Anonymous, the online hacktivist group, has long relied on DDoS attacks to target a number of government institutions, banks and other websites over the time. The group has now filed a White House petition, demanding that DDoS should be accepted as a valid form of protest.
The debate on DDoS has been dwelling on two extremes. One side holds that DDoS attacks are perfectly legal and within the rights of the citizens. They deem it as a modern way of a ‘sit-in’ protest which essentially forces an organization to shut down its functions, at least temporarily. DDoS serves more or less the same purpose in the cyber world.
However, the other side takes a bit too extreme view, deeming all DDoS attacks as attempts by hackers and potential terrorists. This side naturally comprises of organizations which have been targeted by Anonymous’ DDoS attacks as well as their representative law fraternity.
The petition filed by Anonymous is the first time ever that someone has sought to have DDoS attacks accepted as a legal and valid form of protest. The petition goes on to state, “With the advance in internet techonology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage. It is, in that way, no different than any “occupy” protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.”
I must say that the demand makes certain sense. Even a sit-in can cause financial losses to an organization when it is forced to shutter its working for a day or two. However, one slight glitch that remains is that DDoS attacks can emanate from virtually anyone. A rival business can hire someone to launch DDoS attacks to bring down the website of a rival organization. In that context, DDoS does seem inappropriate.
Perhaps Anonymous can come up with more well-nuanced points as to what form of DDoS attacks can be valid as well as define the nature of such attacks which must be brought under the fold of legal safety. Until then, it is highly unlikely that the White House is going to give a fig about the petition.
Source: White House petititons
Courtesy: Tech Dirt