December 09, 2010, 5:34 PM — This morning's planned distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against Amazon.com by Anonymous, a hacker group that has launched similar attacks against organizations it sees attempting to censor WikiLeaks, appears to have failed.
Anonymous started attacking Amazon's website at 11 a.m. EST, but quickly appeared to abandon the effort after realizing how little impact it was having, said Paul Mutton, a security analyst with U.K.-based Internet monitoring firm Netcraft.
"The attack didn't seem to make a dent on Amazon.com," which is not surprising considering Amazon's network infrastructure, he said. "The size of [the Anonymous] botnet was not large enough to have any impact."
Instead, the group now appears to be focusing its attention on api.Paypal.com, a secure payment transaction handling Web site, Mutton said.
The site is not currently accessible, which could be due to the attacks or because of defensive measures PayPal is taking to protect the site, he said. An Anonymous attack earlier today knocked http://paypal.com offline for about an hour, he said.
The planned attack on Amazion.com was announced in an Anonymous tweet posted by Netcraft.
The provocation for attacking Amazon.com appears to be due to the online retailer's decision to start selling a Kindle e-book version of the leaked U.S. State Department cables after it had earlier booted WikiLeaks from its hosted cloud service.
The e-book includes the first 5,000 leaked State Department cables posted by WikiLeaks in tagged, searchable format. Amazon is offering the e-book on its U.K site for 7.37 ($11.62 U.S.).
Anonymous has begun using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and a newly established Twitter account to announce new DDoS targets. The group's main website anonops.net has been hit with numerous DDoS attacks over the past few days, and yesterday was suspended by its ISP.
Nonetheless, support for Anonymous appears to be growing as has the sophistication and use of its DDoS tools, according to security researchers.
Up to now, the loosely-affiliated group of Internet vigilantes had been more known DDoS attacks on various entertainment industry Websites over copyright enforcement issues, in an effort called Operation Payback.
Earlier this month, Anonymous' organizers announced plans to extend Operation Payback by attacking any organization perceived as attempting to censor WikiLeaks.
Over the past few days, support for the Anonymous group appears to have grown substantially, according to Sean-Paul Correll a security researcher from PandaLabs. Correll has been chronicling the attacks in a blog that is now under a DDoS attack.