The international activist group Anonymous is telling the hacker collective “Lizard Squad” to “stand down” and stop attacking Tor.
Anonymous, which has a long history of hacking and cyber attacking governments, corporations, and religions organisations, says, “We don’t give a f–k about corporate bulls–t networks, we do care about 3rd world communications.”
The Tor Project is one of the most effective sites for encrypted communication, making it one of the most important internet services in the world. Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have used the service, and it’s proven pivotal in “dissident movements” in Iran and Egypt.
Prior to allegedly attacking Tor, “Lizard Squad” had claimed responsibility for taking down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve — to the dismay of millions of gamers — by allegedly launching massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overload servers with bogus requests.
The group explained why it started attacking PlayStation Network and Xbox Live — it was initially “for the laughs,” but then they wanted to force these companies to upgrade their networks’ security. The group also explained why it stopped attacking those networks: internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom offered lifetime premium memberships to his private file-sharing service, Mega.
But it’s still unclear why Lizard Squad, after punishing game networks for two straight days, refocused its attention on Tor.
Tor’s service keeps its users anonymous by bouncing communications around a large network of computers known as “volunteer nodes.” But as Gizmodo points out, if one group can control most of the nodes — which is exactly what Lizard Squad is attempting to do by attacking Tor — it may “be able to eavesdrop on a substantial number of vulnerable users,” which has massive implications on the privacy of millions of people who rely on the service.
This computer programmer says Lizard Squad has claimed nearly half of Tor’s ~8,000 relays.
We will continue updating this developing story as we learn more.