Censorship Wars: Anonymous 'Skiddies' Sabotaging Protesters' Anti-Acta, Sopa, Pipa Efforts
Image Credit: AnonOps

Security experts and protesters have attacked the Anonymous collective claiming its DDoS campaign is hurting, not helping anti-Acta efforts.

Speaking to the International Business Times UK, F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen clarified his belief that despite its best intentions, Anonymous was hurting rather than helping efforts to stop the controversial Acta bill.

"They are *trying* to help. But large-scale DDoS attacks give a bad name to all the people opposing such legislation," commented Hypponen - a security expert with a track record of assisting law enforcement across the world deal with cyber-criminality and advising governments on cyber-policy - on Anonymous recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Hypponen's comments refer to the the ongoing series of distributed denial of service attacks the collective has been mounting to protest the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta). To date Anonymous has mounted assaults on a number of support group's and government's websites. These have included assualts on sites owned by the Irish and Polish governments.

The persistence and seemingly chaotic nature of the attacks soon led to a backlash by a number of legitimate Acta protest groups; "remember #ACTA is not an Anonymous thing. They are only a part of the *whole* internet. They are funny but don´t represent us all," read a statement from the StopActaNow Twitter account.

Worse still - showcasing the same problem highlighted by Sophos analyst Graham Cluley earlier in January - following a number of attacks on innocent sites, a rift appeared, with several of Anonymous' high-profile Twitter accounts calling for the "skiddies" to stop the attacks.

"To whoever #DDOS'd @laquadrature, you are too f******g stupid to be in #Anonymous. That's quite an achievement. They're on our side. #ACTA" read one tweet from Anonymous' @AnonyOps account. Later adding: "#DDOS of European Parliament must stop NOW. They're not the ones who signed #ACTA, that was the Commission. EP will vote in June."

Hypponen went on to suggest that Acta was not the only anti-censorship Anon skiddies had interfered with. "The collective effort to kill SOPA was working very well - until the US Government took down megaupload.com, prompting Anonymous to launch large-scale DDoS attacks. These attacks made the whole anti-SOPA movement look like a bunch of trigger-happy kids. Not cool."

DDoS attacks work by overloading a website with requests to the point that it stalls and is rendered offline - the equivalent of spamming a site to death. The attacks effectiveness is directly proportional to the number of requests being fired at the network - meaning that while there are computer programmes that aid the attack, the more people participating, the more potentially damaging the assault will be.

Though official information is scarce, most media outlets have taken the act's primary focus to be on dealing with the counterfeit of physical goods, such as medicine. Yet, other groups have taken the act as having a darker side, arguing it will also include measures pertaining to the distribution and sharing of information online.