For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

Summary: For and against reasons for distributed or non-distributed denial-of-service attacks being a legitimate form of protest.

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TOPICS: Security
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Many students and I would argue that yes, distributed or non-distributed denial-of-service attacks are a legitimate form of protest.

The British media has been inundated with news of student protests erupting after the government voted to treble tuition fees for new students starting in the 2012 academic year. Though all media from around the world have focused also on the Wikileaks scandal, which continues to put pressure on governments and their efforts around the world.

The two can overlap. The problem is that most students and political activists of my age are unaware of this mechanism of airing our disdain.

A distributed denial-of-service attack is when hundreds or thousands of people at one time use an application to target their own broadband bandwidth to pummel a certain server, often a web server hosting a website, to overload it with information causing it to shut down.

In practice, you download a small application, follow the instructions made available by means of viral marketing spreading and you ping; you ping until your heart's content.

I am neither condoning nor supporting the use of denial-of-service attacks, but one has to wonder whether the evolution and the speed of the Web has placed certain priorities higher than others when resorting to means of protest.

In a recent poll undertaken by the Between the Lines bloggers, though results are still coming in and polls are yet to change, at the time of publication most do not believe denial-of-service attacks are a legitimate form of protest. I think the readers are wrong.

So let's just run through some basic pro's and con's to see if you can be persuaded otherwise:

Reasons for:

Reasons against:

Whether or not you consider it to be a legitimate form of protest, suited for the twenty-first century, it still makes one hell of a noise.

Do you consider DDoS'ing a legitimate form of protest?

Topic: Security

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203 comments
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  • DDoS attacks are criminal.

    DDoS attacks are criminal. The criminals are stealing other peoples resources for as you say " To Protest". So how can you even play with the idea it might be Legit. The collage kids from the 60s had far more balls then your age group they protested in public,they were even shot and killed for protesting without stealing from other to protest.
    Stan57
    • I agree 100%

      if DDos attacks can be called a protest then burning cars and buildings can be called "a protest" to. now these students cry "you can't arrest me - i broke that innocent shop owners windows and stole the TVs as a form of protest - its allowed!!"
      Ron Bergundy
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 As a thought - would you agree that a DDoS attack (and its consequences - loss of business, revenue for a short amount of time, negative press coverage etc.) is better than seeing physical violence on the streets with burning cars and police officers being attacked?
        zwhittaker
      • Except nothing is damaged

        @cyberspammer2
        or stolen. DDoS is more similar to a sit-in. You deny use of a specific space for a limited period of time.

        The problem, however, is similar to real world protests; Those who are violent or have criminal intent will travel in the same circles, looking for opportunity.
        mdemuth
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 You are so far off base here, its just sad. A DDOS does not break anything, and it doesn't steal anything. Your metaphor is ridiculously inadequate. A DDOS does in fact block an entrance by using it excessively. Mass dialing a service center would be a clear case of a 1-to-1 comparison. A sit-in or a picketing is closer to a correct metaphor. If you use that (more correct) metaphor, it is easy to find dozens of precedence where such an action is considered legitimate protest. And I will point out as well that every "legitimate protest" had opponent calling it illegal and destructive, so I guess any ddos is in good company.
        TechrepLath
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 once again its us against them, only this time the author is just as bad... "Many students and I would argue that yes, distributed or non-distributed denial-of-service attacks are a legitimate form of protest." THEN he goes on to say "I am neither condoning nor supporting the use of denial-of-service attacks," but you are condoning it, you condoned it in the first sentence of the story. and sure there isnt any "physical damage" But what about those people who need to use those sites to manage their accounts, pay their bills, its not really even the company they are hurting, its the people who use those sites. But I guess making your point is more important than anyone else who might be trying to take care of their business. as for the guy who makes it sound akin to a sit in, why not physically go those places and stage a REAL sit in, that way the rest of us who dont agree with you can still do our business. DDoS attacks are not legitimate form of protest, they are tool for cowardly people who wont even face the people they are attacking, at least in a real protest you know who it is thats protesting you.....
        nickdangerthirdi@...
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 DDoS attacks do not damage their IT infrastructure and the attacks are not directed at "innocent" businesses, so your comparison is misguided at best.
        mrweldo
      • If I don't agree you I can DDos you? You are misguided from 4chan I guess..

        @zwhittaker @mdemuth @TechrepVrijPodium @mrweldo

        How can all of you "pro" DDos lamers be so stupid. Here's an example. You (You pro hippies) have a website that I don't agree with. I decide I hate you and DDos it. I "sit in" on it for about a month. Changing IP's and locations that my attack is coming from so as soon as your host knows where the hole is and blocks it. I've already switched IP's and locations and am attacking from somewhere else. After a while your host is fed up with blocking holes for just your website while others on the shared server are also experiencing outages because of "just your website which I am "protesting"". They tell you to take your website and business elsewhere. And many hosting companies won't refund you if termination was due to something like this. So, think about it. It's not like regular protesting. It's not like a sit in. These both don't attack people. Get the facts. DDos attacks are hurtful to both the host and website owner. If you don't think they are maybe you should read up on it. Because I don't think any of you really grasp the concept.

        (Oh, and argue all you want with me. I don't come back and read or defend because arguing with people with less common sense then 2 year old's is pointless because you will all never get it.)
        Toque_3D
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 and others -- DDoS is not always without real damage, and always has a real cost. It usually hurts other customers as much as it hurts the business, since they waste time trying to get in. Case in point, how about the small businesses who use paypal to handle their sales.
        The real damage can come if the system is truly overloaded and crashes, causing database corruption and loss of real data. How would you feel if you had placed an order online and it was lost due to a 'protest'.
        While I can see the parallels to picketing, I also agree that neither is without real consequence, and as in any 'civil disobedience' type of activity, the benefits and costs must be considered.
        tcunningham4
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 Very nicely put!
        Shyam Madhavan Sarada
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 Very nicely put!
        Shyam Madhavan Sarada
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @cyberspammer2 If you deny me the right to use my Web site to speak and to listen to the speech of others, then you have denied me my First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Your right to protest, i.e, your freedom of speech, ends where it infinges my freedom of speech. DDOS is not defensible as a form of protest, which in its essence is a right conveyed by the Constitution's First Amendment.
        roger that
    • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

      legally speaking its criminal. flooding high profile sites gets eyes put directly on u. so it is pretty stupid. keeping it at the kiddy level of attacking each other is fine as that wont get eyes on u.
      bspurloc
    • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

      another screw-up in the article is calling script kiddies students. last I checked 12 year olds werent attending Choate and Dartmouth. the author has a huge disconnect in understanding behind the scenes
      bspurloc
    • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

      @Stan57 It could be considered the same as protesters gathering around a tree, or blocking access to a building. Yes both of those could be classified as illegal.
      But now days the whole world could protest at once should they choose to.
      It is a delaying action, Like Union workers protesting. Or students taking over a building (Berkley Campus)
      It should be considered on the same level as that. A misdemeanor, if enough people do it, then they may have to look at the item being protested as being in question.
      45,000,000 Say don't do this... They should listen...
      agohige
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @agohige <br>"45,000,000 Say don't do this... They should listen..."<br><br>The problem is that, in the case of a DDoS, you can end up getting a misrepresentation of the number who actually care. Many people who take part in a DDoS, might just be doing so for the sake of being part of it. While I do recognize that this can happen with a sit-in, I would also say that it is less of a problem. A sit-in requires a lot of your own time and inconvenience (making random 'I wanna be part of something' people less likely), a script running on a computer while you go about you life does not. The result is that 5,000 people may have taken part in a DDoS, but only 500 or 1,000 actually cared - there would really be no way to tell exactly.<br><br>When something is as simple as starting an application and walking away, the dedication that protests are supposed to highlight is lost.
        luxsphinx@...
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @agohige The tree has no right to property or to the freedom of speech that are denied in attacks on Web sites. If you take away my phone, my Internet site, my Facebook or whatever, you are limiting my ability to speak out.
        roger that
    • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

      @Stan57

      Yeah if you spam from your computer only, it shouln't be illegal, just like it is not illegal to catch a computer virus. If you operate a network of bots, then yes, it should be illegal.

      This should solve the problem of someone innocent being prosecuted because he had a virus on his computer.
      aaaa123354
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @aaaa123354 This is kinda what I meant. I'm not advocating either of them - as I mentioned in the article. I did mean 'to DDoS' as the non-botnet solution, however. Sorry if I didn't make that all that clear.
        zwhittaker
      • RE: For and against: DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of protest?

        @aaaa123354 @Stan57

        Stan, if you actually catch a virus that spams other internet users you are actually breaking the law. If you did not take precautions and if you allowed someone to use your IP you are criminally liable. You must and you will be prosecuted if you are caught. The reason is that apart from SPAM ads your "virus" or bot may defraud people or distribute child pornography, breach copyright etc ! It is the same as if you have a lodger at home, he uses the place for drug trafficking. You should know what happens in your home, same way you should know what happens in your computer
        Strathclyde-Forensics