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WikiLeaks army 'Anonymous' eyes Bank of America with 'Operation BOA Constrictor'

Anonymous, the loosely knit association of WikiLeaks supporters, is seeking to rally the online faithful to attack Bank of America with 'Operation BOA Constrictor.'

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Likewise, Bank of America probably confronts DDoS attacks regularly and likely has strong defenses, Rich Mogull, an analyst and CEO with the security research firm Securosis, told the Associated Press.

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Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri declined to comment on the matter when reached by phone and e-mail by the Monitor.

Harvard: DDoS used for political and criminal aims

Operation BOA Constrictor comes as Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society released a report Dec. 20 warning that DDoS attacks are becoming more prevalent while remaining difficult for most websites to combat.

"With recent highly publicized DDoS attacks on WikiLeaks, and ‘Operation Payback’ attacks by ‘Anonymous’ on sites perceived to oppose WikiLeaks, we expect these attacks to become more common,” according to the report, titled “Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites.

While Anonymous released a statement earlier this month saying its intent is not to harm the public, its DDoS attacks do have a monetary affect on website users who are in effect forced to pay higher costs so that MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal can beef up their anti-DDoS security, according to the Berkman Center’s report. It also warns that DDoS has in the past been utilized to blackmail victims for financial gains.

"By harnessing a large number of computers – often computers compromised by malware, allowing remote users to control the computers' behavior without the users' knowledge – criminals are able to render a website unusable, then seek ‘protection money’ from the site's owners. But DDoS is also used for a variety of non-financial reasons, including political ones," the report states.

So far, Anonymous’ actions appear to be merely political and not for financial gain, although Anonymous’ end-motives are unknown.

The weakness in DDoS

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