Anonymous Threatens State Of The Union Web Streams
(CNN) — Hacker collective Anonymous announced plans to disrupt Web streams of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address in protest of various Obama administration policies.
In a posting on one of its Web pages, the group claimed to be targeting live streams of the speech, to be broadcast on the official White House site as well as many major news websites, including CNN. Television feeds of the speech weren’t mentioned.
“The President of the United States of America, and the Joint Session of Congress will face an Army tonight. We will form a virtual blockade between Capitol Hill and the Internet,” the group declared.
Anonymous is a loosely organized collective, and the claims of its purported members can be hard to verify. But a handful of prominent Twitter accounts associated with Anonymous, which have in the past debunked or downplayed statements made in the name of the leaderless movement, appeared Tuesday to support the threat.
The @YourAnonNews account, with more than 877,000 followers, tweeted a news story about the effort shortly before 4 p.m. ET and uged followers to “hijack” the Twitter hashtag #SOTU — which users will presumably use to follow the speech.
The people behind the account also offered an alternate hashtag — #opSOTU — for supporters.
Anonymous says it’s protesting a list of beefs it has with the Obama administration, including cybersecurity legislation.
With the support of Obama, senators plan to reintroduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, on Wednesday. The bill attempts to address cyberattacks by increasing the sharing of information between private companies and the Department of Homeland Security. It was killed in the Senate last year amid concerns about privacy and lack of oversight.
President Obama could issue an executive order on Tuesday dictating cybersecurity standards for industries with vulnerable infrastructure, such as transportation. Like CISPA, the order would promote the sharing of information between private companies and the government. The government wants to use that data to better address future cyberattacks, but detractors are concerned about privacy.
Anonymous objects to such sharing, saying it would turn “private companies into government informants.”
The group’s call to action also mentions the recent death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, the National Defense Authorization Act, the use of military drones, Bradley Manning and warrantless wiretapping.
Taking on major news sites and the White House site is ambitious, and it was unclear Tuesday whether such an attack would have any impact. Anonymous has announced big plans in the past, such as shutting down Facebook, without following through.