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Anonymous attacks Tunisia: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali offline

Anarchists lurch about firing DDoS cannon incontinently

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A portion of 4Chan's denizens have taken it upon themselves to attack Tunisian government websites.

The attack follows a decision by the Tunisian government to block access to WikiLeaks cables. Given the widespread use of censorware technology in Arab nations, we strongly suspect the Tunisian government is not alone in making this move, but it seems to have become the focus of a DDoS assault, which unsurprisingly floored targeted websites including those of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the government's official website. Net security firm Sophos reports.

In a statement, members of the Anonymous collective said the attack is in response to censorship by the Arab nation, which seems to come as something of a surprise to those behind the attack, if not to the wider world. We rather suspect the more informed members of the loosely banded Anonymous collective would be more aware of the country's mediocre (but not especially dreadful, to be fair) human rights record.

Attacking the brochureware websites of countries that make little use of internet access to run their business makes little or no sense. It's an empty gesture, at best, and makes those running such attacks look about as effective as the People's Front for the Liberation of Judea, at worst.

Those concerned about press freedoms and censorship in Tunisia or the wider region would do a lot better to lend their support to Reporters Without Borders or the Open Net Initiative rather than download packet-flooding tools.

The attacks against Tunisian government websites are the latest of a series of assaults against organisations seen as hostile to WikiLeaks – primarily financial firms such as Mastercard and PayPal that have suspended payment facilities for the whistleblower website in response to the row over its release of leaked US diplomatic cables. Participants in the attack are invited to use the LOIC packet-flooding tool established by Anonymous. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the more militant Anonymous members are using botnets of compromised machines to increase the potency of attacks. ®

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