Security Experts:

Petition Seeks to Legalize DDoS Activities

Anonymous is petitioning the White House to legalize DDoS, urging them to recognize it as a legitimate means of protest. But based on the number of signatures so far, it  seems as though few people agree.

DDoS attacks can lead to downtime, and if an organization’s business model is based on uptime and Web-based communications, then a DDoS attack – or protest – translates into lost productivity, and a potential for lost revenue.

AnonymousYet, this is no different than having 10,000 people block the street leading to the organization’s front door. There will be lost productivity – as the customers cannot access the business itself leaving the staff to wander the halls – and revenue will fall as sales are not being made.

In that context, DDoS does seem like a valid level of protest. However, legislators disagree, and the act of launching a DDoS attack can lead to prison sentences and heavy fines. Whereas coordinating a physical protest (i.e. blocking the street) is worth nothing more than a slap on the wrist in comparison.

“With the advance in internet techonology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage. It is, in that way, no different than any "occupy" protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time. As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediatly released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their "records", cleared,” the petition says.

Currently, there are only 2,125 signatures, far less than the 25,000 needed before the White House has to answer, or even acknowledge the request. While the petition raises some interesting points, it is unlikely that the White House will make any moves to legalize DDoS any time soon.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.
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