The Anonymous and Lulz Security hacktivist groups have called for an official boycott of payment processing service PayPal.
The protest comes in retaliation for the July 19 arrests of 16 people accused of launching online attacks on behalf of Anonymous and LulzSec; 14 of those arrested are suspected to have participated in denial-of-service attacks on PayPal's website last December. Dubbed "Operation Avenge Assange" (referring to Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks), the December attacks were organized by Anonymous in retaliation for PayPal refusing to process donations from WikiLeaks supporters.
In a message posted on the text storage site Pastebin this morning (July 27), both groups urged PayPal customers to "immediately close their accounts" in protest of "the FBI's willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations."
The official statement continues: "In addition to this horrific law enforcement incompetence, PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a beacon of truth in these dark times … Quite simply, we, the people, are disgusted with these injustices. We will not sit down and let ourselves be trampled upon by any corporation or government."
In response to PayPal heeding the U.S. government's mandate that it stop handling the money of WikiLeaks supporters, the hackers wrote, "PayPal's willingness to fold to legislation should be proof enough that they don't deserve the customers they get."
To that end, Anonymous and LulzSec are urging PayPal customers to use payment processing services such as MyBitCoin, Liberty Reserve, WebMoney, Neteller and Moneybookers, all of which LulzSec included in a post on Twitter.
LulzSec immediately followed that post with one that read, "PayPal is only accepted everywhere because everyone uses PayPal." It's a poor system, LulzSec said, "so let's start using these smaller services."
Though it's too soon to determine the effectiveness of the PayPal boycott, stock in eBay Inc., which owns PayPal, is currently down 1.69 percent from yesterday's close.