Research suggests Anonymous' army of online mischief makers is growing.
According to security outfit Imperva’s Hacker Intelligence Initiative, downloads of the LOIC tool Anonymous uses to launch its denial of service attacks has been downloaded over 40,000 times with the majority of downloads occurring in the US.
According to Amichai Schulman, chief technology officer at Imperva: "The tool was originally developed as an open-source network stress-testing tool. It was recently tweaked to include a central command-and-control module.
"Operation Payback's ability to challenge serious sites and do that simultaneously is very much coupled to the introduction of the new version with its [command-and-control] capabilities. My speculation is that due to the substantial increase in downloads, it is highly likely this is no longer just a social movement, but also a technical movement like a botnet."
Imperva reckons Anonymous is in the process of coordinating botnets with over 100,000 computers capable of generating 800MGBPS traffic to increase the attack horsepower. .
"With the rate of machines engaging in this activity, we are speculating that the hacktivists are now operating using involuntary botnets – infecting unaware victims to involve them in this campaign. And operating a botnet, is of course, an illegal activity. " Shulman notes.
The number of downloads for the Operation Payback Denial of Service tool has increased by 5,000 over the past 24 hours, Imperva reckons.
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