Having DDOsed Mastercard.com to the ground, Anonymous sets sights on VISA


Looks like Operation Payback is shifting targets from Mastercard.com to VISA. (Previous BB article here, and a related radio piece with Xeni is here.)

Update, 1:02pm PT: The Visa.com site is now unavailable. Goodness, that was fast. Post updated with a screengrab of the response I get when attempting to access visa.com. Below, a video released when Operation Payback began back in October (only recently did the focal point become companies cutting off the lifeblood of funding or internet services to Wikileaks).


  1. What goes around… it’s coming back around.

    (and yes, that IS an attempt at a Ralph Macchio quote from the Karate Kid)

  2. A lot of idealistic teenagers are going to be getting a rude awakening in the following weeks. You don’t fuck with financial companies. They WILL find you.

    1. Good luck, they’re behind 7 proxies.

      Not to mention, there’s thousands of them, they have no real leader or hierarchy, and it will cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions to track them down and try to prosecute.

      I’m also willing to bet in addition to the several thousand script kiddies, there are probably a half dozen or so real hackers in the midst who likely control botnets comprised of thousands of innocent people who happen to be infected by a virus. It’s hard to prosecute someone who legitimately had no idea whatsoever that their computer was involved with the attack.

    2. no reason to fear them. They really have no power as the money they lend is worthless. There are too many of us and they know that.
      The is no chance the sileballs have the extra money or manpower to deal with such a large scale protest. Now the real game changer,,stop paying your cards or pay the very little,make them call you and then tell them what the problem is. Then you can tell them that you are doing the same thing to you that you did you a very good friend of mine. Protest in whatever way you can.

      1. Oh, I’m not saying the financial companies can be in any way effective against this kind of protest. I mean, they’re completely screwed. Good!

        Haha, I guess I am inadvertently concern trolling. After all, did the Scientologists ever manage to catch anyone during that whole business? They are probably as scary as the financial companies.

    3. the financial companies did find us, we are easy to uncover, we are taxpayers, we are legion, expect us

  3. It’s all very entertaining that they brought down VMC’s brochure-ware corporate sites, but this is about as effective as TP’ing a guard booth. As long as the transaction processing systems are running, VMC really could not care less.

  4. A lot of international corporations are going to be getting a rude awakening in the following weeks. You don’t fuck with 4chan. They WILL fuck you. Hard. Without a condom.

    1. “You don’t fuck with 4chan. They WILL fuck you. Hard. Without a condom.”

      Just like Julian.

  5. Agreed. But it’s still sweet.

    I hope that they draw the line here. If, say, the processing networks like FDC or Vital went down this time of year, it would be a huge inconvenience for Amazon and Wal*Mart, but ruination for a lot of small businesses. That might not be the best way of expressing concern about concentration of power.

    That being said, it does show the degree to which private entities like VMC and PayPal now regulate the livelihood of businesses. Ask anyone in the porn business how benevolent this dictatorship has become. :)

  6. So if we all go to Visa.com due we add fuel to the fire?
    And does posting more articles, help the cause by adding more rubberneckers, that further slow traffic?
    Add some rickroll links to get more traffic in and I’d call it a trifecta.

  7. Now that Anonymous have demonstrated the capability, I’m sure that plenty of extortionists will be doing the math and preparing a business plan.

    “Say, that’s a nice little payment processor you have there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it. During the holiday season. Your biggest time of the year. If ya know what I mean.”

    I’m surprised that the big financial sites aren’t better protected. My understanding is that the LOIC isn’t even that sophisticated as modern DDoS tools go.

    1. It’s just their website. It’s not like they took down their ability to process payments. That’s a whole different thing.

      1. The websites were the main target, but there are reports that some Mastercard payment processing was also affected. See comment #10 above and the included link.

    2. This is the digital equivalent of RL asymetric warfare.

      On the one side you have the powers-that-be who rely on complex, centralized infrastructure. Its vulnerability is that all of its systems and approaches assume that people agree to follow the rules.

      On the other side you have the fragmented opposition who are loosely coordinated through a general ideology, use low-cost disruption methods, and just don’t give a damn.

      If the metaphor to the “war on terror” is apt, the establishment will neither give in, listen to the opposition, nor listen to its own citizens, but instead will entrench itself, deploy costly, ineffective, and self-defeating countermeasures. And it’s the regular shmucks on the street who will bear the brunt of the costs and harm of the whole conflict.

    1. Skirmishes. WWIII would involve the USG going all out, which they haven’t. 9000 people is also not all-out retaliation.

      I’m not saying it isn’t going to happen, I’m just saying that a couple DDOS attacks don’t yet make it a world war. WWIII comes when millions of regular people start saying “f_ck it” and setting their computer up on the attack, when the US starts firewalling or taking down large portions of the internet, and when people start setting up ad hoc networks to circumvent government & corporate controlled networks. This is not that, yet.

    2. Actually this already happens. It is extortion and it is carried out on certain businesses. They are often contacted and told that unless the pay them 30-40k they will keep up a DDOS attack.

      I spoke to a woman who described this strategy at NNOG a few years ago. What was interesting was the fact that they have not figured out a way to get around the attacks yet.

  8. Look for all you who consider this to be nonsensical and pointless. Can’t you see that the idea of revolt is something greater than it first appears? Every generation revolts, sometimes they hit a nerve with society and something even greater comes out the other end – a mash up of both perhaps or something completely new. Sometimes its a tiny thing like the sexual revolution in the 60’s and 70’s, the generation eclipse or the birth of new forms of technology like the internet. Sometimes its the American Revolution or the break with feudalism.

    What may look like kids rioting in the streets, or groups moving away in some simple sense from the society they dislike or for that matters a group of 4chan users posting videos and creating tiny attacks on something so great as the fundaments of economic society is in itself something great. In the idea of revolt, the courage to actually decide that writing bullshit letters or whine to your friends just isn’t going to cut it any more, that you need to do something, anything – is the first tiny step to something new and maybe better.
    What did you expect a brave new world lying infront of you just asking you to go ahead and transit easily?

    No matter what comes out of all this mess, it will be new. It may be crap. But it’ll be new crap and thats what matters.

    1. My biggest concern in all of this is losing the message.

      It was far easier for white America to marginalize the Black Panthers as criminals than it was to ignore MLK. Fortunately MLK’s voice was heard and the civil disobedience he espoused couldn’t be mistaken for thuggish behavior.

      We need to make certain that our voices are also heard as reasonable citizens, very upset with the direction of things, rather than simply be dismissed as pirates, juvenile delinquents, and “hackers on steroids”.

      1. We need to make certain that our voices are also heard as reasonable citizens, very upset with the direction of things, rather than simply be dismissed as pirates, juvenile delinquents, and “hackers on steroids”.

        There will never be another MLK as long as the message is in control by the corporatists as it is now. Back in the 60’s you could actually gather a movement without a 24/7 network influence-machine disparaging it non-stop. Times have changed. The same type of activism that worked in the past cannot work in this corporatist-controlled environment.


        1. I definitely concede your point regarding public protest. However, I still think that something can and should be done to convey a voice of reason in all of this.

          One can be for reasonable intellectual rights law without being a pirate. One can be for wikileaks without being for /b/. One can be for Assange’s work with wikileaks without minimalizing the assault charges he has been accused of.

          Even if I feel their outrage, I’m not sure I want 4chan to be my voice.

          1. I’m not sure I want 4chan to be my voice.

            So, you prefer no voice then?

            For those suggesting this is amateur hour and that their targets are worthless web-brochures, get a brain. You may think Anonymous is a non-unified group of trouble makers but the people controlling this attack are no idiots. If they attack serious infrastructure (esp. financial), they risk serious legal consequences. This is meant as a demonstration of capability, not a real show of force.

            I welcome their next moves on PayPal and Amazon, though there is a lot more risk involved with that one. Keep up the hard work Anonymous! I am going to install LOIC as soon as I get home from work.

            When will the powers that be realise they don’t have answers for everything? Politicians didn’t build the internet meaning that the people who did will always be one step ahead. It is fun to watch your enemy fight an uphill battle.

          2. That is a false choice, just like “you’re either with us or the terrorists”. I support what Wikileaks are doing, I dislike ACTA as much as you do, I think the Entertainment Industry is acting foolishly (kindly phrased), I think government intrusion on my private life has life has gone too far. I just don’t feel comfortable doing or supporting actions like this, thus I think someone else might be a better voice to speak for me. I suspect Flibbertigibbet has similar thoughts.

          3. That is a false choice

            I didn’t present a choice, I described reality. Mild-mannered discussion in internet forums is in no way as powerful as DDoS.

            thus I think someone else might be a better voice to speak for me

            Your comment suggests there is another alternative… What is that? Is it a real voice? Will anyone notice it?

            Probably not as much as they’ll notice Anonymous’ handywork. Fight fire with fire. If you are displeased about the way a company is behaving, isn’t a good way to demonstrate why you are displeased by giving them a taste of their own medicine? Whatever this is, it is definitely poetic justice and I have been laughing all week long.

  9. Actually I don’t think they’ve done quite as well as they think.

    That looks like an Akamai error message. Which probably means they’ve managed to take out a few Akamai caches, affecting users in some locations.

    I’ve seen the effect of a 4chan DOS attempt, and it was clear they didn’t know what they were doing. Maybe they’ve improved since then, but I think this is still amateur hour.

    1. That’s because they just keep changing targets whenever the wind blows. They’re not actually trying to make a sustained difference. If they were serious they would take down a site and keep it down.

    2. They aimed the attack at Visa and took it off MC. Right now, they are focusing their resources in one place.

      It’s smart. The big effect they are having is that they are making international front pages. The papers didn’t care about the leaks, but they love a chance to show a big corporate logo and write about “cybercrime”.

      I think the net effect will be to drag more people into knowing about this. Right now, most Americans hardly know anything about this, except maybe that it involves rape.

      I’m betting that Anonymous is also going to be more than 9000 strong now.

  10. Hmm. Well, the effect on MasterCard and Visa may not be much, but when this group gets to paypal.com, that’s going to cause a pretty serious disruption.

  11. The Guardian article mentioned going after twitter for censoring #wikileaks.

    I see tweets on that hashtag, but not anywhere 250/minute.

    I wonder if it’s at all linked to twitter using
    link rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_production/a/1291835154/stylesheets/phoenix.bundle.css” type=”text/css” media=”screen”

  12. What is it that those of us who wish to support Wikileaks and oppose ridiculous censorship (and no, taking down Visa’s website isn’t censorship) can do to help? Ideally legally… :)

    After all, we can all be “for wikileaks”, but if we don’t do anything about it, we might as well be signing its death warrant.

    1. I think the best thing we can all do is to simply make sure that the other 95 to 99% of the population understands what is actually happening and what is at stake.

      We can look down our noses at the folks in our lives who can’t set the clocks on their microwaves, but these folks do matter, they do vote, and they are very worried and confused by what is happening.

  13. I can’t help but see Anon as a sort of Tea Party. And I’m not saying that as an insult, just a sort of comparison.

    Tea Party: Masses of “regular folks”, spurred to large-scale protest and political griefing by a small group of rich string-pullers. They fight against what they are told they should be against, due to a sense of injustice. Made up largely of middle-age white republicans.

    Anon: Masses of internet denizens, spurred to large-scale action in the form of DDOS attacks and griefing by (I assume) a few anonymous movers and shakers who plan and organize the protests. They fight against the censorship bogey-man of the day, mostly out of a sense of injustice or for the lulz. Made up largely of internet-savvy younger white Americans.

    Anon’s tactics makes me think of the mob, if the mob were made up of script-kiddies with short attention spans. Which is not to say that I disagree with them. So far, I’ve cheered them on in their efforts. But damned if I ever want the burning gaze of Anon to look my way.

  14. I expect Anonymous is suddenly being taken a lot more seriously now by law enforcement, and the result is going to be fairly ugly.

    Nice job throwing a tantrum, kids. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  15. “We are legion, and we are divided by 0…we are over 9000.”

    LOL. I was getting worried they’d lost their sense of humour…

  16. Operation Payback? How about “Operation Alienate People Who Might Otherwise Support Wikileaks”? I’m a MasterCard user and it’s not my fault the government is pressuring companies to cut off funding to Wikileaks.

    All this is making Wikileaks supporters look like a bunch of saboteurs.

    1. I know, right? I was like, so embarrassed when the barista was all like “hey bro, your mastercard is wack!” cuz I was all like, “what, no?” and she was like “maybe its cuz of magnets…”
      I am now banned from Starbucks.

  17. I’m a MasterCard user and it’s not my fault the government is pressuring companies to cut off funding to Wikileaks.

    Mitch you miss the point entirely, bud.

    “Oh no, *I* might be inconvenienced by something I have no control over!” Self-centered at all, there Mitch? Pretty much everyone out there has a Visa or a Mastercard, so what makes you so special?

    The point is to punish Mastercard for bowing to government pressure even though they don’t have to legally. As a Mastercard client, you too are the target. Mastercard stopped customers doing what they wanted with their own money. Anonymous stopped Mastercard doing what they wanted with their servers. Seems fair until the playing field levels out a bit.

    1. First of all, I’m not your “bud”.

      Congratulations to all the radical self styled “hackers” who committed an act of sabotage that affected thousands of innocent consumers and merchants and didn’t help Wikileaks at all. They sure made a statement, didn’t they?

      How does being associated with saboteurs trying to interfere with commerce in a strained economy help Wikileaks?

      1. It doesn’t reflect on Wikileaks IN ANY WAY.

        These guys are associated to Wikileaks solely by their own claims, not by anything which Wikileaks has done.

        IMHO, the relation between Wkilekas and these self-appointed “allies” is altogether similar to the relation between Osama Bin Laden and the Palestinians: there’s simply NO connection between he two….except by the claims of the clearly criminal – the hackers here, Bin Laden there, – themselves.

        We must ignore their claims.

  18. Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. Look how much Osama Bin Laden has harmed the Palestinian cause even though Al Qaeda and the Palestinians are not actually connected. When people claim that Wikileaks is a terrorist organization the fact that acts of sabotage are committed on their behalf makes it harder to deny.

    1. It would appear from this that MR Wikileaks himself is of the view that these attacks are meant to discredit, rather than support, Wikileaks:

      ” [Assange] was keen to dismiss what he called “lies” about WikiLeaks and the recent computer hacking of private companies.

      He believes there is a “deliberate attempt to conflate the hacking attacks and WikiLeaks”.”



      It would also seem that Mr Assange has some seemingly less-overtly-criminal supporters, in rather more powerful positions :


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