Low Orbit Ion Cannon (or LOIC), originally developed by Praetox Technologies that serves as an open source network stress testing and denial-of-service attack application(later released to the public), is a software used by the hacktivist (a computer hacker whose activity is aimed at promoting a social or political cause) group Anonymous to bring down websites of their target by launching a series of coordinated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that floods the web servers with immense traffic and rendering the servers unavailable. Servers that suffered from DDoS were usually defaced or in its worst case scenario, have its database compromised and leaked, causing loss in profit.
Over the decades, Anonymous has done a number of attacks, significant and otherwise. Significant attacks were Operation Payback (in regards of Internet privacy, where government and corporate websites were attacked), Operation Sony (when two jailbreakers successfully ran homebrew games and Linux on the PS3 hardware were sued), Operation Megaupload (a file-sharing site shut down by an UMG lawsuit), the list goes on and on…
And dealt has been the immense damage to corporations and governments worldwide.
It [Sony] now says the data breach will result in a $170m drain, at least, on operating profits in terms of insurance and damages costs.
— BBC News, 2011
Operation Sony had undeniably, contributed to the loss of US$3.2 billion that Sony suffered in 2011 (BBC News,2011) after Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was hacked by Anonymous and approximately 100 million users’ sensitive information (names, passwords and addresses) were compromised and part of them were leaked online by Anonymous.
All these boils down to support Power R. (Editorial Director of of the Computer Security Institute (CSI), San Francisco, CA) in which he argues in contrary to Steele’s opinion.
While Steele believes that hackers are a national resource that are often wrongly looked upon, Power believes that these people are the new enemy of the cyber world and they range from pathetic thefts to state-sponsored terrorism, and everything in between — and Anonymous is one out of of the many “everything in between”s.
To put things in perspective, Anonymous is a decentralized group of hackers that communicates mainly through the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and they have managed to reap a big hole in a corporation’s profit and also bring down major government websites.
Now imagine what a state-sponsored terrorism could do.
BBC News (2011). Sony forecasts annual loss of $3.2bn. [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13502529 [Accessed on 14th December, 2013]
Pastebin (2012). Sony Hacked (LEAK) Playstation Network Pwned. [Online] Available at: http://pastebin.com/hujzpaf3 [Accessed on 14th December, 2013]
PBS Frontline (n.d.) The Dangers Confronting Computer Users, Corporations and Governments. [Online] Available at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hackers/risks/dangers.html [Accessed on 14th December, 2013]