Notorious hacking organisations Anonymous and LulzSec have turned to more law-abiding means in an effort to convince PayPal customers to shut their accounts owing to the payment provider's apparent willingness to kowtow to the US government.
Anonymous and LulzSec said in a letter posted online that PayPal's readiness to prevent payments to WikiLeaks, and the fact that the government is pursuing members of the groups for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the firm, means that web users should take their business elsewhere.
"We encourage anyone using PayPal to close their accounts and consider an alternative. The first step to being truly free is not putting one's trust into a company that freezes accounts when it feels like or when pressured by the US government," the letter said.
"PayPal's willingness to fold to legislation should be proof enough that they don't deserve the customers they get. They do not deserve your business, and they do not deserve your respect."
Anonymous claimed on its @AnonymousIRC Twitter feed that almost 10,000 PayPal customers will have left the site by Friday, and called on the firm for a response.
"If pace keeps up, over 9,000 PayPal accounts will be closed in the next week. So, PayPal, your turn. You pass? Then it's our move," the group said.
The topic is also trending worldwide on Twitter, underlining the impact that the protest is already having.
V3 contacted PayPal for comment on the situation but had received no reply at the time of publication.
Panda Security technical director Luis Corrons explained in a blog post that, while the instigation of a genuinely peaceful protest is good to see, he is doubtful that it will last.
"My main concern regarding Anonymous is the kind of protests they carry on. While they consider a DDoS attack a 'peaceful protest' the real thing is that it is a crime," he said.
"However, it seems we can have some hope: Anonymous has started #OpPayPal and is asking users to close their PayPal accounts. The bad news? I'm afraid they will go back to their illegal methods at any moment."
PayPal has already suffered at the hands of Anonymous with a DDoS attack in retaliation for closing the account used by WikiLeaks in December.
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