If you need to do some research, post on Facebook or look at online porn (c’mon, we know you do it), you had better get it done before March 31.
That’s when the global computer hacking group known as Anonymous — or someone claiming to represent it — allegedly plans to launch “Operation Global Blackout.” To protest efforts by corporations and governments to restrict access to some material on the internet, the hacktivists plan to shut the web down, maybe just for an hour or perhaps much longer.
Anonymous plans to attack 13 root DNS servers on the internet and restrict access to them. If it is successful, internet users won’t be able to perform a domain name lookup.
Such an action would disable the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), which is the most widely used function on the web. It is an application for collaborative information systems, and serves as the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web.
“Anybody entering ‘http://www.google.com’ or any other URL, will get an error page, thus, they will think the internet is down, which is close enough,” an Anonymous member posted on Pastebin.com.
Despite the use of the name “Anonymous,” it’s unclear whether it actually supports the March 31 action.
Anonymous is amorphous and lacks a clear organizational structure, so occasionally individuals post assertions that the group as a whole doesn’t endorse. For example, some websites alleged Anonymous planned an attack on Facebook for Jan. 28, but the group said that wasn’t true on two Twitter feeds that it regularly uses.
In fact, one of the Twitter feeds calls for a different action throughout March. Dubbed “Black March,” it urges people to not buy any DVDs, video games, compact discs, records, books or magazines during the month, as well as not download any songs either legally or illegally, or see any films in cinemas. This will impact the first-quarter profits of large media companies, it alleges.
So, whether Operation Global Blackout is sanctioned remains to be seen.
Although some people might be skeptical that Anonymous could launch such a large-scale action, the group successfully attacked several government and entertainment industry websites in mid-January. Among the websites momentarily crippled were those operated by the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department, CBS, the Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music Group.
Around the same time, Anonymous also attempted to take offline the websites for the U.S. Defense Department and the White House, but was unsuccessful.
The initiatives are aimed at websites connected to anti-copyright legislation in the United States and abroad.
In an online message, someone alleging to represent Anonymous posted, “Behind closed doors the governments of the world have agreed to censor the internet in order to appease the corrupt banks and corporate entities that have been enshrined within the hearts of every government making us, the people, pay for their bigotry, as we have seen in Iceland and are now seeing throughout Greece. This document in question is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which effectively molests your right to fair use and allows corporations to dictate and capitalize on your free speech.”
It added, “They have overstepped their limits, defiled their documents written by we the people, even now with the movement of a hand they can silence you into indefinite detention or even warrant your death. … On the 31st of March, Operation Global Blackout will go into full effect. For the cause of liberty, for the good of mankind and for laughs, the Internet as we know it will go dark in protest for the collective grievances of all. We recognize that our methods will be labeled by some as extreme, and are willing to accept this fate in order to achieve our goals. A goal of free speech for all and oppression for none.”