December 13th, 2010 14:40 EST
Operation Payback is Officially a Failure - But Why?
I reported a few days ago that Operation Payback, the coalition of hackers united to bring down websites of companies detrimental to WikiLeaks, was becoming a massive failure. Well, I was sadly mistaken.
It is a complete failure.
Since I wrote the article condemning the inactivity and disorganization of Op Payback, nothing has changed. People are still itching to attack their own targets, the administrators of the operation are inactive and always gone, and they still think they`re part of a worthy cause. They are still testing the same failed methods to carry out their hilariously ineffective attacks, and still losing servers and Twitter accounts.
There is one anomaly, however: The number of people in their official IRC chat is dropping every day. So, why is it that this once popular counterculture movement is failing? Take it from a firsthand witness:
Disorganization: A couple of days ago, admins suggested that their followers begin attacking stoppiracy.org.za. Bear in mind - the purpose of the operation was to attack only sites that have made life difficult for WikiLeaks. This site had absolutely nothing to do with WikiLeaks, and they directed the followers to attack it. Some of the wiser ones began to see the futility of the operation and the stupidity of the admins and simply walked away. This event, of course, is in addition to the general lack of cohesion amongst the participants over the course of the past week.
Delusions of grandeur: The followers of Op Payback all claimed victory when they brought down a few sites for a short period of time with their simplistic and rudimentary LOIC/HOIC DDoS programs. They honestly believed they were instilling fear in the eyes of MasterCard, PayPal, Visa and any other site they chose to go after. However, just three days ago, people were suggesting "easy" targets to bring down, such as state.gov. A consensus was never reached, as per usual - until the next day, when the topic of the chat was changed to "Target: mastercard.com." Not only was this not a "fresh" target as the few awake and conscious administrators wanted - they failed to bring it down. The once-mighty Operation Payback couldn`t repeat their success of yester-week. Some became embarrassed and tired of the futility and simply walked away.
General ignorance: As I mentioned, these people think they see fear deep within the eyes of their targets. They also seem to forget that all a target has to do is switch IPs to combat these LOIC programs. The swelling of pride and the sensation of having power seems to block out their better judgment and propensity for originality.
Poor planning: When I talked to the only functioning admin last week when this operation had over 3,000 people in the Op Payback IRC room, he seemed very annoyed to have to hear the concerns of a worried, nearly dissenting, follower. I simply asked: "Why are there so few admins for a cause that has generated over 3,000 people?" His answer was simple: "We didn`t plan for it." That was the beginning of this operation`s quick decay. When you have 3,000 people all yelling out different targets and one barely functioning admin that has his head up his ass, do you expect results? The people that set this operation up surely must have talked amongst each other and agreed upon the basic notion that without a team of people to run the show and have their voices heard, failure will result. Apparently not! A few netsplits, crashed servers and suspended Twitters later, the operation is on life support.
And finally - as if you need any more factors to know that the best laid plans of inexperienced nitwits always go awry:
Hypocrisy: When I was all for this operation and saying positive things about it, I always had a safe place in the chat. When I began to dissent and give advice on how to keep it from meeting the septic tank, I was condescended to and kicked out. This was the case for many like me who saw it going nowhere thanks to a concoction of degrading factors. Why is this important, you ask? Operation Payback is all about protecting freedom of speech. However, it seems that they`re only in it to protect the speech that praises their pathetically futile attempts at being relevant.
Relevance. That was their goal to begin with, according to some admins. They wanted the media to take notice. They wanted their names in the papers, magazines, news broadcasts and blogs, and they sure had it. In fact, some people you ask would tell you that`s the main goal of the operation - attention. Well Operation Failure, irrespective of your successes, you will still have your media attention - you will go down as one of the biggest jokes in the history of freedom fighting.
Now, what they will also tell you is that they didn`t fail - they brought down a few sites for a short period of time and got recognized! So, recognition is the mark of success, now? Murderers get recognized in the media for their deeds - would you call them successful? Rapists, arsonists, burglars and drug dealers get their five minutes of news coverage - I highly doubt anyone would call them successful. I could run naked by the camera during a live news feed from a car accident, and I`d get recognition from all of those viral video sites.
As far as claiming success for bringing down those sites for a few hours - they all claim to be in a war. Nice rhetoric for a large group of unorganized people, huh? If this is war, then who`s your general - Custer? You don`t win a war by paralyzing a few sites with tools that a six year old could use. In fact, that`s not even a battle or a conflict - that`s some skirmish in the mess tent between a couple of Confederate soldiers battling over the last piece of ham. Some say success is defined by goals achieved - I say success is defined by goals CONSISTENTLY achieved. What have you consistently done, OpPay?
If I were Julian Assange, I`d be quite ashamed. This is not the way to get justice for him. Yes, I support WikiLeaks, but even I know that if a ship is sinking, I need to find a way off. I can`t stand back and blindly support an organization that claims to be so just and so influential, when in reality, they`re what the media has said they are: A group of bored 15 year olds -at least they may as well be.
Note: The author of this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.