(Updated Sept. 11, 2012, at 11 am MDT)
I have, until now, been generally supportive of the hacktivist group Anonymous. It has been easy to cheer secretly when they attack organizations I don’t like. Today, however, it appears they, or someone, attacked and knocked out GoDaddy because, according to some reports, GoDaddy supported SOPA legislation. Pied Type is not linked to GoDaddy, but my son’s small business is. And when GoDaddy went down, my son and his clients went down. Not good for the clients. Not good for the son working on tight deadlines for two different projects. The last I heard, he’d been down for five hours.
Most stories say the attack was the work of a single individual, AnonymousOwn3r, not Anonymous. I hope so, because the GoDaddy attack has affected millions of individuals and small businesses that, until now, were likely somewhat sympathetic to Anonymous. If Anonymous was responsible for this, their honeymoon is over. And if they weren’t, then AnonymousOwn3r had better have a deep, deep hole to hide in.
Something like this was probably inevitable, with Anonymous being so loosely organized and decentralized. A rogue member, or some individual seeking to emulate the Anonymous attacks, decided to take a shot at a big, high-visibility target. The attack was successful. GoDaddy went down — along with millions of their customers. The attack may also have destroyed whatever public support the Anonymous collective has enjoyed up to this point.
Update, Sept. 11: GoDaddy says the outage yesterday was an internal problem, not a hacker attack.
We have determined that the service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.
— GoDaddy interim CEO Scott Wagner
Honesty is the best policy, but it would have been tempting to blame it all on the wannabe hacker.