Why I think anonymous is important, but their attacks are pointless
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Now they've been around for a pretty long time, but the recent news about SOPA, PIPA, Megaupload, and that they took down a few government websites is creating an uproar on the internet.
If you didn't know yet, the FBI took down Megaupload 2 days ago for various obvious reasons. Here's anonymous' response to it. (and their official statement)
They took down 14 websites
justice.govWell. Let me talk about why their existence is important first. They exist not as a group of selected people, but as an idea. The scary thing about an idea, is that, when many people have the same one, they can put it into action.
Here's the way they work. Something happens, someone voice out their opinions online. Others who join the channel discuss about it. They think about whether it's important to voice it out or not. If important, they will coordinate online and attack specific targets.
It's important because they're the voice on the internet. With enough presence to not get masked up by the other news. When they make a statement, they make it loud and bold, and they're like the freedom fighters on the net.
Now that's all well and good, but their attacks are generally pointless from a technical standpoint. Yes, it's amazing that they are able to coordinate so many computers to DDoS(Distributed Denial of Service) a website, it takes considerable skill to write out a program to do that. (what's more in this most recent attack, it's automatic. I shall not talk about the ethics for this post)
But the question is. What's the point of taking down a website?
If their point is to make an issue known to the world, then I applaud them, it works beautifully. But from what I've seen over time, it feels like they're saying. "We have the power to shut you down if we want to." But in reality it's just trouble making.
Here's why "hacking" doesn't really work out in real life.
If you're hacking a government network, it's.. pretty impossible unless you know their network from the inside out. If a hacking does succeed, it just means that the internal personnel is not trained properly. Why? Because the important part is the internal network, if they want to they can just completely switch their network offline from the internet but they still have access to other services within their own compound.
A website, is just a front page. Truth is, not a lot of people visit a government page for no reason. The server is not built to take that much traffic.
A DDoS attack is simply generating so much shitty traffic that the server can't take it and shuts down. It is probably one of the most prominent attack online because it can't be stopped. You can filter it out but it still requires CPU power. A research from the people who deciphered Stuxnet (a ridiculous virus), estimate that if you have a botnet (a lot of computers linked together) of roughly 250,000. You can pretty much DDoS the shit out of everything. It is not impossible, but very impractical and will probably look suspicious.
So, taking down the front page of a government/music website, simply.. just shuts off their web for awhile, and it'll be back on. It is annoying, but definitely nothing more than a prick.
On the other hand, even if they had the ability to unleash a virus that could take down government networks. (or hold it hostage). It will be bad rep for them, because it'll become an act of terrorism. And that will cause all the best whitehat hackers all around the world to start hunting for them. And it wouldn't be a pretty sight to see an all out war online.
So the bottom line is this, their attacks are technically pointless, but I think the purpose is to raise awareness for everyone. I think it works.
Hope you have a better understanding of the situation,
Till then my minions~