The groups this morning issued an announcement calling for PayPal users to close their accounts. The announcement is a response to a recent string of FBI arrests of Anonymous members who participated in last December’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on PayPal.
“We encourage anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative,” the groups wrote. “The first step to being truly free is not putting one’s trust into a company that freezes accounts when it feels like, or when it is pressured by the U.S. government.”
The groups equated the December attack to “a digital sit-in” protest. They said that it was unfair to punish participants in the attack (which used the Low Orbit Ion Cannon tool to overload PayPal’s servers) in the same way as those controlling a large group, or botnet, of infected computers. Additionally, the hacker groups still take issue with PayPal for freezing WikiLeak’s funds, which the groups called “a beacon of truth in these dark times.”
“By simply standing up for ourselves and uniting the people, PayPal still sees it fit to wash its hands of any blame, and instead encourages and assists law enforcement to hunt down participants in the AntiSec movement,” LulzSec and Anonymous wrote.
Wired’s Kevin Poulson reported yesterday that the FBI was seeking the PayPal DDoS attackers based on a list of 1,000 IP addresses provided by the company. The list is made up of attackers who sent the largest amount of packets to PayPal’s servers.
In an interview with the Tangled Web blog, ethical hacker Sam Bowne rejected the idea that the DDoS attacks were a digital sit-in:
A lot of people say that Anonymous is morally and legally justified to take down sites with denial of service. The difference between that and a sit-in is that in a sit-in you are physically present and you permit the police to arrest you. Here is where Anonymous reveals their complete lack of moral fiber. If you really want to protest the law and you want to break the law, Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed how to do this. You stand up in public with your real name and you let the police arrest you for doing something like blocking traffic and then this causes a public examination of why you did that and whether your cause is important.