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April 10, 2012

'Anonymous' Blamed for Recent Hacks Against USTelecom, TechAmerica

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

The United States Telecom Association (News - Alert) is a recent victim of an online attack by Anonymous, a loosely organized but persistent hacking group.              

Anonymous reportedly took “credit” for Monday’s denial-of-service attack on the USTelecom (News - Alert) Web site.

The action was believed to be in response for the association’s support for a proposed law called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA). The bill – backed by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (News - Alert) (R-MI) and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) – would let industry and government officials exchange information about malware, viruses, denial-of-service and cyber-attacks.

“As an industry in the business of facilitating communications, we respect the right of those calling themselves ‘Anonymous’ to express their views and engage in lawful political advocacy,” USTelecom President and CEO Walter B. McCormick Jr., said in a press release. “But by launching a cyber attack in an effort to coerce, intimidate and stifle speech, members of Anonymous are acting contrary to the very freedoms and Internet norms that they espouse. Ironically, by their actions Anonymous hacktivists underscore the importance of speedy action on the bipartisan Rogers-Ruppersberger legislation to ensure that the Internet remains an open and safe forum for all.” 

The TechAmerica Web site was also targeted in the denial-of-service attack, Bloomberg News reported. The attack on TechAmerica’s page started on Sunday, added Bloomberg (News - Alert).

“We believe the voice of the Internet community is critical to all policy discussions but the conversations need to be based on accurate information,” Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica President and CEO, said in a statement. “We have thoroughly vetted this bill and see it as an important tool in combatting cyber-attacks, like the one we are experiencing.”

Denials of service attacks in the past were caused by hackers sending so many requests to a Website it crashes. Servers for the site often overload.

The two targeted technology associations represent such technology giants as IBM, Apple and AT&T (News - Alert) Inc.

Anonymous recently attacked more than 500 websites in just a single week, according to an April 5 report by TMCnet. Sites under attack included Web sites from China. Attacks appear to be in response to China's Internet censorship regulations, according to the report.

Edited by Braden Becker
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