SOPA and PIPA are temporarily shelved, but internet freedom is far from secure. Though most people prefer to protest draconian legislation by signing petitions, writing congressmen, and voting forSOPA opponents, Anonymous does things a little bit differently. A video claiming to be from the “hacktivists” calls on followers to participate in an attack on Facebook. The only problem, though, is that Anonymous’ Twitter account has dismissed the video as a fake.
In the video, someone posing as the group doesn’t shy away from dramatic rhetoric. It announces the arrival of “the first cyber war” and invites everyone to help it to bring down Facebook. ThoughFacebook has over 60,000 servers, the video says that, with enough help, its ship can be sunk.
The group’s Twitter account, @anonops, tweeted that “again we must say that we will not attack Facebook! Again the mass media lie.” The video was posted to a YouTube account that only has uploads dating back to the last several days. This doesn’t rule out the possibility that it was created by smaller factions from within Anonymous, but the video was most likely the work of a copycat.
Just like legitimate Anonymous videos, this clip is voiced by a text-to-speech program. It points to midnight EST on January 28 as the time of the cyber-attack. Users are directed to a couple of download links, which will give them either a “low orbit ion cannon” or a “high orbit ion cannon” for performing a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). Once downloading the tools, users are beckoned to enter Facebook’s web address, choose how many threads they want to use, and finally initiate the DDOS by pressing a button called “IMMA CHARGIN MAH LAZER.”
Why Facebook? This isn’t 100 percent clear, but it appears that someone wants to build on the awareness that was spread on last week’s Internet Blackout Day. Calling the Facebook attack “Operation Global Blackout Part II,” it apparently wants to bring down some of the most visible sites on the internet in order to keep the issue in the public eye. So, even though Facebook (or at least Mark Zuckerberg) voiced opposition to SOPA, its position as one of the most visited sites on the internet makes it a prime target.
The Anonymous poser tells its followers that there is no chance of being caught by participating in the attack. It says that the massive amount of users that are expected to participate will make it impossible for authorities to crack down.
This follows Anonymous attacks from the past week that attacked the Department of Justice, took down Universal Music, and redirected CBS.com traffic to another site. These were in direct retaliation to the US government’s takedown of file sharing site Megaupload. Anonymous saw the Megaupload takedown as the US government’s assertion of control after worldwide internet protests led to copyright bills SOPA and PIPA being (momentarily) halted.