back to article UK.gov braces for Anonymous hacklash

UK government websites have been warned to brace themselves for website attacks in the wake of the arrest of five Britons as part of an investigation into Anonymous this week. Members of the loosely knit Anonymous hacking collective condemned the arrests, arguing that denial of services attacks are a legitimate protest tactic …

COMMENTS

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  1. Pete B
    Pirate

    Political protest

    Whilst it should be fairly obvious that attacking the websites of commercial entity such as Mastercard is going to come under the Computer misuse act I wonder if attacking government sites could be argued to be a legitimate political protest?

    1. Ian Yates

      Protest

      While they may or may not believe their own statement, it is an interesting topic.

      What normal right of protest can you make against an online organisation? I feel like DDoS /should/ be illegal (maybe just because I know the CMA says so), but I agree that everyone has the right to peaceful protest.

      If the parallel is what happened to Top Shop and Vodafone for less than a day regarding their tax-evasion (surely just a Present Denial of Service?), then maybe I'm wrong to be against DDoS...

      1. hwinslow

        Not protest

        The difference between real life protests and internet protests is that real life protests have a tangible cost. A protest of fifty people requires fifty people to show up at the location.

        A DDoS involves intangible things that can be reproduced trivially. A bunch of bored teenagers can DDoS a site. If these kids are manually refreshing a web page, then maybe you could call it a protest. But they're not. They can go to sleep and leave their computer to "protest" without any effort on their part.

    2. Jeff 11
      Thumb Down

      @PeteB

      "I wonder if attacking government sites could be argued to be a legitimate political protest?"

      It could not be. Legitimate political protest involves no crime. Deliberately impairing computer systems most certainly does not (Computer Misuse Act section 3).

      1. Anton Ivanov
        Flame

        Hate to be the devil advocate here

        A lot of legitimate political protests actually can fall under anything from Highway code (obstructing a public highway) to criminal code - nuissanse, assault, etc.

        This one is a classic: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4627178.stm - Nuissance and obstruction combined.

        However, in most democratic countries the rule of thumb is - if there is no damage and if it is absolutely clear what the protest is about, than do not prosecute. There is no rule of thumb for the Internet so far and the criminal code in its current form actually completely prohibits any form of protest. If you dump the Internet equivalent of a dead whale in front of the Japanese embassy website you are going to rot in jail for a while. If that does not apply for some reason you are going to get the libel legislation used to ensure you have no money for any protesting until you die.

        Is that right? Dunno... Do not think so... We are going to end up conducting most of our business online one day so there should be an online "rulebook" of what is an allowed protest and what is not and for what the police is expected to prosecute. This may actually include leeway on some of the offences under the computer misuse and other parts of the penal code same as for "normal" protest. If we do not we will actually feed organisations like Anonymous instead of suppressing them.

        So the end result is that we will have more and more damaging illegal protests instead of manageable legal ones which can be handled by technical means.

      2. David Hicks
        FAIL

        Legitimate protest and crime

        "Legitimate political protest involves no crime."

        What on earth are you on about?

        If the laws are bad then legitimate political protest can certainly involve crime as currently defined. Look at the civil rights and suffragettes movements. Look at all sorts of things.

        I'm not saying it's the case here, but sometimes you have no choice but to break the law in order to make a legitimate protest.

        Or are you one of those that thinks direct action is always wrong and that laws should be changed for the better through the democratic protest?

        In which case.... ROFL. The very idea of democratic change for the better directed by the people! I've rarely heard anything so damned hilarious!

  2. bertino
    Linux

    Eh?

    "This has since been circulated around many open source websites"

    What? They are trying to blame open source for this? WTF!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh indeed

      Blame open source probably not, more likely is they don't know what open source means and/or they think a collective of anonymous people can somehow be the same as/related to freely shared programming code.

    2. Scorchio!!

      Re: Eh?

      ""This has since been circulated around many open source websites"

      What? They are trying to blame open source for this? WTF!"

      Did they say that? No, they stated a fact, namely citing a category of website where the data are to be found.

      1. richard 55
        FAIL

        eh indeed

        "No, they stated a fact, a category of website where the data are to be found"

        I think you're a little confused. There are no facts here - only some rather ignorant assumptions and utter confusion.

        Please show me the multitude of 'open source' websites that the letter 'circulated' on.

    3. dhodder
      Stop

      'open source' != 'open source software'

      I believe they're referring to open source intelligence (OSINT), i.e. intelligence produced by analysing publicly available materials. They're not referring to open source software. Usage of the term 'open source' in this sense predates its use in software.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open source

    I find the government press release's implication that the open source movement is somehow implicated in these activities offensive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Two things...

      1) They don't mean open source, in terms of open source code, just that the software comes from sources which are open for anyone to use.

      2) This is really an aside to the above, but: If I wanted to get a copy of LOIC, I'd go to sourceforge where the project is hosted. Sourceforge is open source in both senses of the expression. There is no implication that this means FOSS=BAD. You just have to look at how much FOSS is used by government - usually in back end systems - they're hardly likely to demonise their own systems.

  4. Ally J
    Black Helicopters

    The 'Anonymous' statement does make another valid point....

    that there seems to have been no effort made to find out who's been working to take down Wikileaks in similar DDoS attacks.

    It could be, of course, that Plod have merely failed to communicate clearly the extent of their unceasing international efforts to bring these other miscreants to justice.

    Or it could be that it's a lot easier to nick technologically naive teenagers mucking about with corporate sites than it is to get details of people doing DDoS attacks on anti-authority web sites.

    1. blackcat
      FAIL

      Nope

      "that there seems to have been no effort made to find out who's been working to take down Wikileaks in similar DDoS attacks."

      Well first wikileaks would have to go to the met and put in a complaint about the DDoSers and most likely submit lots of logs.

      And somehow I doubt wikileaks would let 'da man' see the logs showing who has been accessing their website.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Or....

    They could take the normal route which is to submit a formal complaint, start a petition, rouse support from those affected / interested, create an Independant Party, get into the HoC and start fixing the problems in the system that way.

    People that try to say 'DDOS is a legitimate way of protesting online' are the same people that say 'Films / music should be free online'. Both arguments are full of crap.

    Denying a service, (Read the denying bit there) is preventing others from using that service which infringes on their rights just as downloading an illegal copy of a song for free is straight, black and white, theft.

    They should also pay more attention to what's really happening with Assange / Wikileaks (Million dollar book rights, donations & financial support, attempts to sue the Guardian for.... Leaking...- He's not the White Knight in this scenario at all...)

    Anyone that goes on 4chan will know most of them are uneducated muppets that think child porn and general abuse / nastiness is acceptable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      /b/ != 4chan

      "Anyone that goes on 4chan will know most of them are uneducated muppets that think child porn and general abuse / nastiness is acceptable."

      That's certainly true of /b/, but some of the other boards are full of pretty good discussion.../v/ for instance has fairly serious computer games threads.

    2. Ragarath

      Denied!

      "Denying a service, (Read the denying bit there) is preventing others from using that service which infringes on their rights just as downloading an illegal copy of a song for free is straight, black and white, theft."

      Not sticking up for them as taking anything down that others rely upon is wrong but... Staging a physical protest outside a shop would generally do the same thing. People would not normally go in to in theory it could be argued this way. Physical protests also jam streets (which we should be able to use etc.) and other things.

      It is a point that needs more clarification. How do you tell a peaceful protest in this manner from a malicious attack? To take the physical analogy peaceful would be people outside said shop encouraging people not to enter whilst malicious would be blowing it up or driving a car into it.

      Perhaps a way of clarifying this would be if it denies all access or just slows the site down.

      Friday afternoon ramblings ahoy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Or

      "They could take the normal route which is to submit a formal complaint, start a petition, rouse support from those affected / interested, create an Independant Party, get into the HoC and start fixing the problems in the system that way."

      You're so naive it's almost child-like.

      How cute.

    4. Thumbs
      Megaphone

      If peaceful protest worked

      They'd make that illegal too!

    5. crowley
      Thumb Down

      Re: (Err)Or...

      "Denying a service...." etc.

      You do realise that going on strike denies the employer from making a service, do you not? And that marching the streets may impact on the availability of shops? And, gosh, perhaps all that linking arms with handcuffs in buried concrete pipes, etc to block construction sites, access to infrastructure, etc might deny services too. And what about trucks driving slowly in the fuel protest?

      Say what you can about 4chan muppets - it does not detract from the fact that denial of service is well established as a form of civil disobedience type protesting.

      But lets take your suggestions:

      Complaints - Easily ignored

      Petitions - Still ignored (petitions.gov.uk?!)

      Rouse support - To have little meetings that are also ignored

      Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please...

      There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest.

      1. Scorchio!!
        FAIL

        Re: Re: (Err)Or...

        Pissing about with someone else's equipment is an altogether different matter. It is in breach of law. People will be convicted for it. You'll see.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: Re: (Err)Or...

        ".....You do realise that going on strike denies the employer from making a service...." In that case, you have a direct contract with the employer, and you have the right to strike and protest your pay/conditions as long as you do so within employment and civil laws. Should you strike illegally then the employer can go to the courts to have your strike declared illegal, which then gives the employer the rights to fire or discipline the illegal strikers, just as employees have the rights to bring a case against an employer that is operating outside the law (e.g., not paying minimum wage or not supplying the required safety equipment). DDoSing a commercial or government site is a completely different case entirely, so your comparisson is moot.

        "....And what about trucks driving slowly in the fuel protest?...." Where the Police judged that the drivers' actions were in breach of traffic law they were stopped and charged, but the reality is there is no minimum speed requirement for public highways, otherwise caravans would be in a heap of the smelly stuff. However, there are laws against misuse of computers, which is what DDoSing is.

        "....it does not detract from the fact that denial of service is well established as a form of civil disobedience type protesting....." No, it is not well established at all, it is rare as a form of political protest, but it was a widely used tactic amongst criminal gangs trying to exrtort money from online companies, hence why the laws exist.

        "....Complaints - Easily ignored.... Petitions - Still ignored (petitions.gov.uk?!)....Rouse support - To have little meetings that are also ignored...." When the volume is small becuase your ideas have little practical support. If your ideas had true widespread support amongst the electorate then politicians would sit up and take notice because their jobs depend on it. All you have done is illustrate the tiny minority that support your actions and/or point of view.

        ".....Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please....." Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority. If your ideas are such hokum that you cannot raise even a percent of the populance to support you then it should be a very indicator to you that you are talking male bovine manure.

        "......There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest." There's also a long list of minority groups that tried to force their views on the majority by direct action, such as the Animal Liberation Front and CND, and they usually fail. We still have hamburgers and Trident. It's that democracy thing - no matter how much you think your idea is The Unvarnished Truth, unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time. Should you get upset at the lack of support and go for "direct action" and commit a criminal act, all you will do is portray yourself to that majority as criminals and further erode any support. The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          @ Matt Bryant

          "No, it is not well established at all, it is rare as a form of political protest," Maybe he is French? It seems barely a month goes by that somebody here isn't out on strike for something. But, then, the ability to withhold your services in order to defend your conditions of work is something that is codified (in a complicated way) into the Code du Travail [union backed, not wildcat]

          "Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority." Oh, that's cute. Don't forget the so-called democracy allows a voter to choose the *local* candidate for which party will represent them in their locality. All of this is added up to determine which party shall prevail (or <cough> not) in Westminster. And the leader of the party? The ideas guy who shapes the view of the party and influences the direction of the country? Ummm... Yeah. Unlike numerous other western countries, the British voter didn't get a tick-box for "David Cameron" (etc). Then there's the Scottish problem of what powers Holyrood has vs Westminster. The UK has a constitution of sorts, but nothing is codified in one place. But then under British law, the government has supremacy, thus even if there was a constitution there would be no grounds for arguing that a new law is "unconstitutional". The best we have is to say that it would be contrary to agreed EU legislature. But even that can be ignored - retained DNA samples being an example. Oh, and incidentally the voter turnout for recent UK elections has been around two thirds. Democracy can be decided by a mere third of the populace. Does this represent a majority, or only those who bothered to get up off their asses and vote?

          That said, what do Anon think they are going to achieve screwing with government servers? "Oooh yes, we crashed www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk, oooh, oooh". Yeah. Right... They do understand, don't they, that the arrested members were arrested because what those people did is considered illegal under British law? If Anon want to do something useful, why don't they fight the extradition of Gary McKinnon? Or is it better to big it up and provide a warning from "the citizens of the world". How could they write that with a straight face? There is some truth in their letter, but is DDoS the protest for the new millennium? <yawn>

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            RE: @ Matt Bryant

            ".....Maybe he is French?...." I'm not surprised a sensible point of view is foreign to you, in fact yours seems so alien to logic I'd have to label you not French but a space cadet.

            "....It seems barely a month goes by that somebody here isn't out on strike for something...." Ah, I suspect in your naivety you forgot about a certain union puppet called Ed getting the Labour leadership? Ever wonder why the NUS is pushing students out to protest? Ed Milliband needs to make Cameron have a hard time so his buddies in the unions are striking like there's no tomorrow. Strangely, they are striking over exactly the same conditions and/or cuts they would have to have faced if Labour had won the election, and in many cases pay/conditions that existed under Broooon when the unions were quieter than church mice. If you didn't foresee union "disquiet" in the event of a Tory victory then it just highlights your lack of experience in UK politics.

            ".....Unlike numerous other western countries, the British voter didn't get a tick-box for "David Cameron"...." Since I'm asuming you're only old enough to have witnessed the one election (did your Dad take you along to the booth with him?), I'll point something out you would have noticed if you had seen a few more elections - on the ballot were lots of local candidates, all from different parties. LibDems, Labour, Tory, Greens, all types of independents and protest groups. If your idiocy had enough support then you could field candidates in as many burroughs as you like and actually uspet the political status quo (it's been done before, the original two political parties in the UK being the Tories and the Liberals, with Labour coming much later). But, your own dismissal of this idea is indicative of your own subconcious acknowledgement that your ideas will never gain popularity, if only because you realise they are just the technological "thrill-ride" of skiddies with PCs and too much time on their hands.

        2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          @ Matt Bryant

          Although you do have a couple of good points within your post, I find the views one-sided and rather authoritarian.

          Let us start with this:

          QUOTE: ".....Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please....." Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority. If your ideas are such hokum that you cannot raise even a percent of the populance to support you then it should be a very indicator to you that you are talking male bovine manure.

          -----------------------------------------------------------

          The point is that even if your ideas can raise a percent of votes within the UK populace, you will not gain a seat in parliament. 1% equates to about 6 seats, but you will be unlikely to gain even one, unless all your support is concentrated in a few constituencies. This is the reason for the unfairness of the FPTP system, and is the reason smaller parties, though having a fair amount of support from the voters, have no say in parliament. So what is the point of starting your own party?

          By the way, this would probably not change even under the AV system. We would need a real PR system to redress this.

          QUOTE: "......There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest." There's also a long list of minority groups that tried to force their views on the majority by direct action, such as the Animal Liberation Front and CND, and they usually fail. We still have hamburgers and Trident. It's that democracy thing - no matter how much you think your idea is The Unvarnished Truth, unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time. Should you get upset at the lack of support and go for "direct action" and commit a criminal act, all you will do is portray yourself to that majority as criminals and further erode any support. The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange.

          -----------------------------------------------------------

          While I agree that some groups go too far, any member of the public should have the right to protest against that which he feels is unjust, whether a large group with thousands of people's support, or just you on your own.

          All protests, even peaceful protests, cause some form of damage. If a group of protesters congregates outside a supermarket, protesting their use of battery-farmed chickens, it causes damage to:

          * The supermarket, in lost custom, damaged reputation etc

          * The UK Government, in the form of policing costs

          * Nearby businesses, once again from lost custom

          * Other citizens trying to use the area, who will at least be impeded in trying to access the supermarket.

          Yet this is an accepted form of protest.

          A DDoS could be thought of in the same way. Yes, there will be collateral damage, but the main aim is to prevent access to a particular server. It may cause problems for other sites, but it should not cause permanent damage (on it's own), and can be seen in the same light. (N.B., I am not saying I agree, just that it could be seen in this light)

          However, back to a specific point you made:

          "unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time"

          Whether or not this is true could be debated, but the fact is it shouldn't be the case.

          Most people do not care either way about anything which does not directly affect them, or at least not enough to do anything about it. But if 1 person in the entire country supports an idea, and nobody opposes it, then why should that person's view be ignored? That person's idea is as valid as anyone else's, and without opposition should be viewed as a strong case (100% of people with an opinion about it are in favour).

          Peacefull protest is a legitimate way to publicise your idea, and should be allowed. Without it, it would be very easy for governments to hide opposition to their ideas, and present a face of country wide support for a widely unpopular idea.

          Oh, one last thing:

          "The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange."

          Not only is this a very authoritarian (or even fascist) point of view in my oppinion, but the way you have worded it does not portray you in a very good light. When a debate deteriorates to name-calling and personal attacks, it has lost it's way. I am not saying you are wrong, but you damage your own side of the argument with comments such as these.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            RE: @ Matt Bryant (Dr Mouse)

            ".....The point is that even if your ideas can raise a percent of votes within the UK populace, you will not gain a seat in parliament...." Three things you missed. Firstly, you could deliberately target seats with a wafer majority, so that politicians standing in the area may have to adopt your proposals to ensure they gain enough votes. Secondly, you if you had a real grievance that did have public ressonance, you could hype it like crazy as a one-policy candidate with the intent of painting the incumbent as the cause of the issue (think Martin Bell). Thirdly, if you were really commited (rather than just playing at politics from Mom's basement) and had widespread support amongst the youth vote, you could copy the NUS and encourage students to move and register in such wafer burroughs to help boost your local support. After all, students are probably the most easily led social group, always up for a bit of mild revolution and "sticking it to the Man", as shown by the recent student protests (IIRC, a BBC straw poll of students at one of the Whitehall protests found most couldn't even explain the cuts they were protesting!). Our electoral system is just that, a system, and therefore can be gamed just like any system.

            ".....any member of the public should have the right to protest against that which he feels is unjust...." Agreed, I have no problem with anyone protesting whatever they like, as long as they do so within the law. What annoys me is when they come on these forums and sprout their silliness without a thought, and then get upset when challenged on the veracity of their drivel.

            "......Yet this is an accepted form of protest...." You conveniently forgot to mention that, as long as the protestors had gone through the right procedures such as registering their protest and completing a safety review, they were acting within the law. The laws around protests do not seek to stop the target being "damaged", they just make sure that the "damage" is done legally. ALF protesters marching on an agreed protest route around a supermarket chain HQ is legal, regardless of the loss of business to the chain. ALF nutters setting bomb under lab technicains' cars is illegal. Not hard to follow.

            ".....Whether or not this is true could be debated, but the fact is it shouldn't be the case....." Sorry, but that's just the get-out clause of all anarchists and extremeists - "what I'm doing is for your own good and you'd know that if only you weren't so oppressed/stupid". Who are you to tell me or anyone else what is right for the majority when you have not been appointed to do so by that same majority? If you cannot convince us to follow your point of view then you will have to accept that.

            "....Most people do not care either way about anything which does not directly affect them, or at least not enough to do anything about it....." Ever heard of Band Aid? At most, only a tiny fraction of the people in the US or UK or most other countries that contributed were directly affected by the suffering in Ethiopia, but look what was achieved by a small group of people who decided they wanted to make a difference, legally. Sorry, but if you can't be bothered to really do something inside the law becasue you don't think it will succeed, then it just shows your own lack of faith in the popularity of your ideals.

            ".....Not only is this a very authoritarian (or even fascist) point of view....." <Yawn> What a surprise, the standard squeal of the supporter of a politically fashionable viewpoint when they run out of arguments - "you're a fascist!" Please, try much harder.

            ".....When a debate deteriorates to name-calling and personal attacks, it has lost it's way...." Erm, didn't you just call me a fascist? Way to admit your own failure! I'm guessing you're an Anonysucker, and you're sulking at the fact that people aren't jumping up and down in delight at your pranks.

            1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              @ Matt Bryant

              Most of your points are well made, and I even agree with most of them. But I must point out, I did not call you a fascist. I said that particular comment was authoritarian. I should probably not even have mentioned it, although I was merely pointing out that it bordered on a fascist point of view, in my own personal opinion.

              Added to which, I so not see it as a personal attack. Even true fascists are both entitled to their opinion and entitled to voice that opinion.

              And no, I am not part of Anonymous, and for the most part I disagree with their methods. I was merely standing up for the right to protest and the right to hold a set of beliefs, even if you are in the minority, which your previous post seemed to be outright against.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                RE: @ Matt Bryant - part 1

                "......although I was merely pointing out that it bordered on a fascist point of view, in my own personal opinion...." So, in your opinion, I'm a borderline fascist? Nice distinction! Is that meant to imply I'm only likley to presecute gays, gypsies, Jews, Communists and only possibly invade Poland? Puh-lease, any time someone throws the fascist tag into a discussion it is meant to convey "you are an evil person of low moral character equivalent to a Nazi", it's simply a too emotionally-charged accusation. Your attempt to backpedal by saying it was only an opinion and "borderline" is just added comedy. Your mask slipped, your emotions ran away with you, and you couldn't help but use the term.

                ".....I so not see it as a personal attack...." Hmmm, I bet if I go ask a straw poll of peeps on the street "Would you like to be called a fascist?" the overwhelming response would be "No!"

                "......Even true fascists are both entitled to their opinion and entitled to voice that opinion....." All a nice attempt to denigrate my arguments by trying to tar me as a fascist. All because you failed to defend your own viewpoint. I think I'll just state that, in my opinion, you must be a borderline child-molester. After all, it's just an opinion, no-one would think ill of you just because I might suggest you have paadophillic tendecies....

            2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              @ Matt Bryant

              Oh, one more thing:

              'Sorry, but that's just the get-out clause of all anarchists and extremeists - "what I'm doing is for your own good and you'd know that if only you weren't so oppressed/stupid"'

              This is not what I was saying. Your previous post seemed to imply that people were "wasting their time" holding to beliefs unless they could convince a majority to support their ideals. This should not be the case. Everyone is entitled to both hold to beliefs and to try to convince others, should they choose to, so long as it is done correctly. As I said, if one person feels strongly about something, and nobody opposes it, why should their view be disregarded?

              1. david wilson

                @Dr Mouse

                >>"As I said, if one person feels strongly about something, and nobody opposes it, why should their view be disregarded?"

                Are you assuming that the thing is something other people have actually had time to consider?

                There's a pretty big gap between 'I've thought about it and I don't care either way' and 'I haven't made up my mind' or 'I haven't really thought about it'.

              2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                RE: @ Matt Bryant - part 2

                ".....Your previous post seemed to imply that people were "wasting their time" holding to beliefs unless they could convince a majority to support their ideals....." Actually, what I was trying to hammer into your thick skull was the idea that if at first you don't succeed with the legal avenues, try harder rather than just resorting to criminal acts. Even Ghandi had to overcome both apathy and the initial unpopularity of his ideas with many Indians, and he ended up gaining independence for a whole nation. When people started going on about Green issues back in the Eighties they were painted as left-over hippies by the media and politicians, yet now you it's hard to find a politician not willing to talk Green or a media eager to distribute Al Gore's latest waffling.

                Double fail in two posts!

      3. system11
        WTF?

        Legitimate form of protest? What?

        A DDoS attack results in massive collateral damage to the targets provider and other customers of that provider. In extreme cases it can result against a denial of service against other customers of the attackers provider too, as well as those in between.

        How much disruption to other people in completely unrelated places is acceptable?

  6. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    WTF?

    Whoa there are!

    "This has since been circulated around many open source websites."

    Hold on, what's this got to do with the penguin and its ilk?! So now if you run Linux, Apache, et. al, you're technically a terrorist? Typically stupid statement from technically illiterate UK Gov goons!

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Linux

      Oh goody

      I've always wanted to be a terrorist.

      It will sit well alongside my illegal arms dealing, when I used to export 128bit encryption out of the US.

      Linux icon, because today I can.

    2. Scorchio!!
      FAIL

      Re: Whoa there are!

      ""This has since been circulated around many open source websites."

      Hold on, what's this got to do with the penguin and its ilk?! So now if you run Linux, Apache, et. al, you're technically a terrorist? Typically stupid statement from technically illiterate UK Gov goons!"

      Actually the goon is you, old bean. They merely cited a category of website where the material is to be found. You're the one drawing non sequitur conclusions. Hormone problem?

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ Scorchio!!

        While what you say is technically correct and they merely stated a category of website where such material is to be found, you must look deeper to understand the psychology involved. Was it merely stating that open source websites circulate this propaganda, or is it subtley trying to sow seeds in the minds of readers (knowing that the more gullible hacks will completely misunderstand this) to give them the impression that "open source = evil"? And while we are at it, it would be nice for a list of said "open source websites" to be provided because I'm having trouble imagining that planetsourcecode and sourceforge (etc) would be a willing host to declarations of war from a hacker group against a bunch of governmental miscreants who obviously want to test if their web server is suitably hardened.

        Well, I guess I might see the threat on an open source site if it was rewritten in Cobal or FORTRAN (come on, do it oldschool!). Otherwise...

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          RE: @ Scorchio!!

          "While what you say is technically correct....." Ah, I sense another one of those "yes that's true and verifiable but I have an alternate reality view" moments coming from heyrick.....

          ".....you must look deeper to understand the psychology involved...." Which kinda hints that your own mental makeup really, really wants to think the worst possible about "The Man", and twist anything printed to "imply" whatever is the paranoid thought for the day amongst the handwringer groups.

          Please, as a member of the what is called the "open source community" (which actually seems to be many communities, some inter-linked and communicating and others quite disparate), can I ask you to please quit with the "all governments view FOSS as evil", if only because I have contracted on Linux projects for more than one government.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            @ Matt Bryant

            Before you consider my view to be an alternative reality (and thanks, I'll take that as a compliment ;-) ), why not try it? The open letter begins "Dear UK government, We are Anonymous". Google that phrase. Look at the results provided: pdfarchive, facebook, indymedia, rage3d.com forum, politicalfailblog. And in the immediate list of results, how many "open source" sites do you see listed?

            This isn't to say that there is no open source site carrying the letter, however I believe that "This has since been circulated around many open source websites" would read a lot better, and more accurately, as "This has since been circulated around many forums and chat rooms".

            While it is a bit foolish to kick "the Man" at every given opportunity (for therein lies the danger of tin foil hats), it is equally foolish to implicity trust. The governmental use of open source may be purely motivated by economics, both now (lack of licences) and future (not tied to the whims of a specific vendor). I'm not asking you to join my "alternative" view, I'm just asking that you open your eyes a little wider.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Pirate

              RE: @ Matt Bryant

              "......why not try it?....I'm just asking that you open your eyes a little wider." Because I would have to actually squint to reduce my vision to your myopic viewpoint. I'd also have to forget a lifetime of real experiences (as opposed to your imagined conspiracies), overcome my innate ability to think for myself, and still not be stupid enough to fall for the Anonyputz line.

              OK, admittedly I was young once (long, long ago, in a land time forgot, etc), and I too thought I knew better than "the establishment". Like all kids, I was convinced my generation discovered real sex, love, and the secret to peaceful co-existance (we even though our music was the pinnacle of excellence). All I wanted was for the old generation to get out of the way and let my generation run the World. I did my protests, saw beyond the masks of such political bodies as CND, and decided I'd actually best find out some "truths" for myself. I got out and saw the way the World really is, and got far too many real experiences to let me ever fall for the type of con job being peddled by Assange and co. Now, I'm part of the older generation, and I'm having to look at a new generation that seems just as convinced that they have all the answers when it is patently obvious they have as little a clue as I did at their age. Trust me, I hope you manage to get out and get some real experiences so maybe you'll too come to realise how silly you are being. Maybe you'll also find it easier to deal with the generation that follows yours, because you lot are currently just a pain in the neck.

              1. heyrick Silver badge
                Pint

                Life lessons...?

                So there is no such thing as clever psychology to push a point that might be otherwise missed? Don't you know the Good Cop/Bad Cop cliché? How about items being punted by attractively underdressed females? Or how about a declaration of war from a group thought of as troublemakers being pushed around "open source" websites (somewhat less than accurate) as opposed to "forums" (somewhat more accurate). But, hey, believe what you will. Maybe I am tilting at imaginary windmills. I do notice I'm not the only one to spot this inaccuracy. So I try to look behind the words to understand the motivation. Mistake or agenda? Don't listen to me, make your own mind up!

                Oh, and for what it is worth, please don't mistake me for somebody who supports Anonymous, or Assange. I am interested in Wikileaks for the fact that there have been too many lies and too many cover-ups by the major governments. Do we have trust in them? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Will airing some dirty little secrets help? Perhaps, perhaps not. It is an idea. A good one? A bad one? I think it says a lot about our society that something like Wikileaks turned up in the first place.

                Three things I can say, for definite. 1. I don't like Assange. A man doing what he is doing shouldn't have an ego that size. I half expect him to turn up to his next interview wearing a Superman outfit. Or maybe Batman, the "caped crusader". Whatever, it isn't important. 2. Nor are suggestions of "megaleaks". Either the info is there, or it isn't. Going all "oooh, this is gonna hurt baaaaad!" is, frankly, a bit pathetic. 3. And the final thing? Anonymous are straying into Epic Fail territory with their denial of service plans. It means exactly diddly-squat. You see, fourteen hundred thousand computers bringing uk.gov to its knees is not a protest. It is just a bunch of possibly hijacked computers firing off packets. Whoo. We might get an article about it in El Reg (concentrating more on the attack vector than who&why). You want a protest, how about fourteen hundred thousand actual real living people (though in these days of rampant apathy, I'd settle for zombies) standing around the streets of London waving placards. THAT is a protest. That might carry some weight. That might make the world headlines. That might bring about change.

          2. MarkieMark1
            Happy

            the French for instance

            so I hear, the gendarmes have Ubuntu installed

  7. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Really?

    "A declaration of war" - way to ratchet up the hyperbole chaps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      @Really?

      Pfft, thats nothing, the hyperbole generator goes up to 11, don'tcherknow.

      Next week it'll be something like "People invloved in DDoS attacks also proven to rape you whilst you sleep! In your own bed!"

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Unhappy

      War.

      This means you can dispense with normal criminal justice and just shoot them all instead.

  8. Sonny Jim
    WTF?

    Open source

    I've been looking but can't seem to find a source for the "This has since been circulated around many open source websites" quote, as I'd like to formally complain about it. Could someone point me in the direction as to where this bit of drivel came from?

    As an aside, the Scotland Yard statement you linked to has this at the bottom of the page:

    "IMPORTANT NOTE: This site is for the use of media organisations only.

    Media organisations should not publish links to this site."

    Oops.

    1. oddie

      weaselwords...

      Shoulda woulda coulda... I'm pretty sure you can publish that link as much as you want, you merely 'shouldn't' pass it on,..

      I guess much like everyone on this forum should give me 10 quid each.

    2. nyelvmark
      Thumb Up

      Out of cheese error

      Media organisations should not publish links to this site."

      Oops.

      El Reg practising civil disobedience.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Job creation

    Prosecuting hackers is a good means to create jobs and get scum off the streets. I say prosecute them all. It's good for everyone except the perps.

    1. Walking Turtle
      Stop

      BANKSTERS FIRST!

      And that is all! :)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April.

    "In related developments, the five UK suspects in the case have been released on police bail until April, pending further inquiries."

    They'll need that time to search all their computers for illegal sexual images.

    1. david wilson

      @Norfolk 'n' Goode

      >>"They'll need that time to search all their computers for illegal sexual images."

      Well, I guess that they may not want to interrupt the schooling of the various children involved, at least for the moment.

      No doubt if there'd been some unusually /quick/ progress to trial, various people would be complaining about the arrested ones being fast-tracked for one or other nefarious reason.

  11. andy 10
    WTF?

    Why is it illegal?

    Surely a denial of service attack on a website - when people have downloaded the required software and have chosen to participate - is equivalent to lorry drivers doing a go slow on the motorway or people blocking the entrance to a shop.

    Unless the people arrested were running a botnet I don't get why it's illegal...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because you can't deny access

      IIRC (and my memory is cloudy), you can block the doors to a shop (for example), but if someone wants to get in you can't stop them, or harrass them.

      With DDoS the 'visitor' doesn't get that choice. You've eaten the bandwidth so they don't get the option to (metaphorically) squeeze past you shyly.

      Could be wrong, but I'm sure thats what I was told the last time the Union wanted to strike

    2. Bounty

      huh?

      Why do you think it's legal to physically block the entrance to a shop? This is how peaceful (sometimes lawful) protests turn violent and riot cops show up. Just because you're protesting, doesn't suddenly mean laws don't apply to you.

    3. Scorchio!!

      Re: Why is it illegal?

      "Surely a denial of service attack on a website - when people have downloaded the required software and have chosen to participate - is equivalent to lorry drivers doing a go slow on the motorway or people blocking the entrance to a shop."

      Category error; the equipment is not a public highway.

    4. Rolf Howarth
      Coat

      Re: Why is it illegal?

      "Surely a denial of service attack on a website - when people have downloaded the required software and have chosen to participate - is equivalent to lorry drivers doing a go slow on the motorway or people blocking the entrance to a shop."

      Both of which are illegal, yes. (Wilfully causing an obstruction.)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Why is it illegal?

      Lorry Drivers doing a go slow are not allowed to block all lanes on the motorway when mkaing their protests, then they are breaking the law and they know it.

      If you remember lorry drivers did try and blockade the refineries to starve the country of fuel to force the government change policy and it was broken up by force and the law changed to ensure it doesn't happen again. A DDoS is much like this sort of blockade, "Do as we say or suffer the consequences".

      Likewise if you block access to a shop preventing all physical access, instead of just protesting outside and leaving a path in for customers very soon police will make you clear a path to allow the public to enter as your creating an obstruction.

      You want to protest? Fine but a DDoS is not protest as it crosses that line from simple protest to threats and blackmail.

  12. Dennis Wilson
    Thumb Down

    WTF

    When thos nerds at Anonymous put those comments on various websites all they did was to confirm that plod busted the right people

  13. A handle is required
    Thumb Down

    [Steal this title]

    And so, Anonymous' little sh1t flinging contents continues.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not the DDoS they should be worried about.

    As happened with ACS (anyone heard what's going on with them recently?), the service denial inflicted on their websites should be of the least concern. Among those calling themselves Anonymous there will be a minority crazy/skilled enough to do something a hell of a lot more significant than hindering people taxing their cars for a few days.

    Not saying this is how it would go, but it's near a dead cert there's at least one lowly public sector data-entry temp (been there, done that) who's a regular on /b/ and capable of doing a Bradley Manning.

    1. Walking Turtle
      Stop

      Misprison of Felony...

      Is, in essence, the knowing concealment of crimes one has substantive knowledge of, but in which one has not directly participated. (ie wrongful keeping of the crime to ones' self.)

      IMVHO under that law, ones' being "capable of doing a Bradley Manning" is no disgrace at all. Indeed, quite the contrary!

      Although that man has indeed been harshly imprisoned and held incommunicado for his Forbidden Transfer of the Forbidden Truth re US crimes against all manner of Normal People in the Afghani+Iraqui theatre-of-criminal-military-operations, and by all accounts (except his jailers', of course) is to this day being treated to numerous forms of internationally-defined actual *torture* while confined, Good Private Manning has indeed avoided committing the Unforgivable Crime of Misprison. After all: Disclosure, though messy, is a healthy part of any honest means of stopping all manner of crime-in-progress, now is it not?

      Politics and crime seem to be bedded right snug together these days, now don't they? So what other means has *ever* put any manner of *genuine* stop to the Deadly Profitable Elite Shenanigans, infandous hasbara and all? Just think:

      Perhaps one day the Moral Leader of the Free World(FNORD!) might ever decide in corporatized concert and congress to Just Do Likewise and stop *all* her Wars-Of-Choice, even per yesterday's Nuremberg Specification and today's Rome Statute alike...? Heaven speed that Blessed Day - and FREE PRIVATE MANNING even long before then!

      Mister Julian Assange himself has both this one's thumbs up for President of the Genuinely Honest and Bankster-Free New Turtle Island nation that Ain't Here (Yet). This one is right fairly certain that he could indeed take the heat, Stay Honest and be Not Insane throughout his term. Frankly, I for one tend to think from US History (the *real* stuff, thank you!) that Mister Thomas Jefferson would gladly have voted likewise.

      Anyone else remember Mr. Nelson Mandela's rocky start from Robbin Island...?

      Why the hey NOT? And that is all. :)

      1. Walking Turtle
        Coat

        So pray tell: Why...

        is there a "No Voting" note on this one's Manning<=>Assange response to the prior poster's (apparently terrorganda-driven) "pull a Bradley Manning" jibe, please? Too far afield...? (Gee, oopsie 'n' ohwow if so.)

        Miz Bee et al, I love you all and am not throwing any stone at your very busy hive. But the sore-thumb-like apparent Denial of Ballot in a well-attended forum thread that inclines toward the open exploration of First Principles of Essential Law and Justice in our Deeply Compromised World is entirely too noticeable to fail mention in passing... A perspective-defining example, albeit drawn from another arena, is this poster's intent. So why should others ever not give voice thereunto (be it pro or con samesame) via The Vote, same as all others, please?

        Granted, YT's response to the prior post was indeed not directly about 'Nonymuss, of which I have said nothing and have nothing to say. (Wuzzat myoopsie?)

        Awaiting your reply. Thank you for Beeing There. Meanwhile: Tab paid and coat in hand.

        And that is all! 0{~:-(o< = WT =

  15. RobL
    FAIL

    FUD raising and sensationalist article.

    "A Scotland Yard statement warns that those tempted to download attack software in order to participate in further DDoS attacks also risk arrest."

    WHERE? There is nothing in the Scotland Yard statement that suggests you risk arrest just for downloading the software, just as there is nothing in English law that makes the act of downloading the software illegal. It is when you use it, that you break the law.

    Poor bit of FUD and sensationalism. Shame on you John Leyden. I expect this sort of thing from the Daily Mail, not The Register.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      RE: FUD raising and sensationalist article.

      Whilst downloading the tool alone is not illegal, if there is a record of you and your mates planning to use then that is conspiracy to commit a crime in some countires. Of course, should you download a version specially modified to expressly target anti-terrorist institutions then you are wandering into the area of "terrorist activity", where possession alone may constitute a crime.

      Ok, all hypothetical, alledged, etc. Company A has a luser that used a company laptop to download LOIC after an online discussion with an equally deluded friend. Company A's legal department may have advised as roughly follows (please check with your own legal resource before acting stupidly as the laws in your locale may be different, my repetition of an alledged verbal discussion may not be complete, and I won't be liable if you do):

      /snip

      The LOIC software is a single-purpose tool (it's only purpose is to commit a DDoS attack, therefore it has a criminal puprose) but ownership of such a tool is in itself not a crime. If you can claim you downloaded it for another purpose (e.g., study, or that for security purposes you decided you should examine the code to prevent it's use by company employees), then no criminal act has occured. Such arguments are weakened if you do not have a believable reason for downloading the tool for another purpose (e.g., if you work in the marketting department there is no reason why you would be researching the tool for company security, it is not your job). Downloading in itself (preparation) is not a criminal act but can be used in court by the prosecution to imply you had intent and the means (i.e., it was premeditated, not accidental).

      If you have communicated with another that you intended to use the tool (such as on an IRC channel or on Twitter) as part of a criminal act (a DDoS attack), that is conspiracy in many countries and can be punishable even if the final act was not committed. In building a case, the prosecution will want to show you had the means (you downloaded the tool), the motive (your nutty politics, as espoused online), and that the act took place (ISP logs showing the DDoS traffic going from your PC to the target). Failing that they may go for conspiracy if they can show you planned the act but chickened out at the last minute.

      /snip

      So, if you're feelling stupid, go downlaod LOIC but make sure you stick some comments on 4Chan that you are only interested in the code and have no intent to DDoS anyone. Do not use it on that same PC but put it on a share visible to some other sucker's PC (and hacking someone else's PC would not be a good idea), only make sure you don't leave any record of your convincing the sucker to try it, then you can fit them up as your patsy (very much Assange style). "Honest, m'lud, I only downloaded it for study, but my impressionable mate Bob copied it and then used it without my knowledge, and I feel real bad about leaving a copy for poor Bob to find, so please send him down for X years rather then me." Hey, it's all for The Cause, right? Muppets!

    2. spodula

      I suspect.

      That although the act of Downloading may not be covered, i Suspect posession may be covered under "Going equipped", as you would struggle to come up with a legal use for LOIC.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Security testing

        I downloaded it to test the new DDoS defences I was putting in place. Simples.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet more "Open Source" misuse...

    Now the UK's top civil servant, Sir Gus O'Donnell, claims social networking sites are "open source" intelligence - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12311900

    I despair.

    1. dhodder
      Stop

      'Open source' != 'open source software'

      'Open source' was a term for describing publicly available intelligence long before the OSI adopted the term to describe a software development model.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_(disambiguation)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just read the Anonymous letter

    What an absolute crock of shit.

    Thousands of people from around the world participated in the DDoS attacks? The Population of the UK alone is 60 million for fuck sake.

    Funny how it's wrong for a media company to DDoS TPB, yet Anonymous is somehow different?

    Is it just me that thinks Anonymous have massively misread public opinion on this? That their portrayal of DDoS as 'harmless' and a minor offence is nothing more than childlike?

    Exactly what I'd expect from a bunch of teeny boppers, probably spend half their time wanking to pr0n and the rest trying to pick their next target.

    I'm no fan of Mastercard et al, but why break the law for no gain? They were never going to change their stance as a result of a DDoS. Is it the best Anonymous could think of? Let alone when they started finding they didn't have enough LOIC wielding idiots to take down Amazon, must've left the conglomerates quaking in their boots.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      AC

      "Is it just me that thinks Anonymous have massively misread public opinion on this?"

      No, it's not just you.

  18. Misoriented
    Megaphone

    Legitimate protest tactic?

    "Members of the loosely knit Anonymous hacking collective condemned the arrests, arguing that denial of services attacks are a legitimate protest tactic, comparable with staging a sit-in or picketing."

    Protesters are idiots. They think they're special because they have some idea that's better than everybody else's so they can do anything they want. Usually all they end up doing is making their cause look bad, which drives away any potential support they might have found. Anonymous has taken it to a whole new level, though. They've actually claimed that property destruction is "legitimate".

    Here's what happens to a bunch of old people who stage a sit-in to ask for decent medical care (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vx_Cnw2Wxk). That's right, they get arrested, and they weren't even causing any damage.

    While it's true that peaceful picketers don't often get arrested (depending where they are, I suppose), picketers that break things do. If Anonymous wants to picket, they should go whine on Twitter with all the other self-absorbed losers.

    Terrorism, cyber or otherwise, is terrorism no matter what your ideals are.

    1. moiety

      Terrorism?

      Is it fuck. A website slowing down or even stopping does not create terror. Annoyance, I'll gant you; cost, yes. Terror? Don't be silly.

    2. dave 54
      Alert

      "Terrorism"?

      Really?

      So Anonymous has been added to the list of Proscribed Terrorist Groups, has it? I did check, but I didn't see them in the list. Maybe you're privy to goings-on at a higher level than mere mortals - certainly, your self-indulgent, bombastic whining would suggest that you see yourself as so - so I'd be much obliged if you could provide some evidence, ta.

      Even if you're going with the looser 'terrorists are people who cause terror' definition - well, still wrong. I might be terrified of getting blown up on a tube train, possibly, if I had any genuine reason to suspect such an event was about to occur. I would not be terrified of being temporarily unable to make a Mastercard payment. That's annoying, not terrifying. They are, if anything, 'annoyingists'.

  19. heyrick Silver badge

    A serious declaration of war...

    ...as opposed to, what, a half-hearted one?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      A half-hearted declaration of war

      Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her Overseas Possessions, do hereby declare that we're reasonably interested in attacking you, and might send over a few blokes in a tank, and maybe some of those new fighter plane thingies. Expect us to be mildly involved, and to give it a fairly good go before deciding you are probably not worth it.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    distinctions

    a mass attack force like anonymous is great if all you want to do is wreck up a forum or something for shits 'n giggles but its next to useless against an organisation with a real-world presence. it does get you attention which ,though quite a bit of it given how much the media like to shout about cyberwars, is probably not worth the legal risks if you haven't got the skills to do some actual damage and more importantly the skills to not get caught doing it.

    still i dont think they should be handing out silly punishments like 10years inside and £5k fines plus legal fees to kids throwing packets at a server. after all this kind of thing isn't even internet graffiti if it doesn't take down a site thats generating money (and that never really happens because they're too well equiped to be knocked out by this sort of thing). CMA probably needs updated now that this kind of 'hacking' doesn't seem scary purely because it involves the internet.

    1. david wilson

      @milkkart

      For people doing stuff from home, they can't really be sure they're *not* going to do any harm, especially if they're not really thinking of the target, merely attacking what they're told to or even just letting someone else control their DDoS tool.

      If they're doing things in the hope/expectation that it *will* cause harm to the target, that does seem like something that should be considered at least potentially illegal even if they don't succeed.

      All manner of other things are criminal even if an attempt fails.

      While not thinking of you, I'm sure that quite a few people who would argue that the Anonymous lot didn't really do anything wrong if a company they attacked *did* fend off the attack would also argue that if an attacked company succumbed, it was their own fault for not being secure enough.

  21. K T
    Linux

    Yes, open source.

    Wasn't SourceForge DDoSed recently? Obviously, the Great Open Source Wars of 2011 have begun. I can't wait for the <free software version of LOIC> attacks to come from Boston, MA!

    Either that or the "intellectual property address"-government doesn't know what they're talking about. Again.

    Either way, I'll be on the battle bridge.

  22. efeffess
    FAIL

    Man versus Gub'ment

    How long will these attacks continue before governments try some strong-arm, ownership tactics to control the Internet in an effort to prevent said attacks?

    Anonymouse is getting stale, now. (The kids, not the Coward.)

    1. Walking Turtle
      Unhappy

      Too late. Been done.

      Egypt. (Damn *both* of Hosni Mubarak's evildoin' eyes!)

      Stateside, ol' "Dirty Joe" Biden'll surely be pushing harder than ever for a US Internet Kill Switch in the days to follow, no matter who comes out on top in Cairo.

      I am very unhappy with regard to that State of Affairs and am entirely grateful for this forum, wherein I am at least able to express my discontent with the matter as it stands today in an entirely lawful (so far) and (perhaps even more importantly) civil manner. And that is all. :(

  23. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Hope

    Let's hope they get it right this time and hide the IP addresses.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about a P2P Uk.gov network ?

    http://www.coralcdn.org/

  25. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    What a load of Ball-Locks

    Once again, the spurious connection between an IP address and an individual.

    An IP does NOT indicate a single person, nor necessarily even a single computer. Without the MAC address and a witness to tie an individual to the computer with the NIC that uses the MAC address there is no proof.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err?

      An IP leads to a house, the house contains a computer, the police take it away to forensically examine it and find traces of a removed install of LOIC, the install was removed after the DDOS was assisted from the IP of the house. Assuming that you haven't already got a confession at this point and it goes to court it's a case of showing beyond reasonable doubt that the person up in court installed and operated the software. You can prove a hell of a lot with standard OS logs, beit Windows, Linux or UNIX.

      This is a criminal not a civil case.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Still circumstantial

        Until you link the specific computer to the specific person, it's still just circumstantial evidence and therefore nothing more than hearsay. That's the law. You have to prove a link.

        If you find the gun used to murder somebody in a person's house, but you have no evidence to say the owner of the house ever used the gun, then you have nothing but circumstantial evidence. You'd need actual forensic evidence (fingerprints on the gun, residue on the gun owners hands etc) to raise the level of evidence. Even then, if you couldn't prove the gun had been used BY THAT PERSON at the time the offence was committed you'd be on shaky ground when it comes to 'reasonable doubt'. Having an alibi would also destroy a case like this unless an eyewitness could counter this.

        These kids could show reasonable doubt simply by having an alibi for the time the DDoS was said to be launched. That would break any possible link between the kids in question and the computers used (even if evidence of a previous install of the software existed - it doesn't necessarily say who installed said software) and the burden would be on the CPS to prove otherwise.

        This is the key point. It's not that the police can't track down a particular address fairly trivially from the IP supplied by an ISPs DHCP service, it's that they simply can't link with that much certainty an individual person to an individual computer on the network attached to the router which has been given the IP address. And therein lies the defence's case, unless they're idiots.

        1. david wilson

          @AC

          >>"It's still just circumstantial evidence and therefore nothing more than hearsay"

          Surely, circumstantial evidence is definitely distinct from hearsay, which is why all kinds of circumstantial evidence are typically admissible in court and hearsay frequently isn't or is admissible only in very specific circumstances, and circumstantial evidence is frequently the backbone of a successful prosecution?

          >>"it's that they simply can't link with that much certainty an individual person to an individual computer on the network attached to the router which has been given the IP address."

          And you think that for a 15-year-old with LOIC and god knows what else on their PC, and parents not willing to take the rap for them, it would generally be hard for a case to be proven to many jurors' satisfaction?

    2. M Gale

      And if you use toy unix...

      It's relatively trivial to write a bash script to randomize your MAC address on boot (or any other time you run it). Methinks, as technically dumb as the govt can be, they have something a little more solid than a MAC or IP address. Say, ISP logs?

      Why aren't more of these script kiddies using a netbook and someone else's wifi?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @M Gale

        As I understand it, the MAC isn't passed beyond the first router, even if it was, the IP address is the clue here, it's the IP handed out by DHCP that the law would be primarily interested in - basically because of the nice logs at a trusted company (The ISP).

        As for using someone's unsecured wifi, this still puts the law into the local area - if they see that the old couple at number 23 are spewing out DDOS traffic from their unsecured wireless access point, but there is a connection from elsewhere, it's fairly trivial to use signal meters and work out that Dave the teenaged son who "knows about computers" at number 25 is using their network.

        1. M Gale
          Badgers

          True..

          ..but you'd have to be some kind of stupid to go only two doors down with a netbook. Quick bus or train trip to the next city might be more like it.

          But then I suppose this is /b/tards we're on about. Yeah, maybe you're right.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Open Source, A Clarification

    The use of "Open Source" in this context (and indeed the reference to the term used by Sir Gus O’Donnell) refers to Open Source Intelligence, which as quoted from Wikipedia is used to mean:

    "In the intelligence community (IC), the term "open" refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or classified sources); it is not related to open-source software or public intelligence."

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Open_source_intelligence

    If you look at other GovCertUK advisories you'll see the term used frequently to refer to publicly accessible sources.

  27. Adam T

    When's a Demonstration not a "Legal" Demonstration

    A: When people get hurt.

    You're free to stand in the street waving your billboard and shouting through a megaphone.

    Take a gun to a demonstration though and you'll pretty soon be unpopular.

    Post on Facebook, Twitter, and blog yourself silly if you want to be heard; it's all legal and the audience is out there.

    DDOS should remain illegal because the ease at which literally anyone can do it is disproportionate with the damage that can be done.

    Throwing DDOS attacks under the guise of "Crusader's for the People" is just asking for trouble. Claiming to be noble and then acting like a spoiled child, doesn't do much to help your image after the fact either.

    Don't like that your mates got into trouble? Fine, DDOS all the governments! Yeah, all your bases are belong to us, coz the only quotes we know are from videogames.

    Anarchy for lazy ass people.

  28. Charlie 3
    Stop

    Policework!

    "Once again, the spurious connection between an IP address and an individual.

    An IP does NOT indicate a single person, nor necessarily even a single computer. Without the MAC address and a witness to tie an individual to the computer with the NIC that uses the MAC address there is no proof."

    As has been pointed out before, this is not a civil case, it is a criminal investigation. The police will more than likely seize hardware to gather evidence of DoS attack tools. They also have good old fashioned policework. Seems pretty likely that a teenager caught with LOIC on the PC in their room and IP address logged is going to confess under interrogation.

    These criminal cases cannot be proven based on IP addresses in logs, and I'm sure the police know that. However, I don't suppose they'll have any trouble gathering additional evidence.

  29. two00lbwaster

    Online DDoS laws outlaw similar, offline, legal forms of protest

    If I, and two thousand of my friends, turn up at some store or other and pack it out, and pack out the street outside trying to get in, just browsing so that no one who might wish to actually give that store their business can get in that would be a denial of service attack.

    This is different to just barring the entrance and preventing access as there would be no room for the actual customers to get into the store.

    If you were to go into a bank with lots of your friends throughout the UK and remove all the brochures from those branches. That is a DDoS attack, but offline, and it would be seen as a legitimate form of protest.

    Thus, I would argue that doing so online, through the LOIC or holding your ctrl+F5 buttons for a few hours, is a legitimate form of protest, as far as I'm concerned, and would cause less of a financial impact than other forms of offline protest. (Think of the amount of cost there is in printing and stocking leaflets and brochures and denial of service on a store or bank, by filling it out with non-customers, would have on the bottom line.)

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Stop

      Wrong idea

      A DDOS attack doesn't just impact the intended site, though, but others on the same subnet, or hosted in the same place. You effectively saturate the available bandwidth, so it's more like going to a street and connecting a hosepipe to the mains water supply, and turning it on full. Non of the houses in the street would be able to get any water - or only at much reduced flow.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Who has the data?

    I heard that the student protesters that hit the political party HQ walked out with documents yet I have never seen that on the news. Is it true or just a rumour heard on the other side of the world?

  31. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    The Wikileaks Five

    I the great tradition of anti-terror justice.

    Stitch em up, send em down.

    Rinse, repeat.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the "Law"?

    The "Law" is defined by outcome of the Court process, not what is written on the piece of paper circulated by Parliament.

    If Anonymous really believe that a DDoS attack is a legal form of protest then they should assist the accused by going to court and prove themselves right in front of their peers (we the public) in the form of a Jury and Judge (you should watch the BBC4 programme on iPlayer about our senior Judges to see how sensible they actually are, and how they are not politcally motivated).

    To Anonymous - you've made your point with the attacks so far. Now make yourselves legitimate so that people will take you seriously. Any further attacks will simply make you look like terrorists in the eyes of the public, the very public you need to have on your side to effect change.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legitimate protest?

    As far as I can see, a huge difference between what various Anonymous types did and most forms of legitimate protest (strikes, sit-ins, demonstrations), etc do is that proper protest is usually done openly, at least in countries where protesters aren't in fear of death from a properly oppressive regime.

    People sitting at home and running a DDoS tool are frequently doing it on the assumption that they can't be identified, and are also often totally removed from the impact they're having on innocent people.

    Someone attacks target X's hosting company, and countless other businesses can end up losing out hugely.

    If people did run a Real Life demonstration outside a shop down the street from me and end up buggering up my business, I at least have the chance to try and explain to them what it's doing to me and other people, and some possibility that someone may listen, or at least that the worst that will happen is that I'll be ignored.

    Is *that* likely to be possible with the DDoS attacks, or would merely openly disagreeing with the culprits be enough to make me one of their next targets.

    Equally, if few citizens agree with the demonstration, they can make that clear, and if it's clear that there is little or no public support, it may be hard for a group-think fiction to be maintained that the demonstration is what most people actually want.

    Even when legitimate protesters break the law for something they think is right, they're generally doing it in full view and expecting to get caught, and often get *some* respect for that even from people who don't agree with them.

    Some animal rights protesters openly block the entrance to a company they disagree with, even if it's illegal, it may be at least partly morally respectable.

    If other protesters put through the windows of a company, damage unconnected businesses or threaten the family of workers of the company *and run away*, even people who might agree with the motivation are likely to think of the protesters as cowardly scum.

    Part and parcel of legitimate protest in a basically free country is the willingness to take the punishment if you get caught breaking the law, not whining and saying "It's not fair!!" or threatening Dire Retribution

    If anything, the more they whine, the more it will confirm a stereotype of them as immature asses who need to be taught a lesson, rather than adults with the courage of their convictions.

  34. Atonnis
    Pint

    Definition?

    I would query as to whether a DDoS attack constitutes an 'attack' or a 'blockade'.

    I suppose if it shuts down the site then it's an attack. If it just jams everything up so it can't be accessed it's a blockade.

    Anyway, all this does is highlights once again that there is no way to 'legitimately protest' and ever have your voice heard. The only times people ever listen is when something more emphatic than 'don't want!' being posted on an internet forum happens. Power, despite our best intentions to the contrary, always rests in the hands of those who seize it - whether it be by force, theft or deceit.

    Still, I don't support Anonymous in this, but I can understand why they try to remain anonymous. In a world where the lawmakers are still two decades behind technology there is no way to be labelled as anything other than a 'cyber-terrorist' when expressing dissatisfaction through action, and that would end up with criminal sentencing - as I don't believe that there are any provisions for online protests.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Atonnis

      --"Anyway, all this does is highlights once again that there is no way to 'legitimately protest' and ever have your voice heard."

      So instead some people choose to break the law *and* have no effect?

      In any case, I don't think that what you say is correct.

      If people actually have sufficient support in the wider population, they often can get companies to change behaviour by legal protesting.

      --"Still, I don't support Anonymous in this, but I can understand why they try to remain anonymous."

      I can also understand that, if half of them aren't even old enough to be considered adults, yet are apparently experts on the real world.

  35. T J
    Grenade

    Time Travel

    This will require Plod to leave 1980 and visit the future, 2011? Wow, thats a STEEP learning curve ahead of them......

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