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1/26/2011
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Anonymous Takes Aim At Egypt

Online hacker group joins protests, launches DDoS attacks on Egyptian government sites

Following the recent uprising in Tunisia and new protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak, the online collective known as Anonymous is showing its support for the protesters by orchestrating distributed denial-of-service attacks against key Egyptian websites.

Researchers at the Internet security services company Netcraft said in a blog today that "Operation: Egypt" began its recruitment campaign three days ago, inviting participants to join the #OpEgypt channel on its IRC network.

"As with the previous attacks against PayPal, MasterCard and Visa, volunteers are being sought to install and run the Low Orbit Ion Cannon [LOIC] software, which can automatically bombard a website with a large volume of traffic," Netcraft says.

Last night, Twitter confirmed that it had been blocked in Egypt. Other news reports indicate that Facebook has experienced problems in the country, as well.

Some of the earlier DDoS attacks carried out by Anonymous had used Twitter feeds to announce targets to the automated attack software, the blog notes.

"IRC appears to be the primary control point now, with the current target set to www.mcit.gov.eg -- The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology," Netcraft reports.

It is not clear how many people are involved in this attack, but Netcraft's data on http://www.mcit.gov.eg "shows the website is currently up and responding to HTTP requests from around the world," according to the blog.

"This could suggest that the number of volunteers taking part in the attacks has continued to decrease over the past few months," Netcraft said.

To muster up more attackers, the IRC channel also invites users to use a Web-based version of the LOIC attack tool, which can even be used from mobile phones, the researchers said. Further discussions, including which targets to attack, are being carried out on the interactive multiuser PiratePad site.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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