After a relatively short series of DDoS attacks by the lulz/activist group known as “Anonymous”. The multi-billion dollar company, PayPal, relented and is releasing all the funds that were meant for Wikileaks.
PayPal claimed that their service was not significantly affected by the distributed denial of service attacks. Yet the timing of their announcement would suggest otherwise.
I personally am aware of at least one person who was trying to make a payment using the funds in his PayPal account. PayPal wasn’t able to complete his request with the funds in his account so they drew the funds from his bank account. This was a problem as his bank account was very low on cash and put him in danger of being overdrawn.
I highly doubt that this was an isolated incident. PayPal was affected and was “glitchy” I’m fairly certain that stories, similar to my friends, will be reported very soon. This is likely the reason for PayPal’s abrupt about face.
It would seem that Anonymous knew that it needed a double pronged strategy. The method employed was an announcement by ThePirateBay.org about a united “run on the bank” against PayPal. The second part of the attack consisted of over 9000 other Anonymous members launching a DDoS attack against PayPal.
Today, ZDNET.COM reported that PayPal “has decided to release the donations that had been sent to the whistle-blower website Wikileaks before it restricted its account.”
This is certainly great news for the embattled Wikileaks however PayPal will not be restoring service to the WikiLeaks account. In other words, future donations to Wikileaks will still be impossible through PayPal.
It is unlikely that the DDoS attacks will stop as Anonymous will likely insist that the Wikileaks account be fully restored though that is something that simply may not happen.
John Muller, PayPal General Counsel has now gone on record in saying that the media is responsible for a terrible misunderstanding and that the funds in the PayPal account of WikiLeaks were always meant to be released to them. Anyone who has ever used PayPal and had any kind of dispute knows that these statements by Mr. Muller are ridiculous and untrue.
Is the great Internet war over? Has are there any victors and spoils of war? To be honest, this war is just getting started and as Anonymous gains more media attention it is almost certain that new people will want to join in.
So the war isn’t over but one of the first battles has been partially won by Anonymous as it is obvious that PayPal blinked and cried “uncle”.
I suspect that once Julian Assange is released , most of the Internet attacks will slow or even cease though it is important to remember that this isn’t only about Assange but also freedom of speech.
Two things are certain, the first is that we are witnessing history in the making and the second is that Anonymous must be feeling quite pleased with itself. They managed to force a powerhouse of a company, PayPal, to blink and that is no small achievement.
Anonymous could not be reached for comment but I feel fairly sure that their response would be the following cryptic “Anonymous” signature.
We are Anonymous
We are Legion for we are many
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Well, we are the public and we are watching and some of us are even cheering.