In an attack coordinated on the 4Chan message board, a group that calls itself Anonymous has pulled the MasterCard website down. This denial-of-service attack has been dubbed “Operation Payback.” The Anonymous attack on MasterCard was in response to the card company taking down WikiLeaks donations.
Anonymous attack on MasterCard
This morning, the MasterCard website was running slow and, at times, not available at all. This is due to a denial of service attack on the MasterCard website. The attack was organized on the 4Chan message board and involved hundreds, if not thousands of “hacktivsits.” By saturating the MasterCard website with external communication requests, the hackers protected by the name Anonymous took down the MasterCard website.
Operation Payback by Anonymous
The takedown of MasterCard’s site was the first volley in what Anonymous calls “Operation Payback.” This coordinated hack attack on the MasterCard website was intended to punish MasterCard. Last week, Mastercard (along with Visa and PayPal) withdrew funding services for the group WikiLeaks. The Anonymous group is calling this a “hacktivist” move – activism through hacking.
Punishment for MasterCard’s action on WikiLeaks
The Anonymous hacktivist takedown of the MasterCard website was organized after MasterCard admitted that its took down payment service for WikiLeaks at the request of the State Department. Users of 4Chan, as well as many others, are calling this tantamount to censorship of the WikiLeaks website. One often-repeated tweet pointed out that individuals could still use MasterCard and Visa to donate to the KKK, but not to WikiLeaks. It is possible that Operation Payback will try to bring down websites for Visa and PayPal next. Either way, these services are facing problems for their denial of services to WikiLeaks. The IT firm that services WikiLeaks plans to sue both Mastercard and Visa for doing “irreversible harm” to its business.