Members of the group of hackers known as Anonymous have set up an online petition on Whitehouse.gov to get DDoS attacks legalised and the previously punished offenders put on a clean slate and removed from prison.
DDoS is a denial of service attack where a mass amount of people will continuously bombard a website until servers are forced to run slow and, if well executed, the site can crash and stay offline for a matter of hours or days.
What the Anonymous group is saying is that DDoS in no different from people blocking the entrance to a door. They say that because the attack doesn’t actually involve any hacking, it shouldn’t been seen as a crime, but as a legal protest.
The problems with the DDoS attacks being legalised is it then gives Anonymous the right to attack any website they believe is against their ideals. Essentially you can make a protest about anything, but some harmless websites could get attacked and the proper punishment will never be given.
Lately, Anonymous has been praised for their help in destroying the Westboro Baptist Church. Hackers took over Twitter accounts and put the website offline in a matter of hours.
It could be seen as a direct way to attack a certain community, but the ways of Anonymous vary and while some members of the loosely knit hacking club like to be heroic, others like to steal bank accounts.
Realistically, for this to pass the White House must be ready to take the blame when Anonymous launch an attack on any website deemed unfit by the community. This could be anything and Anonymous has a rather large base.
The petition currently has a few hundred signatures and needs 25,000 before February 8 when the petition is set to finish. If Anonymous gain the numbers in time, they may be able to change the way we protest online.