Muslim hackers operating out of the Middle East have launched #OpPetrol, yet another online attack planned by the group that dubs itself "Anonymous." Although the event appears to be somewhat haphazard, if successful, Anonymous could take down government and oil-company sites in North America, Europe and Asia.
#OpPetrol is scheduled to take place today (June 20), although as of right now, no major sites appear to be compromised in any way. Anonymous generally attacks with a distributed denial of service ( DDoS ) maneuver, which crashes websites by overwhelming them with fake visits.
Although #OpPetrol has hacked a few small sites by posting its logo and mission statement on the sites' home pages, repairs are already underway. Of the sites reported compromised by Hackers News Bulletin, most are up and running just fine, with minimal slowdown.
"This op is very special," wrote an #OpPetrol representative on Pastebin, a key hub for Anonymous communications, "because we gonna hit many countries in the same time." Targets include the United States, Canada, England, Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and Qatar.
The justification is on shaky grounds in terms of economics, world history and theology. "Petrol is sold with the dollar, and Saudi Arabia has betrayed Muslims with their cooperation," wrote the representative. "Because the Zionists own us like this."
The Anonymous representative goes on to explain that Muslims must fight against the powers that be, who are planning to take away their material wealth, and that Islam should act as a buffer against "the killers of innocents, the stealers of land, dignity, rights and resources; they are the creators of the bombs, drones and surveillance technologies that have stolen all that is sacred from us." [See also: Anonymous' Greatest Hits ]
In addition to a healthy dose of conspiracy theory (the manifesto references the "New World Order" at least once), #OpPetrol's goals and methods are not at all clear. Targeting governments that buy and sell energy resources essentially means targeting the whole world, and suggesting that the government of Saudi Arabia is in league with Zionists is a stretch for a number of reasons.
Also worth mentioning is that while the group claims "Anonymous" status, this is a very different group than the English-speaking Anonymous group that was very active two years ago. A number of young hackers in Arab countries have adopted the Anonymous name in their efforts to undermine American and Israeli interests online.
Unless the operation ramps up exponentially within the next few hours, though, it's fair to say that #OpPetrol has been a bust. Even so, if you see something suspicious on a gas, oil or government website today, you'll know that somewhere, an Anonymous hacker is very, very angry about something.
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