Operation Payback has suddenly decided to dial back their initiative to promote the sharing of information online freely and will be taking a break from the DDoS attacks they have used to get their message across to anti-piracy organizations.
The decision comes after nearly two months of highly organized and increasingly bold DDoS take-downs on several high profile websites in the United States and the UK. Events planned for the 5th of November were supposed to be the group’s biggest showing yet, but turned out to be largely uneventful due to lackluster participation.
But Operation Payback had quite the showing over their seven-week run with 24 attacks that resulted in hundreds of hours of downtime for target sites, including the MPAA and RIAA, as well as some collateral damage to the reputations of some of the organizations. In addition to the DDoS attacks on their websites, both ACS:Law and Associação do Comércio Audiovisual de Portugal (ACAPOR) ended up having their email databases leaked and posted online, subsequently exposing shady collections practices in dealing with citizens accused of illegal file-sharing.
Over the past couple of weeks the group began to get pretty brave in their activities. An attack planned on the RIAA also published the personal information of the CEO and his family, and encouraged members to make prank calls, send pizza, and “get creative”. Additionally, the last major DDoS attack organized by the group was against the US Copyright Office, the first US government website targeted by Operation Payback.
So why is Anonymous backing off now? It is possible that members didn’t like the direction the attacks were taking or they were just getting a little bored with the whole thing. It’s also possible that the group went a little too far in their last couple of attacks and gained some unwanted attention from authorities in the US.
Whatever the reason, Operation Payback isn’t gone for good. Anonymous now has an entire year to plan for next November 5th and is already preparing via their Wiki site, the Remember5 Project. And something tells me that it won’t be too long before the next DDoS initiative takes shape. We’ll be waiting.