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4chan victim of DDoS as FBI investigates role in PayPal attack

By Ed Oswald, Betanews

Users of 4chan may have gotten a taste of their own medicine after the site was knocked offline by a DDoS attack from an unknown origin early Thursday morning. The attack came amid an FBI raid on a Texas collocation facility as part of a wider investigation into an attack on PayPal.

4chan may have been indirectly involved in the attack, which has also been blamed on a group that calls itself “Operation: Payback.” Operation Payback is also believed to have involvement in attacks on Visa and MasterCard. In all cases, the attacks were in response to the suspension of accounts associated with WikiLeaks.

“Site is down due to DDoS. We now join the ranks of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, et al.–an exclusive club!” 4chan founder Christopher Poole posted at 2:39 AM Thursday. No other details were given on the incident itself.

It appeared that the attack was first aimed at the site’s popular message boards, however later the entire site seemed to be offline. 4chan looked to be fully operational when checked by Betanews late Thursday afternoon.

The site has been known for its pranks and participation in general Internet chaos, whether it be faking pop star Justin Bieber’s death or shutting down both RIAA and MPAA’s websites back in September.

Nevertheless, the activities of the group may not be 100 percent legal — thus the legal attention of the FBI. The agency appears to be looking into the collocation facility’s role, even though the site’s servers may have been inadvertently hijacked to launch the attack.

PayPal contacted the FBI regarding the attack on December 6, according to documents uncovered by news site The Smoking Gun following an attack by 4chan users. Several days later, the site was attacked again — this time more severely — by participants in the Operation: Payback effort.

FBI officials appear only to be interested in finding the offending server according to the documents posted to The Smoking Gun. “Once the desired computer has been identified, no other systems will be checked,” FBI Agent Christopher Calderon writes in the affidavit.

That said, Calderon admits this may require the search of multiple computers until the desired one is found — meaning the process could turn out to be quite lengthy.

Copyright Betanews, Inc. 2010

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