June 28, 2011 at 1:48 PM ET
Hacking group Anonymous took down a tourist-oriented website in Orlando, Florida Tuesday, vowing it will launch a denial-of-service attack on a different tourist-related website every day as a way of protesting the arrests of members of a group helping feed the homeless there. That could make the city the hack-iest place on earth, as well as being home to Disney World, the "happiest place on earth."
The website hit by Anonymous Tuesday, OrlandoFloridaGuide.com, was an "odd target," said the Orlando Sentinel: "a privately owned tourism site that has no apparent affiliation with City Hall. That website went offline shortly before 10 a.m.; the group's news release indicated it would remain disabled until 6 p.m."
However, as of 1 p.m ET, the site was accessible.
"Everyday we will launch a new DDoS attack on a different target," said Anonymous on its "Operation Orlando" website. The group also vowed to continue to "email millions of people in 50 countries with the Boycott Orlando campaign message."
The reason for the anger was the recent arrest of members of Orlando Food Not Bombs, including the group's president. Orlando Food Not Bombs is described by the Orlando Sentinel as an "anti-poverty group that has been feeding large groups of homeless people in Lake Eola Park." The effort was "in defiance of a controversial ordinance that requires permits to feed large groups in downtown parks, and limits any group to no more than two permits per year, per park."
Last week, Anonymous emailed the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, warning it would take its website down last Monday, and did. Scott Fagan of the chamber, told station WKMG that the site was down because of the intentional overload of its servers — which is what a denial-of-service attack achieves, deluging and overwhelming a website with traffic so that it takes a site offline.
Now, stepped-up website attacks will come because the "city of Orlando has ignored our warnings," Anonymous said.
The hacking group gained notoriety for its denial-of-service attacks on Visa and MasterCard earlier this year. The credit card companies halted online donations during the WikiLeaks controversy, blocking contributions to Bradley Manning, the accused document leaker now in custody. "Credit" for an outage on MasterCard.com Tuesday was claimed by another hacking group.