back to article WikiLeaks supporters milk Twitter API in DDoS attacks

WikiLeaks supporters are milking Twitter's application programming interface to carry out attacks that have led to crippling slowdowns at, and other websites that cut off funding to the whistle-blower outfit. A relatively new Java-based version of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, which protesters use to direct …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    A title

    Not really sure what the problem some people had with SecureCode was. Checked my logs and it's been fine all week. SC is also basically a nonessential fraud filter that can be skipped if it's down so if it stopped any payments it is because of bad implementations.

    Anon also seems to be claiming that one of the PayPal API endpoints is down but the error message it displays means that your client certificate is invalid, not that it's down (i.e. the url would never work from a browser). Also the PayPal endpoint we use hasn't even slowed down.

    1. CD001


      It HASN'T been fine all week - out status logs have 2 different codes for successful orders; one for orders that have gone through WITH 3D Authentication and another for those that have gone through without (because the issuing bank isn't enrolled or we're getting a particular fail status from 3D Secure).

      Normally there's something like 90% of orders go through with 3D Secure - we had a run for several hours where only perhaps 10% were going through fully authenticated.

      Yeah - it didn't loose us any orders but I don't know if we are charged a higher cost per transaction on non-3DS orders (I'm a techmonkey not a beancounter).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's been fine here

        We log every step of the checkout process for abandonment purposes and I can't see anything out of the ordinary. Because of the crappy way 3DS works that requires frame busting it's one of the most heavily logged events due to the myriad of ways it could go wrong.

        Not using 3DS doesn't cost us more per transaction but it does lose us chargeback protection in certain circumstances.

  2. Eenymeeny

    Installing, installing...

    "Volunteers install the program..."

    And open a nice backdoor to the Internet, by all accounts.

    No honour among thieves, apparently.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not Really

      From what I have read about LOIC it is a primitive stress testing tool, presumably the link to the command server is fairly transparent and the volunteer would need to configure it anyways.

      Interesting to hear the 'Security Guru' on the radio this morning, who seemed to have not the slightest understanding of LOIC. Mind given the amount of work somebody would need to do to get LOIC installed it's going to be difficult for them to claim involuntary participation in a court of law.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New way?

    If this is the first time he's thought of using Twitter in this way then he's not very imaginative. I've been using Twitter as a C&C system for automation for a long time.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Aust links

    Right that's it, Twitter must be shut down, sources of funding frozen etc

    Moving swiftly on, Russian PM Vladimir Putin chimes in on Assange, saying his detention is undemocratic; also in support is Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva -

    Also, an all-too-short interview with John Perry Barlow and Noam Chomsky, MP3s avail (and might contain more from JPB than the webpage) -

    JPB also quoted here -

    Putin, of course not the greatest of friends and certainly I doubt he cares a whit about Assange, however the West quite clearly has a stick in its eye, who can blame him for giving it a little twist.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. david wilson


      >>"Moving swiftly on, Russian PM Vladimir Putin chimes in on Assange, saying his detention is undemocratic;"

      Surely, the issue is whether the detention is actually *legal* in the UK, and that's something lawyers can argue about.

      The judicial system can't just conclude that it's all a Huge CIA Conspiracy and ignore the warrant just because that's what a few people have already decided simply must be the truth.

      Anyway, what does democracy have to do with it?

      The legality issue would be the same whatever the political system.

      Assange doesn't really have anything to say that someone else can't say for him, unless he's been keeping secrets from the rest of Wikileaks' organisation.

      And exactly when did Putin actually start caring about democracy, or the rights of journalists?

      If Assange had actually been a Russian journalist causing even a fraction of the annoyance to Putin or his mates that he's been causing to the USA, he'd probably have been shot or beaten to death long ago.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay-back's a bitch

    And I truly hope every muppet that's joining in on these DDoS attacks gets paid-back in full for their infantile, irresponsible and illegal behaviour.

    Why am I not surprised to hear these kids are now infecting other PCs with malware to get innocents to join in on their web-based terrorism.

    1. Steve Roper

      They see me trollin'...

      ...they hatin'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, because they should be complaining to their legally elected representative


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >>"Yes, because they should be complaining to their legally elected representative"

        Assuming they have elected representatives at their school, I suppose.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      clarification reqd.

      these here muppets,

      are they the campaigners for free speech and democracy, or the evil warmongering merkin gubberment?

      cos i know who's heads I'D like to see on a spike

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          >>"That's one mother fucking epic troll they've pulled off, they will forever be remembered as heroes of the internet."

          That's a shockingly low bar you set to qualify as an 'internet hero'.

          Meanwhile, in Real Life, heroism generally involves actually achieving something difficult and worthwhile and/or taking serious personal risks to try and achieve something.

          So far, they haven't actually changed anything, and most think they're vanishingly unlikely to get caught, so they can't really qualify on the 'bravery' front.

          Still, I guess it may well be the most heroic thing that most of them ever do, so I guess maybe they will have to look back on it with some sort of pride, if only for the sake of their egos.

  6. Asgard
    Big Brother

    Power games & so much for Democracy...

    "Twitter has been used as a command and control channel for corralling large networks of PCs"

    I guess Twitter was just an easy way to help hack code together quickly, to give control over large networks of PCs. Its not a particularly good or clean way to do it, but I guess it works. The point is if it wasn't Twitter, then it would have been done any number of other ways.

    I can understand people's anger (I even share their anger) but I question the effectiveness and logic of targeting companies who were always going to cave in to the government, as the government will give companies no choice. As much as governments are on the side of big business, that doesn't mean governments will tolerate any (as their government will see it) renegade business people defying their wishes. Governments have the power and they are ruthlessly arrogant about their need to be in power, when they want to be and thats the point, governments don't often throw their weight against businesses, but they can really hit out hard when they want to. You can bet there has been extreme behind the scenes intimidation directed at individuals in the companies (Divide and Conquer, hit out at individuals in the companies and threaten them and their companies with all sorts of things to undermine them and their companies).

    Companies in the land of the free or with branches in the land of the free will not be allowed to have a choice by the US government. Any defiance will not be tolerated, as the government will ruthlessly seek to undermine them and the government won't just be after money, they would be after scalps to punish people for defying them and to even make an example of people, to scare others away from defying them. Governments are filled with seriously power obsessed people. They have to be to fight that high up into such ruthlessly arrogant positions of political power over people, which is why they are such closed minded arrogant bastards to everyone else. They really will not tolerate other people defying them in any way at all.

    Which just highlights the real problem. Its not these companies, they are just weak spined side shows. The real problem is the Governments who are not listening to the people and therefore violating democracy, but in hindsight I don't think they ever have truly been treating it like a democracy, its just been a deceitful act & pack of lies to make us think we have a say. Which is a real and shockingly dangerous problem. We have seen in the past few weeks, the Governments actions show they don't want free speech. Therefore "the land of the free" is another lie. The actions of the people in power prove their words are a lie, because their actions & words can't both be true and their actions cannot lie, so their “land of the free” words must be the lie. Another sickening example of how our masters lie to us all. (But then Wikileaks keeps showing us our leaders lie). The sad truth is none of us in any country are really free from our masters influence and control.

    So its the governments who need to be sent a message that people have had enough with the government police state moves and endless lies and attempts to deceive us. The government work for us and should listen to us, at least they want us to think that, when they want us to vote for them! Yet their arrogance and endless lies now shows we don't have a Democracy. Is it any wonder people are getting angry! :(

    1. Dagg
      Black Helicopters

      I question the effectiveness and logic of targeting companies

      I don't, it is the companies especially in the land of the free that donate large amounts of money to control the government. Targeting the companies will show them that they donated money to the wrong government.

      Those people who think that the government works for them are somewhat deluded, the government works for the companies or groups that provided the greatest amount of donations. There is a very strong correlation between the amount of money spent during an election campaign and the votes received.

      1. MinionZero
        Big Brother

        @Dagg: "will show them that they donated money to the wrong government"

        While the corporations are the money behind government, the power is in government and the government has many sources of money, so the government can and does play off the different sources of money against each other, to keep them all without much power over government. So targetting (via DDoS attacks) a few sources of money will have no effect on government and little effect on the rich corporations. Plus corporations want to earn money from close ties to government and the government knows this, so that also gives government more power over the corporations. Its in effect a symbiotic connection between governments and corporations, but you won't break that link because they both need it to survive. But governments are the key, they are the centre of the spiders web.

        So Dagg when you say "will show them that they donated money to the wrong government" ... I have to ask, what is the right government? All political parties have the same kind of people in them. They all seek power over other people. Therefore regardless of their sales pitch words to us at election times, their intentions will always be the same, to seek ever more power over people because they always want power and fear loosing power. We have seen this game repeated so many times throughout history.

        So when is enough really finally enough. As every political party is playing the same games (as Wikileaks is highlighting) of our political parties endlessly lying to us to get away with whatever they really want behind our backs, then they have to be policed to force them to be accountable. They have to be monitored to force them to represent us. Its the only way we will ever have a Democracy, because make no mistake, the government lies we are seeing now shows we don't really have a Democracy.

        But then the work of Niccolò Machiavelli has been showing up political Machiavellian behaviour for nearly 500 years and what Wikileaks is highlighting just goes to prove what Machiavellian liars we have in government. But it means politicians cannot really ever be trusted at all, in any way at all. So enough with any trust at all. But for the first time in history we are finally increasingly getting the technology to monitor what the politicians are really doing, so now we can force them to be a Democracy. Its the only long term solution that gives us some fairness in the world. Because otherwise their Machiavellian games will never end.

        Plus if that isn't bad enough, what we are seeing now is literally an increasingly Authoritarian Kleptocracy and its what we will keep on getting with ever more Authoritarian control, if we don't move to police the people who say they represent us in government. If that doesn't scare you, then it bloody well should! TheReg has helped to show us so many Authoritarian moves against us already and so if we don't all work to police the government, their own actions show they will not stop pushing for even more Authoritarian moves against us.

      2. david wilson


        >>"Targeting the companies will show them that they donated money to the wrong government."

        As opposed to the right government?

        Which would be who, exactly?

        >>"There is a very strong correlation between the amount of money spent during an election campaign and the votes received."

        I assume you're familiar with the skeptic's phrase "Correlation is not causation"?

        Don't you think that possibly the amount of money donated is linked to the expectations that someone will actually be elected?

        Or that donations from the public correlate fairly roughly with their voting intentions?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      older readers in the uk

      May remember the supermarkets flagrant and concerted breaking of the sunday trading laws a few years ago. Mega Co will happily break the law if it's in their interest.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe. Maybe not.

      The attacks do seem a bit counter-productive. Unless they actually work, of course.

      If Anonymous did succeed in closing down all online transactions for an extended period leading up to Christmas, that amount of pressure would be right up there with the sort of pressure that governments can apply.

      I can't help thinking it'd be the end of the internet as we know it, though. I can't see governments taking that sort of challenge without a few draconian laws popping out.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        but it's tinternet!

        it was designed by warmongering types (and al gore) specifically to resist this type of attack. it is by definition a resilient, massively redundant network.

        if uncle sam tries to take it on, uncle sam will come a cropper.

        they are, of course way to arrogant to even consider this eventuality.

        problem with policing the net is that it ISNT ANYWHERE. immediate issues with jurisdiction arsie as soon as you try to do anything.

        now if only we had a robust international legal framework, which we dont because........ merkins will not allow themselves to be subject io international law, the geneva convention, or the UDHR.

        the words petard and hoist come to mind.

        If the american government starts clamping down on the freedoms of the free (clipper chip anyone?) then the second ammendment will be activated as soon as you can say 'squeal like a pig, boy!'

        and we'll have a whole new way of doing things in the land of the free.

        and with the bullet holed hides of the old admin nailed to the wall in the oval office the new admin will mind it's p's and q's... for a bit.

        or maybe not

        1. david wilson


          >>"problem with policing the net is that it ISNT ANYWHERE. immediate issues with jurisdiction arsie as soon as you try to do anything."

          I think you'll find that the hardware, and the businesses that own it, ARE actually somewhere, and that countries could do a great deal with hardware in their jurisdiction.

          If someone brings in a national law requiring that ISPs disconnect customer's zombie PCs and a national ISP doesn't comply, it's not technically hard to cut that ISP off, or go into their premises and shut them down.

          There are things that could be done on a wider level, given a good enough excuse.

          Do you actually trust governments not to blow up an annoyance into something larger in order to provide a good excuse?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >>"I can't help thinking it'd be the end of the internet as we know it, though. I can't see governments taking that sort of challenge without a few draconian laws popping out."

        Maybe some useful regulations to deal with zombie PCs?

        No doubt that /some/ people would try and slip in ways of dealing with 'bulletproof' hosts at the same time, or use it as an excuse for why ISPs have to be able to inspect the packets of people with busy net connections, or any number of other things that the Anonymous lot might regret rather more than the average user.

  7. mike panero


    Putin is right, the Sweedes only want to question him, no charges have been brought before any court, the remand is very "unusual" to say the least.

    Trying to scare him into not doing it again

    Suggest he release bank data shortly after we get our credit card bills post Christmas

    Suggest bankers hire big fucking goons to protect them, at triple rates

    message ends

    Big Fucking Goon

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      @mike panero

      "unusual" yes, but not unknown.

      It depends on the case and it's all about the likelyhood of the person arrested to remain within the jurisdiction while due process runs its glacial course. In this one, Assange is know to have a globetrotting lifestyle and a handy selection of passports and international boltholes. He also has a ready supply of idiots prepared to stump up enough cash, so losing the bail isn't too much of an issue for him. As such, a custodial remand is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

      I'm also pretty sure that the Brits want him out of their system as soon as possible and custodial remand is likely to encourage him to forego a long, drawn out selection of legal delaying-the-inevitable tactics (which British taxpayers get stung for the costs of incidently).

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    I don't think the hackers care about Wikileaks

    Bearing in mind that the fact that hackers have attacked any company that refuses to deal with Wikileaks which I think will pretty much guarantee that no company will want anything to do with Wikileaks again...

    There are three possibilities here.

    1) The hackers are naive enough to believe that this action will work.

    2) The hackers are just looking for an excuse to attack these sites and don't really care about Wikileaks (despite their protestations)

    3) The conspiracy theorist in me says these hackers are actually employed by the government to stop these companies supporting Wikileaks.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      They're not 'hackers' - they've even said so themselves. They're people with a DDoS tool. Stop glorifying something with an incorrect label; it renders the rest of your argument obsolete.

      As for the legal action - I'm sure that will stop everything. I mean, when the RIAA started taking people to court it stopped people downloading MP3s pretty quickly!

      Oh wait...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      They're doing it for the same reason anyone does anything

      for the lulz!

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    I love the Internet


    No popcorn icon?

  10. Bilgepipe

    Full Circle


    - WikiLeaks leaks a bunch of information about collateral damage

    - Governments try to stop them by getting companies to withdraw services to WikiLeaks

    - Bunch of self-righteous cowards hiding behind a pretentious name and BS "manifesto" attack companies

    - Attacks cause collateral damage to individuals who had nothing to do with any of it in the first place other than using services provided by said companies.

    Don't tell me - "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Naughtyhorse

      you said it

      you ARE part of the problem.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      By daring to suggest that Anonymous kids might be Wrong, you've clearly shown yourself up as a fully-paid-up tool of The Establishment, since everyone knows that the kids are entirely , completely and eternally Right, whether they're breaking the law one day, or pretending to care about the rule of law on another.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    broadband for everybody

    Now governments will see the need for broadband for everybody.

    If you have enough bandwidth to waste you to can take part of a DDOS attack to some company you don't like or maybe even better to some government you don't like.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      re: broadband for everybody

      Actually i think it's more the opposite, they know already that connecting us all up will let us self-organise into some other dynamic, which may or may not include them and their gravy trains, and that is why it has taken until 2010 to get the *asymmetrical* low-speed junk that we do, that is why they are happy to have a fragmented, multi-speed internet, that is why they are dragging their heels on all kinds of modernisation, because they know they are at least a little bit redundant - but their paypackets and egos are more important to them than us, and our future, and the future of our planet and civilisation.

      Asymmetrical DSL as in uneven, one-sided. And this is why they are evil and bad, because they are deliberately stringing out our emancipation, so as to prolong their own comfort, despite the fact that we elect them, and pay them, to do precisely the opposite.

      1. david wilson

        @AC 12:59

        Nice one!

        It seemed like you were actually being serious at first, but I'm afraid you failed to degenerate into capital letters or illiteracy, or otherwise foam at the mouth.

        You really can't afford a consistent level of rage or sanity when trying the Big Brother Rant - it just doesn't ring true.

        I know it's harder now you can't just slip in a couple of paranoid (and ideally irrelevant) references to NuLabour home secretaries, but I'm afraid that golden age is behind us now.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @David Wilson

          What! I'm afraid you have failed to make a point. Please return to the end of the queue.

          My point is that we are all slaves, enchained by information starvation. I also alluded to the Emancipation Proclamation written by a certain Abraham Lincoln that says, amongst other things, that all slaves will be freed, and the government of the United States will "recognise and maintain the freedom" of such persons.

          Big Brother doesn't come into it so much, it's a cool icon though, don't you think?

          1. david wilson

            @AC 19:57

            A fairly small queue, it seems.

            >>"My point is that we are all slaves, enchained by information starvation"

            Oh, you're so right.

            We've so much less information than people used to have, it's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

            I mean, when I pulled down a massive Photoshop update yesterday, *I had to actually WAIT for it to download*! - how can people be expected to live in such deprivation?

            If I can't download a 1080p video of a cat falling off a television in less than a second, I might as well just end it all right now. I mean, more than a couple of seconds and I'll likely not even be interested any more. I hate cats. They're *so* boring.

            And it's obviously someone else's job to give me a faster connection, whether I'm willing to pay for it or not.

            /And/ I shouldn't have to ask. Just moaning about it on the Internet should be more than enough, since I'm sure there must be someone employed just to check my latest online musings.

            But instead, these corrupt politicians spend billions on education and healthcare, and they do that out of pure naked spite, just so they can prevent me watching 4 3D HD TV channels at once and achieving true enlightenment.

  12. BeachBoy

    Bigger issue

    The bigger issue here is the US government has discovered a new tool to control the bits of the internet it doesn't approve of. Namely muscling the Mastercard and Visa boys.

    It first did this to clamp down on the foreign online gambling sites, that were stealing all the lovely tax revenue from the vegas Mob, and now Wikileaks has pissed it off it's using the card people to try to cut off the funding there. This tactic is much less blatant than simply blocking sites which would immediately generate huge negative publicity and probably generate a few freedom of speech legal cases, but is just as effective

    Who or what will be next?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >>"Next time they will likely have to seek clarification from the courts as to whether the governments request is legitimate at least,"

        And if a request is legal, and they comply with it, and the Anonymous lot don't like it, they'll get attacked anyway, since the Anonymous lot don't give a shit about what's legal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The DoJ has been doing this to porn sites for years. Nothing new.

  13. Glenn Charles

    Degradation of information

    First of all, an examination of the motives behind Wikileaks itself pretty much means it's a commercial enterprise of some sort. Essentially it's a portrayal of the bumbling American at his...not best or worst, but usual.

    Secondly, the comments like the DDoS attacks have steadily degraded toward flaming in a chat room.

    --Glenn Charles

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will turn out to be true irony

    is that had Anonymous not started the attacks against MC, Visa, Paypal and Joe Liberman, Wikileaks could probably have gone on for ages dribbling out information that was of little real consequence but garnered huge headlines and lots of mullah for the money grubbers at Wikileaks.

    But in going after MC and Visa they have moved from an annoyance that could be tolerated to a threat which must be stomped out. And now the legal tools and power of government will be combined with the money and power of big corporations with both focused on doing that. The arrest in the Netherlands was but the first. The internets will now tighten and what little anonymity we once had will be gone as well.

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