'Anonymous' Attacks On Scientology

Dennis Faas's picture

A group of hackers has been carrying out threats against the Church of Scientology. The attacks are in response to the religion's efforts to remove a video originally posted on YouTube and Gawker, which featured Tom Cruise praising the attributes of Scientology. (Source: canada.com)

Working under the name Anonymous, the group has posted several videos on YouTube in which it threatens to drive the Church off the Internet and out of existence. In the first video, released last week, ominous storm clouds churn over a building (presumably a Scientology office) while a computerized voice delivers Anonymous' manifesto. "Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed... we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form...We are Anonymous...expect us," the voice said.

Over the weekend several distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks were reported against Scientology's main website, which effectively shut it down. These attacks are usually caused by a large amount of computers accessing the system in an attempt to use up the site's computing resources. "The attacks are mostly brute force flooding. Some of the attacks start and stop from a bank of machines at exactly the same time so there have definitely been bots employed," said Danny McPherson chief research officer at the security firm Arbor Networks. To prevent further problems, Scientology moved its data onto servers run by Prolexic, a security company that specializes in fending off DDOS attacks. (Source: theregiser.co.uk)

Waging its own press campaign to accompany the hacks, Anonymous has released a total of four videos so far. In its most recent post, the group refutes claims that the group is a collection of super hackers. "Among our numbers you will find individuals from all walks of life -- lawyers, parents, IT professionals, members of law enforcement, college students, veterinary technicians...We have no leaders, no single entity directing us -- only the collective outrage of individuals, guiding our hand in the current efforts to bring awareness."

The video goes on to say, "be very wary of February 10" and calls on the public to protest outside of Scientology centers across the world on that day. Anonymous also sent an email to Cnet saying it is "planning unspecified action" in major cities including New York, Montreal, Houston, London, Melbourne, and Los Angeles. (Source: news.com)

Rumors are also circulating that Church officials have reached out to the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Attorney General's Office to launch a criminal investigation into Anonymous' acts.

Despite its apparent ability to target Scientology, the subversive group seems to be dealing with some strife of its own. 711chan, an underground hacker website that is reportedly linked to Anonymous, was recently hacked by another group calling itself 'The Regime.' Due to these 'counterattacks' 711chan is currently shut down, and will no longer allow any discussions about attacks on Scientology on its site.

Despite 711chan's withdrawal from Anonymous-related activities, the attacks may be moving forward. While researching this article on Monday night around 11 PM ET, attempts to access the Church's main website were nearly impossible.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet