Amazon has been lined up as the next victim of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by the group of online vigilantes known as Anonymous, which has already taken down the web sites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, as the WikiLeaks controversy continues.
A Twitter update from one of the accounts used by the group, @Op_Payback, read an hour ago: “TARGET: WWW.AMAZON.COM LOCKED ON!!!”. Subsequent updates gave followers instructions on how to turn their computers into part of a mass botnet set to launch the DDoS attack in two hours.
It is unclear whether the attack is in retaliation for the actions of Amazon Web Services last week in booting WikiLeaks off its servers, or due to the appearance on Amazon.com today of the WikiLeaks cables for a £7.37 charge.
The Operation Payback effort undertaken by the Anonymous group has already hit several sites that have in some way denied services to WikiLeaks.
It remains to be seen whether Twitter will also be targeted, although it has been forced repeatedly to deny allegations that it is deliberately keeping WikiLeaks and associated terms from appearing on the list of trending topics.
“Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe,” wrote Carolyn Penner of the Twitter comms team.
“And, sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week.”
Twitter and Facebook have tried to close accounts associated with Operation Payback, Facebook claiming it did so because it broke its terms and conditions. However, several new accounts have surfaced on Twitter since the @anon_operation account was suspended.
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