'Operation Payback' Results in 550 Hours' Downtime, 742 Interruptions

The shadowy hacker coalition Anonymous’ most recent DDoS attacks against 11 organizations across the world have caused more than 550 hours of downtime and 742 service interruptions since the web assaults began Sept. 17, PandaLabs reports.

The latest attacks that began Oct. 6 on the Spanish Copyright Protection Society, the Spanish Culture Ministry and Promusicae websites have resulted in 119 service interruptions and more than 68 hours of downtime across the three sites, according to PandaLabs.

Since the launch of the DDoS attacks, the websites longest affected have been ACS:Law, with 179 hours downtime; the Recording Industry Association of America, with 127 hours, and Aiplex Software with 123 hours.

“The popularization of this group’s activities has led many users without much technical know-how to join in,” said Luis Corrons, PandaLabs’ director of research. “In fact, there are numerous tutorials and tools available for launching DDoS attacks across the web. This also means that not everyone is taking the steps necessary to cover their tracks, such as hiding IPs. If there is an investigation, it would be possible to follow the trail and locate some of the protestors.”

The self-proclaimed “anarchist” group Anonymous is made up of activists who defend free P2P file-sharing and oppose copyright-protection laws and enforcers. According to a PandaLabs’ interview with the group’s spokespeople, members of the collective do not consider themlseves to be cyber criminals, and claim that financial gain is not motivating the attacks:

“To be clear, we do not condone any sort of profit from botnets or malware for that matter, but the vast majority of what is constituted as Cyber Crime can be something as simple as downloading your favorite song, instead of paying ridiculous fees for that song (which the artist will only see a fraction of)… We will keep going until we stop being angry,” the group’s organizer said.

Harnessing the power of the Internet to communicate with each other through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and forms, “Operation Payback” is expected to continue with these types of attacks against current and new targets in the coming days.

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