A virtual jaunt 'round the Western Hemisphere has led FBI investigators to anonymous users who appear to have used servers from a Dallas-based server company to disable and disrupt PayPal after the money-wiring site froze a WikiLeaks donations account earlier this month. The Smoking Gun has excerpts from the FBI affadavit, which details the federal investigation into "Operation Payback," a hacker-led (or activist-led, depending on whose side you're on) distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. From the affidavit:
The attack appeared to be organized in response to PayPal's decision to suspend a WikiLeaks' PayPal account, which WikiLeaks was using to collect donations. The attackers, "Anonymous," described themselves as being "average Internet Citizens" and stated that their "motivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witness every day."
Multiple IP address traces took California-based agents to Germany, then France, then to Tailor Made, which has its headquarters on Irving Boulevard.
Tailor Made Servers were being used to host an Internet Relay Chat site from which the DDoS attack was directed and launched. Hackers encoded this message with their execution commands: "Good_night,_paypal_Sweet_dreams_from_AnonOPs". DDoS attacks essentially send many, many packets of unnecessary information to a server, which then tries to reply to those packets, creating a huge traffic jam and blocking legitimate exchanges.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Calls and e-mails to Tailor Made Servers have not yet been returned, possibly because all of their stuff has been confiscated by the FBI and they are freaking out. Update: One "JoseQ," president of Tailor Made, just e-mailed declining to comment on the raid, calling the whole thing "business as usual." And: "This incident involved a single server. And we most definitely are not freaking out."