If you haven't already seen the video posted on YouTube by Anonymous, the infamous hacking legion, yesterday, you may want to check it out. The video details a new operation staged by the group which aims to crash Facebook. But is this true, or even possible?
In the past, Anonymous have attacked government websites, such as the Department of Justice website which was hacked just days ago in protest of SOPA and PIPA, and other organisations they oppose on the internet. This time, they are threatening to crash Facebook in order to show their disapproval of the government, who they see as ignorant to the internet, controlling it.
On Guy Fawkes Day, the 5th of November, Anonymous promised to bring Facebook to its knees, but no attack was carried out. This makes the possibility of the recent attack being a hollow threat seem more likely. However, the group should not be underestimated.
In the YouTube video posted by Anonymous (above), information about how Facebook will be crashed was supplied. The video invites an army of people willing to fight for the rights of internet users to participate in overloading Facebook's 60,000 servers with the open-sourced Low Orbit Ion Cannon software, originally designed to test servers for stability.
The software allows users to select a domain, in this case http://www.facebook.com, and then target the IP address where that domain resides. Anonymous encourages everyone to initiate their attack - with the aim of overloading all Facebook servers with several types of data packets - at the same time. This is the same method the group used to successfully take down the DoJ, FBI and other websites.
The video explains that the attack should be initiated at 12:00AM (midnight) EST on Friday 28th January 2012. This does seem to me to be a very strange time to request the attack. Firstly, how many Americans will be willing to wait until midnight to attack Facebook? Not too many I'd expect. And, although those in the West of America will have an earlier time, everyone in countries to the East of America will be asleep when the attack occurs. It will be the early hours of the morning in most of Europe and, considering that in these time-zones it will be a Saturday, I doubt very many people will be awake. Of course, if Anonymous has thought this through, they may have intentionally selected this time to ensure as little effect seen by users as possible, but a great deal of coverage for the feat alone.
Another major problem with Anonymous' plan, though I am sure the group has thought about this, is that a great number of people will not understand why they are being ordered to attack Facebook to protest freedom of speech on the internet, and free use of it. many people see Facebook as a useful service which they choose to use and like - that's right, they Like Facebook.
This said, I fully believe that Anonymous has thought their tactic through, whether their real aim is to crash Facebook or not. I am most certain they understand the issues regarding time-zones and have planned accordingly. Let's see what Friday the 28th brings...
We want to know what you think! Do you think the threat is all it seems, or do the group have an ulterior plan?