. Is it suprising? Also nope.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Let's say that a member of Anonymous is offended by the opinions of a writer here on Tech Republic who makes posts they don't agree with. So they decide to get the collective together and target that writer. They dig, and dig, and the turn up something. A DUI, a drug conviction, that the writer got in trouble for plagiarism while majoring in Journalism. Something the writer didn't even remember - may have overlooked disclosing. They "OUT" this writer, and he or she loses their job and their credibility. Suddenly every OTHER writer for every other media outlet starts considering what kind of dirt they might have in their history that Anonymous might discover and publish if they attract negative attention from Anonymous. The answer then is, "Don't be a journalist unless you're also, literally a saint"? How many writers are *already* hesitant about writing about Anonymous because of concerns like this? What does that do to affect freedom of the press? And it isn't just professional writers that have to consider this. What if you provoke a member of Anonymous because of what you post on a public forum that leans left, or right, or discusses religion, or any other hot-button topic people like to argue about on the Internet? Better not be having an affair on your wife, or embezzling money from your office, or having a friend import Cuban cigars for you, or have multiple DUIs, or be behind on your child support, or have bad credit, or... Maybe it is just safer not to voice your opinion. Be quiet, stay off the radar. Either that, or be perfect. "If you don't do anything to upset Anonymous, you have nothing to fear".

MeijerTSR
MeijerTSR

So going by this train of thought, no law should ever be written and enforced? Laws tell us and warn us to behave. What you are proposing is, if I remember correctly, Chaotic Freedom which of course is anarchy. So tell me, how safe are you going to feel living in total anarchy? Should Anon be acting as a vigilante? Maybe, maybe, maybe, they like me, do not know the best course of action to take. Is doing the wrong thing worse than doing nothing? Seems to be their mode of operation. I personally cannot condemn them, for that has been my mode of operation on occasion.

Bo Tym
Bo Tym

The devil you know is slowly erroding your rights. Sure sounds like a secure future to me. The subject on bbyod's post sums it up.

bboyd
bboyd

"behave, and you won't have any problems with us". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate "According to a US Department of Justice report published in 2006, over 7.2 million people were at that time in prison, on probation, or on parole. That means roughly 1 in every 32 Americans are held by the justice system" They have learned well from the government that actively interfering with lives produces results. like earns like.

Bo Tym
Bo Tym

I don't even read comic books, but I get the gist of Batman, which, unfortunately due to my horrible spelling and grammar, you failed to catch. Read again friend. "More people should educate themselves before deciding they are a criminal" I mentioned educating oneself about Anon. nice troll tho ;-D P.S. The first sentance is a run-on, and the final sentance didn't begin with a capital. nananananananana

Bo Tym
Bo Tym

Batman's Ideoligy is in line with Anonymous'. His ideals, and his morals are in the right place, even if his methods leave something to be desired. The Gotham city officials hated Batman. Why? He was ridding Gotham of crime. Thats why. Those politicians, just like ours, in our "real world" are corrupt, unethical, and through criminal or negligent practises, putting themselves ahead of the "99%". HAL, I appreciate you pointing out the fact that Batman is ficticious, thank you very much for that, but clearly you missed the point of my post. I can understand why, however, as my post was slightly off-topic. tom.marsh said; "Another option would be to choose not to behave in the sort of unethical manner that attracts the attention of Anonymous." Right to the point. Anon = Batman in the sense that neither can completely eliminate evil, although they sure do make them think twice about thier behavior.

bboyd
bboyd

This mob-rule problem are ones involving even worse offenses of police states, loss pf privacy and oligarchical reinforcement. That said, maybe a technocracy is the real solution. Just not one I can stomach. "a representative polity established on fundamental law, each person has the right to pursue and fulfill his or her unobtrusive vision of the good life. In such a society, the common good is the cumulative product of free and equal individuals who pursue meaningful aims."

dcolbert
dcolbert

That is part of the problem. There is no leadership, there is no accountability. Anyone who has taken their general ed should have come across the term, "The tyranny of the majority" - as a reference to the abuse of democratic principles. Anonymous threatens to enable the tyranny of the minority - a few skilled, talented individuals with their own agenda who can cause havoc within society. The potential for things to get messy is enormous - and that is my concern.

bboyd
bboyd

Every time that an individual espousing the "anonymous" cause hears the Group anonymous referred to as having leadership or goals. These are anonymous individuals, not members of, Anonymous, some nefarious multinational terrorist organization. Asking if they use the power responsibly is like asking if a senator in a back room deal is doing so. Both are individuals but one is in a group of Anonymous and the other Senators. Using the same paradigm I would start referring to this horrible group called the "Senators" confusing and controlling the public opinion until anyone who wanted to run for office is instantly vilified. If the members of lulzsec formed a cult of personality and got thousands of others to lend them computer resources, that's not Anonymous and probably not anonymous either. The reality of the situation is that they are people posting in forums using the user name "anonymous", no way to tell how many people they are or who they are therefore they can spout things like "we are legion" and "we never forget" in a meta-conceptual way they are right.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Because it exposes the fundamental, cement-truck-sized hole in your line of reasoning. You explicitly said you're prefer the "Devil you know" deal with the problem--which I believe you meant that to be "government." If I'm misunderstanding you, please elaborate on your intended meaning. But if you did mean government, then that's ludicrous. If government could un-corrupt itself, it would. We're at the point where demands, massive protests, and public pressure through the exposure of secrets are our only option left. Second, you moved on to accusing me of "Defending" anonymous. I did nothing of the sort: I said it was an unsurprising result of a corrupt, useless government making zero effort to contain the problem itself. That != defense. In fact, I don't agree with many of their tactics either, but I recognize what they are isn't some organized "group" that you can find the "leaders of" and "stop." Good luck with that: It's not a group with a leader, its a collective with voluntary membership by individuals free to pursue any goal or agenda or issue they choose to. Some deal with issues that should be dealt with, others don't. Some embrace reasonable and moral tactics, others do not. In other words, Anonymous operates just like the rest of society: Some do good things, some do bad tings. Third, I don't know what you're vision of "dystopia" would look like--A government that holds farcical elections every few years and pits the public off against each other over meaningless trivialities like "Abortion" and "the national debt," and "class warfare" and constantly expands its powers in order to "protect us" from "terrorists" and actually operates on an agenda dictated by behind the scenes string-pullers. ...How much worse does it have to get before you open your eyes and realize your safe, suburban "prosperity" lasts only as long as your salary doesn't get in the way of somebody's bonus going up by another $1 million? And if it does, those same interests are dismantling the safety net you might need to keep your family fed, clothed, and housed while you find a new job? And that millions of people have already been essentially ejected from the workforce as "too expensive" mainly because their employers preferred to hire workers in countries that allowed them to treat employees like slaves, lock them in dormitories, and pay them $100 per week for 60 hours of work. Finally, you're the only person presenting a false dichotomy here: I never said the "only choices" are anonymous or the status quo--you did. You implied that any civil disobedience actions undertaken outside the government's authority are somehow immoral or not beneficial. ...yet that position utterly ignores the history of our country. Civil disobedience is how we learned about the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA after 9/11. In all cases, a whistle blower chose to break the law to expose actions (many of them crimes) that elites would have preferred were hushed up, and did so at great person risk to their own life and liberty, since exposing the crimes of the government often involves releasing arbitrarily "classified" documents. Do some people who engage in civil disobedience do so in manners that aren't constructive? Of course they do. Does that mean we should abandon civil disobedience in the face of a corrupt, inactive government that refuses to police the worst offenders in our society because they hand over millions of dollars per year in campaign donations (i.e. bribes?) I say, no. Don't forget: One of the founding events of our kinda'-free country started when our forefathers boarded ships owned by somebody else, beat the shit out of the watchmen, and threw all the cargo into the harbor. They committed battery and vandalism in the name of liberty. I fail to see a difference: Certainly the owners of those ships could have made the same emotional, impassioned arguments about how the owner's kids wouldn't be getting any gifts this Christmas because of the Boston Tea Party, too. About how a band of "vigilantes" damaging their tea shipment were the first step to anarchy. Does that mean they shouldn't have done it?

dcolbert
dcolbert

You're stuck on this "Devil you do know" analogy and you won't let it go. In your reality, it seems that we live in a dystopian world where an omnipresent dark cabal of elites own the government and infringe on liberties so ruthlessly that underground cyber-hacker collectives rise up to fight the injustice by dismantling the system through electronic warfare. The world you describe sounds like fiction. Like a video game, or a movie. All the evil elites in Capitol City versus a few rag-tag freedom fighters staring at green screens in the decaying slums of the proletariat class. You're implying that my eyes are closed, that I'm a blue-pill, that I'm not "awake". "the only difference between us seems to be that I recognize it and you don't." So I'm a copper-top, but you have a clear vision of the reality behind the matrix, huh? "The problem, then, is that the "system" (you know, the "devil-you-know") is designed to prevent changes that make it fair to regular people." I come from a background of crushing poverty. I grew up in a rental duplex on welfare, a step above Eminem's trailer park. When I got my act together and applied myself and worked hard and got a couple of lucky breaks, I was able to break that "cycle" and the "system" did not prevent me from doing so. That isn't the sign of a rigid class system that doesn't allow mobility, that is "designed to prevent changes that make it fair to regular people". The evidence may be anecdotal - but you haven't established anything to support your opinion that the game is rigged. I've established that it *can* allow class mobility - that the system is not designed to make it unfair to regular people. I'm regular people. It has given me a fair chance - and I took it. But you're right, I do have a horse in the race. Myself. My family. Our future. Our personal accountability for our success or failure in carving out what I see as a successful, comfortable life. Here is the real truth of this whole debate, though. You've taken it off the rails and mired it down in this singular focus on *one statement* of mine, the "devil you know" analogy. You're welcome to your ideological perspective and you're entitled to have a difference of opinion on me regarding these topics. But what you see as your realization of a truth I fail to see, I see as you justifying behavior based on your radical and extreme political and social ideologies. If I used some sort of threat or intimidation to silence your opinion, I'd cross immediately over into being absolutely *wrong*. Regardless of how torn from a graphic novel your opinions are, you're entitled to believe what you believe. That has been my point here the entire time. Anonymous must be able to accept criticism and respect divergent opinion and ideology. This isn't about what justifies Anonymous and their actions or not. This isn't an either/or statement between regular society and Anonymous. You've created a false dichotomy here. This is about how Anonymous acts and behaves and what that says about their organization. It is about how Anonymous handles the ethics of their power responsibly, or not. It isn't about if they deserve to exist or not, if they're a response to injustice or not. It is about how they conduct themselves - because they DO exist, and they've already been clumsy with how they wield the responsibility of their collective power - in a way that has potentially chilling impact on individual liberties... in a way just as potentially unfair to the average man as anything this sinister government has perpetuated on society. When people are checking their actions and opinions because they fear the far-reaching power of a corrupt government, something is wrong. When people are checking their actions and opinions because they fear the far-reaching power of a group of revolutionaries, something is wrong also. Neither case is justified by the existence of the other. These wrongs exist independently of the cause.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

I'm not trying to cast you as "for" or "against" anything, merely pointing out the absurdity of letting "the devil you know" handle a problem it is clearly incapable of solving because it is, itself, a part of the problem. Further, if it were capable of solving this particular, systemic problem, don't you think it might have done so during the last 40 years or so? The problem, then, is that the "system" (you know, the "devil-you-know") is designed to prevent changes that make it fair to regular people. Whether you recognize it or not, to stick to "the devil you know" is, inherently, a decision to support the status quo. That doesn't make you "for" or "against" anything, necessarily--but don't kid yourself about "not having a horse in the race." You've got one in it too, the only difference between us seems to be that I recognize it and you don't. You still haven't figured out that, whether some anons behave distastefully or not, their very existence indicates a failure of government. People don't just jump straight to "vigilante justice," they have to be beaten down enough times where the law was "powerless" to help them, and even then may not turn to vigilantism until the absolute last straw is reached. What you're seeing, with the parks full of unemployed 20-somethings, with the anons breaking into system after system to expose secrets, is the (predictable) end result of all of it. Don't want anonymous harrassing russian teenagers? Me neither: I also don't want collateral deaths in wars of choice. Know how you stop both? The same way: Elect ethical governments that don't support oligarchy or wars of choice and groups like anonymous will simply cease to exist because there will be no need for them.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Ever play Red Dead Redemption? It is amazing how your rhetoric sounds so much like the rhetoric of the Abraham Reyes character from that game. It is all very passionate, inspiring stuff that gets the blood wanting to boil with indignation. They took that scenario for the game as a page out of history. I'm a decent person of the most modest of initial resources, and I've managed to carve out a good life for myself in what you see as a hopelessly corrupt system stacked against the common man. The scandals and corruptions of the last decade set me back a little, but not as bad as many other people. That was in part because I made good decisions where lots of other people made bad decisions. The failures of our economy are not solely the fault of our leaders. There is individual accountability and responsibility as well. Your rhetoric looks for a single entity or group to label as responsible for the failures we face, but avoids any self-accountability in the process. It is the dogma of rebellion, and it should be considered with as much skepticism as the promises of "change" from the powerful elite. There are other agendas behind both messages. You've made it clear where your sympathies lie, and you've tried to turn me into a "with us or against us" example - which clearly isn't the case. I trust neither side. My bias is in my own best interest. You seem to have a horse in this race. I'm skeptical of anything that sounds so much like propaganda. For the record, I haven't voted in the last two Presidential elections or the most recent Presidential primaries - as a show of no-confidence in the current state of our two party political system. You want a real plan for change? If we ever had an election that had less say a 35% total turnout it would call the confidence of our political system into global question. It would completely and absolutely undermine the legitimacy of the American Democratic process. Instead, people fall for this silly "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain" rhetoric. An historic event of this magnitude would force the system to pay attention. You can effectively protest a corrupt system without exposing the personal information of police officers, rural Russian girls, and corrupt businesses and businessmen or politicians.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

The devil you know has given you $4.50/gallon gas, about $2 of which is caused directly by (totally legal) naked speculation. They've given you "too big to fail" banks so riddled with corruption that even when they're caught nakedly defrauding customers, business partners, and the government they still aren't forced out of business. They've given you pointless, expensive, bloody wars waged on a basis of lies, racking up trillions of dollars in debt because the devil we know didn't want to postpone tax cuts for the wealthy until after the war. The devil you know has stacked the deck so high against justice for decent people that a group of vigilantes felt the need to take up the mantle. When you see vigilantes, you should perceive that as a failure to exercise authority by those who've already been empowered. To put it another way, the government's failure to prosecute, punish, and rein in corporate criminals led directly to the formation of hacktivist groups like Anonymous. Yep, that's right: The devil you know brought you them too.

dcolbert
dcolbert

But that doesn't make me exactly enthusiastic to embrace the escalation of methods being used to combat the problems that are in place. I didn't say the "devil I know" will deal with the problem. At least, that wasn't my intent. I am saying that the devil I know, so far, has given me a pretty stable society that I'm not doing too badly in - which worries me about what the alternative is if things keep heading the direction they're going. I'm worried about the collateral damage that this situation causes. I think that is a perfectly reasonable and rational concern. In a revolution, a lot of peasants get caught between the federal forces and the revolutionaries when all the want to do is be left alone and ignored. Frequently, the tactics and methods of the revolutionaries are just as brutal and ruthless as the corruption they intend to overthrow. You may want to join the Rebellion. The people who own the corporations may be the Empire. Maybe I just want to be a moisture farmer on a twin-sunned planet that *doesn't* get turned into a BBQ by the Stormtroopers searching for some missing Droids.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think your last paragraph sums it up. Dirty tactics are winning the day - and maybe there is evidence that we go through cycles of this. We may be entering the start of a very difficult time for humanity.

bboyd
bboyd

Although the do it lopsided, depending on the agenda they run. Look at the Rupert Murdock case in the UK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hacking_scandal "Industrial Scale Phone Hacking" Or Herman Cain in the US http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Cain_presidential_campaign,_2012#Sexual_misconduct_accusations Funny how all the accusations are going no where no that he is not running. All in all it get a feeling that governments, the press and even private groups are getting more and more fascist and totalitarian. Fighting for freedom on any front is stained by using the enemies tactics.

dcolbert
dcolbert

At this point, sure. A tooth-ache is a pittance compared to a lot of other issues you may encounter. But untreated, that tooth-ache can become a deadly infection. You become so blinded to the shortcomings of the State that you don't pay attention to a looming problem that may be worse. Is your argument that we shouldn't consider hypothetical directions because we've got bigger fish to fry? Despite some serious and growing issues with our current system, it still allows more freedom to more of society than *any* other system that came before it. I've said this a thousand times, I'd rather be a MicroSerf for Duke Gates of Redmond than a feudal serf or peasant at any other time in history. I suppose we could argue that at times between 1776 and the late 1800s people in America were among the most free of any people who ever lived, especially if they were living in the American frontier. They had little or no interference from the Federal Government and were free to carve out their own life. It may have been more liberty, but it was also a much harder life. We've sacrificed certain liberties for comfort (cue someone quoting Ben Franklin in 3, 2...) but despite Mr. Franklin's sound-bite on this topic, there is a balance to be struck between absolute liberty and convenience and security. I'm not blind to the increasing problems with our society. I'd like to see those issues addressed. I think we have a framework that can work to establish and address those problems and fix them. Maybe I'm an optimist in that regard - but I think overall, it is a pretty good system we've got that has served us well as one of the longest survived Democratic Republics of history. Many who sympathize with the "Anonymous" movement do not agree, and would like to see that baby thrown out with the bathwater. When that is their perspective, with the methods they've been willing to engage in so far, I have strong reservations about them growing their power and influence, evolving their methods and tactics, or otherwise expanding their theater of operations beyond the "mere pittances" that they've executed so far. That seems prudent, not a collection of straw-men and hypothetical situations. I don't want to live through Anonymous becoming a Cyber-IRA before they evolve into a domestic Sinn Fein. During the height of the IRA's most active period of violent political activism, many innocent people became collateral damage - and the IRA frequently operated with methods as non-surgical and brutal, if not worse, than the British. Find me any example of a conflict of this sort, and you can almost inevitably change the names of the conflicting parties in the above paragraph and still have this work. Anonymous is the seed of a politically revolutionary movement. Just because their methods are different than any we have ever seen before, doesn't make that any less true. At some point, a system is so far gone that this becomes the only method for change. I have hope that our system has not reached that tipping point.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Since I've already acknowledged that anonymous is a sub-optimal means of forcing accountability on Wall Street and our government, I'm not going to do so again. My overall point is that if you see Anonymous as being "worse" than the devil you know then I think its because you may not actually "know" as much about the "devil you know" as you think you do. Because when honestly compared to the handy-work of the "devil we know," the damages caused by anonymous are a pittance.

dcolbert
dcolbert

MeijerTSR, I'm not sure who you are responding to - the two responses to me or my original response. That is really part of the problem here. Your response could easily be to *either* side of the argument we're seeing here - and without directly addressing who you are responding to, it isn't clear at all. Which is the problem. A lack of clarity, of checks, of accountability, of consistency. Is Anonymous a purely political reactionary group? I'd feel much more comfortable with that. On the other hand, they've attacked global social issues they disagree with on an *individual* basis. Some of their more disturbing actions: Publishing all of the contact information of a rural Russian girl who threw puppies into a river - exposing her to death threats from all over the world. Publishing all of the contact information of a parent who ran an eBay auction for Beyblade toys featuring a picture of her crying children who had destroyed the family bath-tub with the toys. The parent received death-threats, shut down their Facebook page, changed their phone number, and Anonymous tracked the parent down again and released all of their new contact information. Releasing personally compromising information on law enforcement officials, including private e-mails between girlfriends, wives and other family members, including personally identifying information including phone numbers and residence addresses. I dated a girl in high school. One Christmas, we were sitting on her couch, and I looked up, and there was a picture of a guy in a military uniform with a *swastika* on his cap. I was shocked and a little offended. The girl told her mother. Her mother was deeply embarrassed, and insisted on talking to me about it. Her father, my girlfriend's "umpa" - was a German foot soldier. He built bridges. He died when he fell off a bridge. He never saw combat against Allied troops. The idea of displaying a picture of a solider with a Swastika over your mantle when you live in America is a questionable one - I'll admit. But what we see on the surface also isn't necessarily the full story. In fact, even if this was just a cover story, we live in a place where you are free to be a Nazi sympathizer, or a communist sympathizer, or almost any other ideology you believe in - and that is part of the STRENGTH of our ideals. It has always troubled me on a certain level that it is ILLEGAL in Germany to possess Nazi paraphernalia. This is not because I am a Nazi sympathizer, but because I don't think prohibitions on thought, regardless of how offensive that thought is, work. But if a group exists that can disagree with your sympathies and stifle free speech through fear - that disrupts democracy. I wouldn't support the federal government pushing an agenda of a "red scare" or McCarthyism. How is it different if the threat comes from the FBI, or from Anonymous? I've suggested this hypothetical question before: How long before Anonymous decides to directly influence a political election because they don't like one of the candidates? How long before it becomes a common practice for "Anonymous" to start digging the dirt out on any candidate they don't like? Worse yet - because Anonymous is a collective, how long before we get a group calling themselves "Anonymous" doing this for the ideals of the LEFT, while another group claiming "Anonymous" does this for the ideals of the RIGHT? What kind of damage does something like that do to the democratic process? It depends on how far they take it. "We are so opposed to the idea of another Bush presidency, that we've hacked the ballots and elected our own candidate in the sake of sanity". Of course, Anarchists think this sounds like a great plan, because the "system is already a corporate controlled police state as it is". So my concern is simply that we have the ability to have open dialog where we can safely voice these concerns without the fear of reprisal for questioning the methods or motivations of Anonymous (or any other organization, group, or federal institution or government). When the response is, "Just get along with Anonymous (or any other organization, group or federal institution or government), and you don't have to fear their reprisals"... There is something wrong. This idea should be getting more up-votes, not down-votes.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Listened to a Senator for Kentucky or Tennessee, once, arguing that part of the problem in Iraq was that we didn't have enough prisons to incarcerate all of the insurgents so we had to process them and then release them to return right to fighting us. His poorly worded example was that his State had more prison beds then all of Iraq. Of course, he comes from a state where a Corporate Prison company is head-quartered. But you've got to follow the money on an issue like this. I'm not saying that the people arguing AGAINST me are wrong about the corruption or that there aren't huge things that are broken with our system. I'm asking the legitimate question, "is Anonymous the right way to address those issues. Is the cure better than the problem?"

JCitizen
JCitizen

are embarrassing, but I attribute it to an insane and ineffective way to fight drugs. When are we finally going to realize drug users/addicts need treatment instead of jail? Treatment facilities are WAY cheaper to operate that jails! I'm not saying drugs are not bad, I'm saying the way we handle it is bad. We still need the force of law and due process to get abusers help, but decriminalization for folks other than dealers, would help even better. Also, I'm not talking about namby pamby treatment, I'm talking about safe but effective treatment that goes outside the box to get results. Methadone needs to be reconsidered as a tactic; with the new medications pursuant to that goal, I think it may be a cop-out.

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