Anonymous takes on Amazon, fails, targets PayPal

Attempts by the rag-bag collective known as Anonymous to take down Amazon.com have failed thus far.

The self-appointed guardians of Internet freedoms called for a concerted DDoS attack on the online retailer from 1600 GMT today, and though a substantial online army was mobilised, Amazon's servers seem to hold fast. In fact, an hour after the attack was supposed to start the attackers seemed to switch their focus to PayPal instead, daunted perhaps by the sheer size of Amazon's operation. In comparison, PayPal is a smaller fish to fry

Amazon found itself in the crosshairs of Operation Payback after ousting WikiLeaks from its servers, which it hires out to third parties (including, gulp.. THINQ).

PayPal has admitted coming under pressure from the US State Department to dump WikiLeaks in an attempt to stem the flow of funds to the organisation. PayPal's blog was previously taken offline by an Anonymous DDoS attack and now the main servers are slowing but apparently holding fast.

Mastercard and Visa, which similarly weaseled out of processing donations to WikiLeaks, have also been targeted by Operation Payback.

Twitter is another potential target, having closed the@Anon_Operation twit feed. Its replacement http://twitter.com/#!/anonops now claims to have "10,609 users in irc, all together in this protest"

Anonymous' attack tool LOIC has been downloaded more than 31,000 times, some reports say.

Meanwhile, Dutch police today arrested a 16-year-old boy suspected of participating in the attacks.

Other sources suggest the US authorities are even leaning on media outlets to stop reporting Anonymous' antics.

Anonymous' statement of intent can be viewed here. An online petition in support of WikiLeaks is here. And the Cablegate cables are now available on The Pirate Bay here.