Hackers affiliated with Anonymous have carried out three attacks against companies supporting CISPA in the in the opening salvo of Operation Defense, a campaign announced by Anonymous last Saturday targeting supporters of the legislation.
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, is bill that aims to further enable information sharing and communication among different government intelligence agencies and the public sector to combat cyber security threats. Detractors claim that the bill would give private companies and the US government further power to monitor the online activities of individual users.
Websites belonging to Boeing, TechAmerica and USTelecom all went down earlier this week after coming under a Denial of Service attack. Most sites were down for a few hours and continued to experience further sporadic problems. All three companies have publically pledged support for CISPA, joining Facebook, Microsoft and many others.
Twitter account YourAnonNews, one of a small number of online media accounts affiliated with Anonymous, announced that Boeing’s website had been taken down on Tuesday.
“Tango Down http://www.boeing.com by #Anonymous for #OpDefense,” read the tweet. The phrase Tango Down means the site was the target of a DoS attack. Boeing has so far declined to comment.
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US Telecom has confirmed that their site had fallen under a DoS attack on Monday, specifically naming Anonymous as the perpetrators. The collective’s widely used Twitter and YouTube accounts have yet to make mention of the hack. A video containing the live stream of the attack was uploaded to YouTube by account Xnonymouz, before being removed by YouTube, which cited its violation of YouTube’s policy on the depiction of “harmful activities.” User Xnonymouz has uploaded several other videos, mostly in German, related to hacking and Anonymous, including another detailing DoS attack against the US Department of Justice’s website.
USTelecom President Walter McCormick issued a statement directly addressing Anonymous. He said that bills like CISPA are needed precisely because of DoS attacks similar to the attack on his company.
“…we respect the right of those calling themselves ‘Anonymous’ to express their views and engage in lawful political advocacy. But by launching a cyber-attack in an effort to coerce, intimidate and stifle speech, members of Anonymous are acting contrary to the very freedoms and Internet norms that they espouse,” McCormick said in the statement.
Anonymous addressed corporate supporters of CISPA last Saturday, declaring that CISPA and its supporters have become their “sworn enemies.” Public outcry over the Stop Online Privacy Act last year was backed by several corporations, including Google and Wikipedia. But as CISPA would enable private companies to receive classified cyber security information from the US government, corporations like Facebook and Microsoft are actively supporting the legislation.
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CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, quietly snuck out of committee amid the uproar over SOPA last December. While SOPA focused on enabling copyright holders and the US judiciary to fight what was deemed to be online piracy, CISPA centers on an information exchange between private companies and the US government to combat cyber security threats.