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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Amazon European Domains Back Up After Brief Down Time, Anonymous Role Unclear

Callie Schweitzer |
December 12, 2010 | 2:09 p.m. PST


Amazon.com's European domains appear to be back up and running after brief down time Sunday afternoon.

Twitter was abuzz linking the outages to Anonymous, an online group that says it's in support of free speech on the Internet, though the group has not confirmed its role.

The Next Web has a great rundown of what happened: "It does appear that some offshoot of Anonymous is behind the attacks. In a now-deleted Tweet, it was noted that the sites are down, but no credit was taken." 

TNW has an image of the tweet from @AnonOps, one of the main Twitter accounts the group has been tweeting from, that says, "A. Europe down."

According to TNW, @AnonOps later tweeted, "We cant confirm anything because lose our accounts again."

But @AnonymousIRC, another account linked to the hacktivists, tweeted Sunday, "For the time being we have no reason to believe that #amazon being down is related to #operationpayback."

TNW notes, "Interestingly, and as a testament to how some offshoot groups of Anonymous don’t always 'follow the leader', one sect of the group recently released a statement in which it explained why it wouldn’t target Amazon."

The online retailer would have a lot to lose given the high traffic it sees during the holiday season.
This would not be the first time the group reportedly tried to go after Amazon.
An attempted distributed-denial-of-service attack on Amazon failed Thursday.
The backers of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had plans to attack the online retailer's site Thursday morning, but "Amazon.com's famed EC2 infrastructure was more than a match for WikiLeaks allies."
Assange's online militiamen abandoned its attack on Amazon after about an hour without having any impact on the site.

"We don't have enough forces," Anonymous wrote in a post on Twitter.

The attempt on Amazon, which removed WikiLeaks from one of its servers and is now selling an eBook of the first 5,000 leaked State Department cables, is just the latest in a string of attacks the group has performed in what's being called a "hacking free-for-all."

The hackers have been targeting sites believed to be impending WikiLeaks' mission including MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, all of whom have denied users the ability to donate money to the anti-secrecy organization.

The group has also attacked Sen. Joseph Lieberman and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's websites.

Though Amazon withstood the first attack, others, like MasterCard, haven't had the strong internal network of the online retailer and have lost service for several hours. PayPal has denied any interruption to its service.

The hackers have not gone unaffected. The group's main site AnonOps.net has been attacked many times as well.

Computer World reports: "According to Imperva, the hacker group is in the process of coordinating botnets with over 100,000 computers capable of generating 800MGBPS traffic to increase the attack horsepower."

Assange is currently in a London jail fighting charges of rape and other sex crimes, all of which he has denied.



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