Marking a change from the usual DDoS attacks, hacking and other tactics, Anonymous and LulzSec have issued a call to their legion of supporters, asking them to close their PayPal accounts as a act of protest.
In an “official communique from Anonymous and Lulz Security in the name of AntiSec“, they cited the recent global arrest of a number of alleged Anonymous operatives and the continued denial of PayPal to allow donations to Wikileaks as reasons for the “operation”.
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In recent weeks, we’ve found ourselves outraged at the FBI’s willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations… In addition to this horrific law enforcement incompetence, PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a beacon of truth in these dark times.
In the first few hours that the operation ran, its hashtag, #oppaypal, shot up Twitter’s Trending Topics. At the time of writing it was the second most tweeted topic.
The response from supporters of the hacktivists spread beyond expressions of support.
Supporters answered the communique’s request for those who have shut down their Paypal accounts to post screengrabs of their accounts being closed onto Twitter.
According to tweets from Anonymous Twitter accounts, “a few hundred” [PayPal] accounts had been closed and the group expects more than “9000 accounts to be closed in the next week”.
Anonymous also claimed to have spoken with “someone close to PayPal” who allegedly informed the group that within the first few hours of the operation more than 20 000 accounts were closed. However, speaking to Memeburn, a PayPal spokesperson denied this saying, “We haven’t seen any changes to our normal operations (including account opening and closing)”.
In a series of tweets before markets opened, Anonymous indicated that it expected its operation to have an effect on PayPal parent company eBay’s stock-price, and by close of trade, eBay’s stock on the Nasdaq had dropped by more than three percent.
In a tweet when markets first opened, Wikileaks referred to to the drop in eBay’s stock-price as a “stock crash” worth US$93-million. Overall however, for various reasons it was the worst day for US markets in eight weeks, Reuters reported.
Though both Anonymous and LulzSec claim that their previous tactics, being “peaceful protests” are acceptable, this is the first legal operation by the groups. Anonymous has promised a “special surprise” for PayPal.