In November 2011, the hacker group, Anonymous protested the takedown of Megaupload, a Hong Kong-based company that ran a series of services in the file sharing and storage space and is known for its owners being arrested for fraudulently calling itself an organization that dealt with copyright laws.
Today, Anonymous is on the warpath with various governments and media sites and intends bringing down Facebook, reckoned to be among the best social networking sites today. Anonymous has set the date for this takedown to be February 28th, 2012 at 12 a.m.
But why Facebook? No one knows, not even Facebook. However, in its defense, the social media giant says that it is well-prepared for such eventualities and as it grows larger and larger, it expects such attacks. To safeguard itself, the company has installed protocols, backend systems and forged valuable partnerships, among other things.
Despite the fact that Facebook has over 60,000 servers, Anonymous is insistent on going ahead with its plans, a la Megaupload. However, in Megaupload’s case, which went on for two years, Anonymous was able to get people to join the movement simply because they wanted to belong to such a cause. The way it was handled made it stand out in public memory, particularly for those people who supported acts such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). However, in this instance, Anonymous is quite likely not to meet with its earlier success, for the following reasons:
Facebook has more than 60,000 servers. It also has coders and programmers who know coding and hacking like the back of their hands. So, it’s unlikely that they haven’t already got a contingency plan in place to counter an event like this. It also has “internal white hats” to keep its security levels high at all times.
People have no reason to join this cause. When, in the past, government websites such as justice.gov were attacked, a public outcry was justified. However, in this case, it is not. In November 2011, Anonymous was unsuccessful in its attempt to bring down Facebook simply because not all its members agreed to fight this cause. Again, they didn’t think there were any solid grounds for this attack. Perhaps, their statement, “Let’s do it because we can” is a telling statement on not having a real reason for their attack.
Too many people like Facebook to go against it. Anonymous is foolishly optimistic enough to think that in a matter of five days,it can win over Facebook’s over 800 million members worldwide and make them party to its cause, let alone bringing Facebook’s entire machinery to a grinding halt.
Facebook is a lifeline for many. To see it from the users’ point of view, too many people are used to getting onto Facebook every day and communicating with people they lost touch with and who only surfaced on Facebook. So, Facebook-haters, if any, are too miniscule a number to fight and win this battle against the social media tycoon.
Breaking news: Three days after letting Facebook know of its intended attack, Anonymous backtracked and denied having said anything about attacking Facebook on January 28. It said that the video that conveyed the message of the shutdown of Facebook was entirely fake.
This has set off an online war between the people, Government of the USA and Anonymous for SOPA, PIPA and other so-called threats to people’s Internet rights. To shut down Facebook, the video asks that those who support this cause participate in an online protest, while it simultaneously attacked Warner Brothers, CBS.com and the FBI sites. Protestors should download a program called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), which was used to pull down the Department of Justice. LOIC is known to crash websites by sending innumerable packets of data to their servers.
Judging from Anonymous’ track record, it attacks something people use frequently and rely on to further its own cause. However, his empty threats are just that and nothing else, and so should not be taken with any measure of seriousness.