Exclusive: The real target of 'Operation Payback'

Hacktivists who claim to be attacking sites for cutting off WikiLeaks have far more insidious agenda

I admit it, I was as naive as everyone when hackers associated with the group Anonymous announced they would retaliate against companies that recently stopped providing online services for WikiLeaks after the whistle-blowing organization began releasing classified U.S. State Department documents.

(Also see: Hacktivist group Anonymous hits sites that cut off WikiLeaks)

That is, I took the hacktivists at their word -- that this was all about "payback" for the multi-front effort to drive WikiLeaks off the Internet.

Then, as I was reading today about the Distributed Denial of Service attacks against the Mastercard and Visa web sites, I started to connect the dots:

* Two major credit card companies

* PayPal, the world's largest ecommerce payment processor (also a subsidiary of web auction giant eBay)

* Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer (and a reputed target)

Do I have to spell it out for you people? Anonymous isn't merely attacking companies that caved to government pressure regarding WikiLeaks. Its agenda is far more insidious: Anonymous has taken sides with the forces of evil in the War on Christmas!

Retribution on behalf of an organization leaking classified documents is one thing. But when you actively seek to undermine the holiest time of the year -- the holiday shopping season -- then you've crossed a line.

Is nothing sacred?

Bill O'Reilly, Fox News host and Christmas warrior extraordinaire, it's time to blow the lid off this story. I await your call.

But first I have to do some shopping. And in a damn mall, of all places. Curse you, Anonymous.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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