Hactivist group Anonymous announced it will launch a new weapon on Saturday to replace the Low Orbit Ion Cannon application it uses to automate distributed denial of service attacks.
Rather than just automate content requests to make them faster and easier to launch – so a botnet can launch 10,000 per second rather than 5,000, for example – as the previous application did, the new #Ref#Ref uses a web-site's own server resources against it, according to hints from various Anonymi.
The group has been testing the new app during the past few weeks, bringing down the main WikiLeaks site, attacking Twitter and running other tests designed to verify the scalability and reliability of the new app.
The release of #Ref#Ref is timed to coincide with the combined online/real-world protest against the economic power of Wall Street firms, which it scheduled for 7 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, Sept. 17.
The operation dubbed #OccupyWallStreet was announced several weeks ago. Its stated intent is to persuade as many as 20,000 people to camp out on the streets of Manhattan's financial district until the Obama administration meets its demands.
Similar but lesser protests are scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
The extent of the demands isn't entirely clear, but they revolve around the connection between big business, campaign contributions and a perception that big business is influencing the U.S. government too much, at the expense of the middle and lower classes.
According to the site When we at US Day of Rage speak of 'taking the MONEY out of politics', we have no choice but to focus on the sources of the MONEY.
Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and national security.
We demand satisfaction for the wrongs done to our nation and its people." – USDayofRage, Sept. 15, 2011 [Emphasis theirs.]
Nine people were arrested during what was referred to as a "test run" for the occupation over what turned out to be a big snag in the plan: it's illegal to set up tents on the streets of New York. Protesters who show up for a long stay and set up camp will be breaking the law, prompting the NYPD to get involved far sooner than the organizers want.
Logistics covering other aspects of the protest seems remarkably well organized too.
What role attacks from Anonymous, using #Ref#Ref will play in slowing the authorities' response through confusion or magnifying the impact of the protest is also unclear.
Anonymous has successfully attacked major financial institutions in the past, even when it had to rely on the older, reputedly less effective LOIC.
Just to be on the safe side, I'd be sure to get enough cash from the bank Friday to carry through to Monday.
And leave your tent at home.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.