The formless hacker collective known as Anonymous has denied the rumors that rapidly spread across the Internet this week claiming that the group was planning Operation Global Blackout, a plot to temporarily shut down the Internet on March 31, 2012, as a form of global protest. Anonymous, which began as a group of online pranksters, has grown increasingly political recently, leading the charge against internet regulation bills like SOPA and aligning itself with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Although the 'hacktivist' collective denied the existence of Operation Global Blackout a post on the online message board Pastebin.com posted by an anonymous guest details the plan and explains how the public can participate.
The online document begins by stating that their goal is to protest SOPA, Wall Street, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, on March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down.
The Anonymous writer then explains that their plan is too fool the public into thinking the Internet is offline by shutting down the 13 servers that connect URLs (like google.com) with the IP codes (actual addresses of websites spelled out with strings of numbers). If they accomplish their goal, people attempting to access websites will find only a blank page and conclude that the the Internet has been, temporarily, shut down.
Thus, they will think the Internet is down, which is, close enough, the post continues. Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to 'kill' the Internet, and we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most.
Lacking traditional organization or leadership, Anonymous has no single mouthpiece to the public, and news and opinion from the collective comes from a number of different Internet accounts, several of which responded to the news of Operation global Blackout in an attempt to squash the rumor.
@YourAnonNewsEurope, actually confirmed Operation Global Blackout, writing It's firing !! Anonymous launches 'Operation Global Blackout', aims to DDoS the Root Internet servers.
The Twitter account called @youranonnews responded on Feb. 16, tweeting, FYI - We have no idea about this 'Operation Global Blackout' rumour that's spreading around. Sounds like another #opFacebook fail-op, referring to the older rumors that Anonymous was planning to shut down the social networking website.
On Feb. 17 they followed up with a post the next day, writing, Why Operation Global Blackout is most likely a trolling - Very Difficult to DDoS Root DNS Servers | http://goo.gl/SxFiS <-- good points.
The Anonymous account seems to be sending mixed messages, both denying the plot and linking to a blog post that details why it wouldn't work. The post written by Robert Graham, who works for Errata Security, a cyber-security consulting company, details why he believes Anonymous is incapable of shutting down the internet.
Graham's post, titled No, #Anonymous can't DDoS the root DNS servers, makes a strong argument that an attempt to shut down the 13 main servers that power the Internet are powerful, protected and diverse to be taken out in one fell swoop. He notes that hacking usually succeeds because it can over a day to notice the damage done, but that in the case of these central servers hundreds of Internet experts will convene to solve the problem at the first moment's notice of a cyber-attack. He kindly suggests that if Anonymous' goal is to trick the public into thinking that they have shut off the Internet, they should focus instead on simply taking out the biggest websites, writing, If people can't get to their Google, Twitter, and Facebook, the Internet is down as far as they are concerned.