The expanding droves of WikiLeaks supporters and differing opinions as to how attacks should be carried out is causing a “splintering effect” of what was originally Operation Payback, according to sources at Panda Security.
Since some of the members of the original Operation Payback began Operation Avenge Assange, to rally around WikiLeaks most public representative by staging DDoS attacks against the online operations of corporations who cut off the site as more US diplomatic cables were published, more initiatives have split off with specific causes of their own.
“This is not one massively coordinated campaign anymore, it’s pure anarchy,” says the security experts on the PandaLabs Blog who have been tracking Operation Payback activities since they began in September.
One of the new initiatives, known as “Operation Leakspin”, began late last week with a mission of uncovering and spreading information in the leaked cables rather than participating in DDoS attacks. The group’s poster explains its tactics:
Begin searching through WikiLeaks.
Find only the best, least exposed leaks you can get your hands on.
Post summaries of them along with the complete source.
Encourage the reader to read more.
Make one-to-two minute YouTube videos regarding the links.
Use misleading tags, anything from “Tea Party” to “Bieber”.
Post snippets of the leaks EVERYWHERE. News comments, fan forums, etc.
Another new initiative, “Operation Daylight”, urges a different approach with a “Call to Anonymous” appeal for real world action:
It is time we make ourselves heard, literally.
It is time to move from the cyberworld,
It is time to move into the real world,
It is time to act.
Despite another related arrest and continuing attacks on their own servers, however, Anonymous has plenty of DDoSing members left who are still carrying out pro-WikiLeaks cyber-attacks on the web operations for MasterCard and MoneyBookers.com.
Also, Britain’s National Security Advisor has warned UK government offices that Low Orbit Ion Cannons could soon be headed their way as Assange prepares for an extradition hearing Tuesday in a London court.
As these groups continue to splinter off into other, more specific causes and alternative tactics, it will be increasingly difficult to link attacks back to the original Operation Payback. “These changes are going to make reporting and confirmations extremely difficult because there is no longer a central source of communication with the organizers,” says PandaLabs security experts.
While it’s good to see more people fighting for their rights, there needs to remain a more united front to maintain the power of the number of participants. Splintering allows for more specific targets, but it also dilutes the strength of the actions. Will Operation Payback simply fade out as more splinter cells emerge? Stay tuned…