Operation Titstorm

Posted: January 7, 2011 in computer hackers, cyber hackers, terrorists

Operation Titstorm was a series of cyber attacks by the Anonymous online community against the Australian government in response to proposed internet censorship regulations. Australian Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy was the architect of the plan that would mainly filter sites with pornographic content. Various groups advocating an uncensored internet, along with web based companies such as Google and Yahoo!, object to the proposed filter.

The denial-of-service attack resulted in lapses of access to government websites on the 10th and 11th of February 2010. This was accompanied by emails, faxes, and phone calls harassing government offices. The actual size of the attack and number of perpetrators involved is unknown. It drew criticism from other filter protest groups. A spokesperson for Conroy said that the actions were not a legitimate form of protest and called it irresponsible. The initial stage was followed by small in-person protests on 20 February.Contents [hide]
1 Background
2 Attacks
3 Response
4 See also
5 References
6 External links


Background

The operation began as a protest responding to a plan by Australian Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy that would require internet service providers to block illegal and what the government deemed as “unwanted” content.[1] Websites to be blocked feature pornography showing rape, bestiality, child sex abuse, small-breasted women (who may appear under the legal age), and female ejaculation. Drawn depictions of such acts are included in the proposal.[2] The filter also includes gambling sites along with others showing drug use.[3] A leaked version of the proposed blacklist also showed sites that did not include adult content. The name “Operation Titstorm” was in reference to the material that would be censored.[4]

Google has questioned the proposal, saying the prohibitions would be too broad.[1][4] It is strongly opposed by free speech groups. A poll conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research for the Hungry Beast television program found that 80% of their 1000 respondents were in favor of the concept of the plan.[5] The survey also found that 91% were concerned about the government’s intent to keep the list of filtered websites a secret.[6]

The Department of Defence’s Cyber Security Operations Centre discovered the attack was coming on 5 February.[7] A statement released by Anonymous to the press two days before the attack said, “No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be ‘unwanted’.” It went on to read, “The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn. No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason.”[8][9] Anonymous had previously garnered media attention with protests against Church of Scientology (Project Chanology) and the Iranian government.[10] In September 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s website was hacked in a similar protest to proposed internet censorship reforms.[5]

Attacks
On 10 February 2010, government websites were targeted by denial-of-service attacks. The Communications Department said the hackers had not infiltrated government security, but had instead swamped government computer servers.[5] Sites were left unavailable for sporadic periods throughout the attack. At one point, the Australian Parliament’s website was offline for about 2 days due to the high-volume of requests.[11] As a primary target, the Communications Department also received a large amount of traffic. Government offices were also flooded with e-mail spam, junk faxes, and prank phone calls.[2] The Prime Minister’s homepage was vandalized with pornographic images.[8]

One cyber security expert described the attacks as “the equivalent of parking a truck across the driveway of a shopping centre”.[12] Reports of the actual size of the attack have varied. A firm marketing security technology said that the peak of the attack was a relatively low 16.84 megabits per second.[2] One writer described the 7.5 million requests per second that initially brought down the Parliament website as “massive”.[1] The site usually only receives a few hundred per second.[9] It appears that botnets made up of compromised computers were not used.[2] Estimates of perpetrators involved have ranged from hundreds to thousands.[3][10]

Response
A spokeswoman for Conroy said such attacks were not a legitimate political protest. They were “totally irresponsible and potentially deny services to the Australian public”.[13] The Systems Administrators Guild of Australia said that it “condemned DoS attacks as the wrong way to express disagreement with the proposed law.”[14] Anti-censorship groups criticised the attacks, saying they hurt their cause.[10][13] A purported spokesperson for the attackers recommended that the wider Australian public protest the filter by signing the petition of Electronic Frontiers Australia.[15]

Anonymous coordinated a second phase with small protests outside the Parliament House in Canberra and in major cities throughout Australia on 20 February. Additional demonstrations were held at some of the country’s embassies overseas.[14] This was dubbed “Project Freeweb” to differentiate it from the cyber attacks that were criticised by other protest groups.[16]

Several supporters of the attack later said on a messageboard that taking down websites was not enough to convince the government to back down on the internet filtering policy and called for violence. Others disagreed with such actions and proposed launching an additional attack on a popular government site. A spokesman for Electronic Frontiers Australia said he believed there was no real intention or capacity to follow through with any of the violent threats

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    well cyber hackers are too much to control.

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