Will Anonymous target Facebook next?

The cyberwar unleashed by WikiLeaks is spreading far and wide. Will Facebook join Amazon, Paypal, and Visa among its victims?

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Everyone's attacking www.paypal.com port 443 right now. So keep firing at#Paypal. #ddos #payback #wikileaks

The hashtags in that tweet can of course be searched, so that even if you’re not following @Op_Payback (or Twitter manages to shut that account down) you can easily find out who to attack. In fact, Twitter has shut down the original @Anon_Operation account, as well as @AnonOperation, but new accounts keep springing up, and other Twits keep retweeting the instructions. It’s a game of whack-a-mole that may never end.

Meanwhile, Facebook has suspended at least one of the pages set up by Anonymous for its Operation Paycheck vigilante scheme. It has so far declined to suspend the WikiLeaks page, saying the organization has done nothing to violate its terms of service. So my question becomes, will Anonymous target Facebook next? Or does its support of the WikiLeaks page earn it a pass?

I don’t think Anonymous is big enough to bring down Facebook or do permanent harm any of the sites it has targeted. This is largely a public protest – or publicity stunt, if you will. The real harm may come if WikiLeaks makes good on its threat to exercise the “nuclear option” by releasing the encryption keys to all of the documents in its possession – unredacted files that could reveal the identities of spies, informants, sources, private bank accounts, and Lord knows what else.

Imagine an army of Anons spreading that dirt so far and wide it can never be retrieved. That’s what frightens me.

ITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan tries very hard to avoid ticking off Anonymous, whoever they are. Catch his brand of juvenile snark at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech.

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