December 8, 2010
By the ZippyCart Shopping Cart Reviews Content Team
Earlier this morning, MasterCard’s website was paralyzed due to an attack by a WikiLeaks support group named Anonymous, and for some users, MasterCard is still down. Dubbed “Operation: Payback,” Anonymous hacked into MasterCard’s website and performed a series of DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks, causing the site to remain error out. A DDOS attack involves “flooding the target with requests so that it cannot cope with legitimate communication,” which is illegal.
After the DDOS attack took place, Anonymous followed up with a Twitter post claiming victory: @Anon_Operation, who later tweeted: “WE ARE GLAD TO TELL YOU THAT http://www.mastercard.com/ is DOWN AND IT’S CONFIRMED! #ddos #wikileaks Operation:Payback(is a bitch!) #PAYBACK”
Anonymous is attacking MasterCard in response to their Monday announcement refusing to take donations for the controversial whistle-blowing site, WikiLeaks. MasterCard has a strict set of rules regarding the use of their merchant processing system, which includes prohibiting “customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal”
Following this attack, Anonymous has announced that they will also hack into other big name sites that have since refused service to WikiLeaks. These sites include Amazon, Visa, and PayPal, to name a few. Amazon took WikiLeaks off of their cloud based EC2 servers on December 1st, EveryDNS.net stopped working with WikiLeaks on December 3rd, PayPal has refused service, and Visa put the final nail in the coffin yesterday when they also refused service to WikiLeaks.
Over the next few days, there is likely to be a big stir in the ecommerce world due to the actions of Operation: Payback. Continued DDOS attacks on merchant processors like MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal could seriously harm merchants who rely on the holidays to bring turn a profit for the year. Hopefully these attacks will be stopped, but if MasterCard can get hit this hard, many are worrying what else could happen.