Having seen several posts on Facebook & Twitter calling on “Anonymous” an amateur group of cyber criminals to save Sri Lanka, the question is are we prepared to face the consequences of such an intervention? Calling on international politically motivated cybercriminals to “help” will result in large-scale cyber-attacks on our digital infrastructure which will do us more harm than good. By now Anonymous has already launched DDoS attacks on several targets under #OpSriLanka.
If you do not know what DDoS is, it’s a criminally motivated technique used for overloading web servers with fake traffic that the website or sites hosted in that server load very slowly or refuse to load at all in your web browser. Mounting DDoS attacks against cyber assets under the control of the government can’t disclose information about the ill-gained wealth of the Rajapakses, but such attacks are incredibly unwise and unhelpful to the public of Sri Lanka. Here’s why?
#OpSriLanka is a Waste of Tax Money
So far Anonymous has managed to knock off the official websites of the Sri Lanka Police, the Government of Sri Lanka, as well as the Information and Communication Agency. The clueless Sri Lankans on social media endorsing the attacks don’t know these websites were paid for with taxpayers’ money and if the government decides to fight back, the taxpayers must bear the cost rendering #OpSriLanka incredibly unwise and unhelpful. Asela Waidyalankara a Cyber Security Consultant speaking to The Morning confirmed these views in detail.
It could affect the local Businessman
The screenshot below is of a tweet by a hacker affiliated with Anonymous calling for a DDoS attack on the LK Domain Registry. Had the assault come to pass, all the websites ending in LK would have become inaccessible. While there are many kinds of websites ending in LK the e-commerce websites could loose many potential customers.
For example, the hotel industry could lose thousands of guests when tourists are unable to make reservations online. The local business arena is already weak and launching cyber-attacks affecting the local businesses makes matters worse making #OpSriLanka incredibly unwise and unhelpful.
It’s being used for discrediting Activists
Roel Raymond the Editor in Chief of Roar.LK and a strong supporter of the protests on Twitter (refer below) denied the “news” a pro-government group is circulating under the guise of being info leaked by Anonymous, saying she was the middle woman in a deal to sell Roar Bangladesh to Namal Rajapaksa.
Roel is being targeted because she’s an active supporter of the #GoHomeGota2022 campaign. In a separate post on Instagram, she further emphasized that pro-government entities have been doing this for years and they have similarly targeted Sirasa News1st for covering the protests relentlessly. Check this thread on Twitter by Dr. Sanjana Hattotuwa for details.
Nothing but a pathetic cry for Attention
I am sorry to blow the bubble but Anonymous is not as good as you think. Their DDoS attacks are nothing but a pathetic cry for attention. They will not waste time if they are capable of hacking into offshore bank accounts. An old saying says “ගහෙන් ගහට කොට කොට යන කොට්ටෝරුවා, කෙහෙල් ගහට කොටපු දාට හොට පැටලෙනවා” (The woodpecker that pecks every other tree and gets away gets its beak stuck the day it pecks the banana tree) meaning one gets in trouble the day he meets a real opponent. Likewise, Anonymous got hacked when they launched DDoS attacks on Israeli-owned websites in the year 2014 [source: The Times of Israel]
#OpSriLanka is Cybercrime and Illegal
#OpSriLanka is a serious cybercrime and therefore illegal for two reasons. First attackers depend on a global network of infected computers, smartphones, and even home routers that we call Zombies, and stolen internet bandwidth to generate the fake traffic. Second, “Distributed Denial of Service” attacks are illegal under any and every circumstance. DDoS may or may not be a crime in Sri Lanka. However, it’s incredibly unwise and unhelpful to expect a cybercrime gang to save us from the Rajapakse regime.
The end does not justify the means. We cannot beat evil with evil because evil breeds evil. Anonymous has attacked several websites under the control of the government so far. However, the government itself remains unshaken by these attacks because it knows only ordinary folks feel the heat of such attacks. #OpSriLanka is evil breeding evil. Evil can be beaten by honorable efforts and hard work only. Remember, even the renowned “Pandora Papers” were not revealed by cybercriminals but by hardworking journalists.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Dishan Wickramaratne the voice behind the “Think a Minute” radio show that aired on Gold FM a few years ago.
As we protest against the problems of our generation – let’s not become the problems of the next generation, by becoming who we are not!Dishan Wickramaratne (Think a Minute Radio Talk Show Host)
We become the problems of the next generation when we invite a group of cybercriminals to intervene with the problems of our generation. Let us not stoop down to the level of our oppressors.
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