Internet gathering Anonymous, whose current goal is to raise awareness about “underhand methods” used by firms to damage WikiLeak’s ability to function, chose not to attack online retailer Amazon because it would have been “in bad taste”.
A statement published by the web movement today indicated that it opted not to undertake a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack on the website because it would have negatively affected consumers at a traditionally busy time of year.
Rumours had circulated on Twitter that Amazon was next on the DDOS target list following Mastercard, Visa and PayPal, which all witnessed website usability problems this week as a result of Anonymous’s actions.
Amazon was seen as a target because it announced that it had withdrawn hosting from WikiLeaks’ site.
Referring to the potential attack on Amazon, the statement said: “After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as co consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous.
“Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.”
Anonymous also indicated that it was never the movement’s intention to steal people’s personal information or credit card numbers, or seek to attack companies’ critical infrastructure.
Gilles Ubaghs, card and payments analyst at Datamonitor, told Retail Gazette that the actions by the group this week should not have had a major impact on retailers.
“The consequences on retail won’t be that severe,” he explained.
“A lot of people will have been spooked, but measures are in place to ensure consumers are protected.”
PayPal will continue to be a target for Anonymous, but it said that the attacks will not restrict the company’s ability to process payments.
“They are successful in slowing their network down just enough for people to notice and thus, we achieve our goal of raising awareness.”