Operation Global Blackout: Now Anonymous Wants to Take Down the Whole Internet


On March 31st, Anonymous plans to take down the DNS system and effectively render the Web unusable. The group will probably fail.

Once upon a time, Anonymous was a group of relatively harmless Internet pranksters, but over time, the groups' attacks have become more politicized and coordinated. Through its role in the SOPA protests, when the group took down sites owned by the entertainment industry and the FBI's and Justice Department's websites, Anonymous gather some mainstream recognition. Anonymous' next target: the DNS servers that form the foundation of the Internet itself.

According to a message on Pastebin, on the March 31st, Anonymous plans to point its Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) tool at the 13 server clusters that make up the root DNS servers that ensure that every domain name you type into your browser is converted into the right IP address. You probably don't actually touch those servers yourself that often, as virtually every ISP runs its own DNS server that is essentially a copy of what is on the root servers. If your ISP can't refresh its database, though, issues with the root servers could – in theory – make it rather hard to surf the Internet.

As with any of Anonymous' missives, it's hard to know how serious the group really is. Last year, one of the group's fractions announced that it would take down Facebook. That attack was quickly denied by another fraction and, to the best of our knowledge, it never happened.

We are trying to confirm that this isn't just a prank and will update this post once we find out more.

Why Anonymous With Fail: Bringing the DNS System Down is Hard!

Here is why Anonymous will likely fail:

Given the importance of the DNS root servers (named A through M and distributed geographically around the world), they are obviously hardened against these kind of attacks. To really affect the global DNS system, the group would have to bring every single one of these 13 servers down – and for at least a day or two.

The last large coordinated attack on the DNS system in 2007 (PDF) only managed to bring two servers – or, more precisely, two DNS zones – to their knees. While these servers also appear to the outside as just being one single server with a single IP address, there are actually quite a few servers behind these addresses that are spread across multiple locations and that can distribute traffic among themselves and out to the other 13 addresses. The DNS system uses the Anycast methodology to ensure that one single working server would be enough to keep the global Internet running – and these aren't some puny web servers either, but machines hooked up to multi-gigabit connections. There are actually hundreds of servers that make up the DNS root system – not just 13.

Anonymous says that it wants to exploit security holes in vulnerable DNS servers to attack the root servers. Even that is quite a stretch, as the same security mechanisms would still kick in.

It's quite unlikely then that Anonymous would be able to really take the global Internet down.

Image credit: Vincent Diamante

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Anonymous’ Next Target: Facebook


Anonymous, the loose-knit organization of hackers and activists that grew out of the 4chan messageboard, has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile hacks, defacements and denial of service attacks in the past. Among the groups’ targets were sites from major organizations like New Corp., Iranian government websites and the sites of the IMF. Now, according to a so-called “press release” by Anonymous, the organization’s next target is Facebook. On November 5, 2011 (Guy Fawkes Day), Facebook will become the target of the organization’s wrath and will, if everything goes according to plan, be unavailable for most users.

Why is Anonymous so Upset? Facebook is Selling Data to Governments

The statement itself, which was published about 3 weeks ago but mostly remained unnoticed until today, has a very paranoid feel to it. The author (or authors), for example, argue that Facebook is selling personal data to “government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Is Anonymous Able to Bring Facebook Down?

The problem with this “press release,” which as is so often the case with Anonymous, comes in the form of a YouTube video, is that it is obviously unclear who is behind this attempt. It could just be the work of a single person with no institutional support behind it. It’s not clear then, if Anonymous will really launch this attack – or if this is just an elaborate hoax.

Then, of course, there is also the simple question whether an organization like Anonymous could actually bring Facebook to its knees. After all, it’s not like Facebook doesn’t know how to handle a lot of traffic. A simple denial of service attack then, isn’t likely to be very effective.

You can read the full text of the release below:

[toggle state=”closed” title=”Click Here to Read Anonymous’ Full Press Release”]

Operation Facebook

DATE: November 5, 2011.
Twitter :
Irc.Anonops.Li #OpFaceBook

Attention citizens of the world,

We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows:
Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy.

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “privacy” settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you “delete” your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more “private” is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.….

You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them “for their own good” while they then make millions off of you. When a service is “free,” it really means they’re making money off of you and your information.

Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.

This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves.

We are anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us


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