Anonymous and Operation Payback

Everybody has heard of the recent news story regarding Julian Assange and Wikileaks. But what I found more interesting was the underground, decentralized network of hackers, “Anonymous,” that is fighting back against the perceived injustices done to Assange. Operation Payback targets major banks, credit card companies, and finance services that froze Assange’s accounts and denied him service. Among the targeted companies were Paypal, Amazon, Mastercard, and a Swiss Bank.

Anonymous delivers their blows through what is called a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. The members of the group use thousands of computers (both willing and unwilling) to flood the company’s website with data requests until the server slows to a crawl or crashes. The group has been able to become so widespread due to the simplicity of their arsenal: a program called the “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” (LOIC) which people can download to turn their computer into another soldier in the group’s “Legion.”

The prospect of groups like this is both exhilarating and terrifying. On the one hand, I am all about non-violent protest and dissent. On the other, this group potentially very dangerous and unstable. It has no central leadership and therefore a very loose, unpredictable agenda. Since the LOIC software is so easy to get a hold of and use, anybody can join. Membership might grow extremely rapidly, attracting a more radical anarchist demographic bent on total corporate destruction and the downfall of society (something like Fight Club). Who knows?

On the other, other hand… As a scientist, I really want to develop a stronger computer science background and figure out how all this stuff works for myself!

Advertisements
Posted in 2010-2011, EUREKA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Student Contributors
Alex Iteen is a second year student majoring in Biology. He is interested in bioengineering and synthetic biology. He is currently working in Dr. Fygenson's lab on DNA nanotubes.
See all his posts

David Wallace is a third year student majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. He is currently working in Professor Weimbs's lab studying the pathogenic mechanisms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).
See all his posts

Eneida Chesnut is a senior majoring in chemical engineering. She transferred from SBCC, where she studied chemistry. She works with organic materials for solar cells and is very interested in renewable energy research.
See all her posts

Erzsebet is a second year chemical engineering major. She is interested in biotechnology and biophysics, and is working in Professor David Awschalom's lab investigating how cephalopod skin responds to different types of stimulation by light.
See all her posts

Madison Cornwell is a second year student majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish. She is a EUREKA intern through the California NanoSystems Institute and the Resident Assistant of the Women in Science and Technology House in Manzanita Village. She will be working closely with Dr. Kosik and graduate student Israel Hernandez for the remainder of her time at UCSB.
See all her posts
Participate
Are you interested in contributing to the UCSB Undergraduate Research blog? Email Kelly Pillsbury for more information.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers

Blog Stats
  • 19,054 visitors