Well, that didn’t take long.
No sooner had the government of Egypt restored Internet service to its citizens early Wednesday than the loosely organized cybervandals known as Anonymous were back at work trying to knock official Egyptian websites offline.
"We want freedom," self-declared Anonymous member Gregg Housh told the New York Times in a story posted Wednesday evening. "It’s as simple as that. We’re sick of oppressive governments encroaching on people."
Anonymous "hacktivists" also trained their "Low Orbit Ion Cannon" (LOIC), a free piece of software that makes it easy to stage distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, on sites belonging to the government of Yemen.
Like Egypt, the south Arabian country is seeing popular protests against a long-entrenched ruler.
The members of Anonymous claim solidarity with the people of Egypt and Yemen, but it’s not clear if blocking online access to a few government portals has any effect on a popular uprising that’s taking place in the streets.
Last week, the FBI carried out search warrants across the U.S., and British authorities arrested five men ranging in age from 15 to 26, all in connection with Anonymous-led DDoS attacks last fall on websites belonging to PayPal, Amazon and MasterCard.
In those instances, Anonymous was "retaliating" against those companies after they’d severed their business arrangements with the WikiLeaks group that released secret U.S. diplomatic correspondence.
There’s been no comment from American or British authorities about Anonymous attacks on sites belonging to foreign governments.
DDoS attacks work by flooding a website with billions of bogus requests for information, tying up its servers so that regular visitors cannot reach it. While they rarely cause permanent damage, DDoS attacks can cost online businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue.
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