Last week the people of Anonymous, through their Anonymous Iberoamerica [es] arm, announced [es] their intention to attack Chilean and Peruvian government websites on June 23, allegedly because of the violation of the Chilean and Peruvian people's rights and the monitoring of their communications. This isn't the first time that Anonymous has operated in the countries in the region. Among the most notorious attacks are Operation Tequila [es] in Mexico, Operation Colombia [es] (prompted by the Lleras Law [es]) and Operation Southern Storm [es] in Chile. Here is the video for the planned operation, which was received under the name Free Andes:
The actions of Anonymous are mainly accomplished via the familiar denial-of-service attacks, or DoS, in their DdoS, or distributed denial of service, version for which they use software called LOIC which can send a large number of TCP and UDP packets or HTTP requests with the aim of calculating the number of requests per second which the target network can handle before it ceases to function.
After the first announcement came another, aimed specifically at Peru, which set out its rejection of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement), in particular the following points: “Its extreme position on copyright, user authentication through the ISPs, invasion of users’ privacy, legal incentives for ISPs to cooperate with copyright, focussing on deterring, identifying and halting the transmission of content, criminalization and penalties for the use of copyrighted Internet content.” (This video is currently unavailable.)
Faced with this, the ONGEI [es] (Government National Office of Electronic and Information Technology), through its president Jaime Honores, informed [es] the public that they were “prepared” for such an eventuality.
The first phase of the attack, against Chile, was completed on June 23, bringing down the website of the Department of Telecommunications [es], tasked with following web-surfers who speak out about President Sebastián Piñera and his associates on social networks and blogs.
Next came the action of the Web Pirates [es] in Perú, who joined and took information from the websites of FORCAT [es], CODESI [es], the Regional Government of Lima [es], the Ministry of Energy and Mines [es], the National Penitentiary Institute [es], the Black Eagles (the Peruvian National Police Force) [es], the Department of Health [es] and the General Directorship of Captaincy and Coastguards [es]. Of these attacks, the most publicised was the filtering [es] of data about 2,800 Black Eagles agents [es], the police unit that handles, among other things, overseeing the banks in Lima.
On the 25th the second phase of the attack, now known as Operation Perú [es], came into action [es], aimed at ONGEI [es], MEF [es], IPD [es], the Republican Congress [es], PNP [en], ONPE [es], Seguridadciudadana [es] and the Portal of the Peruvian State [es]. In an attempt to halt the attack, government officials ordered the blocking of www.webloic.com [es]. But almost immediately Anonymous released a video [es] announcing the end of the (successful) attack and mentioning, amongst other things, that “Our attack has been a mere demonstration, a simple attack. If you continue to ignore the rights of the Peruvian people we will be compelled to shut down all of your networks… We are asking the Peruvian government to stop lying about its security and its control of the networks, we have control, we are anonymous.”
However some doubted the effectiveness of these attacks. One such person was Twitter user @Dennisdavid who stated:
Los de Anonymus se dejaron ver tal como son: los sábados y domingos los sitios del estado se hackean solos; están fuera de servicio. jajaja 2:47 PM Jun 25th via web
GENIAL: El MEF (Ministerio Economía Finanzas) para librarse de ataques de Anonymus, se atacó a si mismo. Dejó fuera de servicio a su web :-) 3:54 PM Jun 25th via web:
FANTASTIC: The MEF (Ministry of the Treasury) has attacked itself in order to escape from theAnonymous attacks. It has left its website out of service :-) 3:54 PM Jun 25th via web
Others, such as Manuel Facundo (@Manuelegant) remembered with sarcasm the statements from Mr Honores, head of the ONGEI:
Ayer me dio risa cuando dijeron q estamos preparados para Anonymous o LulzSec y mas aun cuando en la tarde los callaron hakeando webs gber.. 1:32 PM Jun 24th via web
More reactions on Twitter can be found via the hashtag #opandeslibre, as well as on the Anonymous Perú [es] and AnonOps Perú [es] Facebook pages. Opinions have been appearing on blogs ever since the attack was announced. For example Miguel Morachimo in Blawyer wrote [es]:
Por lo visto, son varios temas los que preocupan a Anonymous y no tienen nada que ver con las declaraciones de algún candidato en campaña. Más bien, parecen girar en torno a dos ejes: (i) las recientes amenazas a libertad de prensa, en particular a medios regionales; y (ii) la protección de datos personales. Ambos temas, de una manera u otra, han estado presente en los medios durante las últimas semanas y el Estado no ha dado la cara más favorable en ninguno.
Erick Iriarte believes that the reasons given by Anonymous have no basis [es]:
no hay normativa de censura en el Perú, el ataque no tiene mayor fundamento […] dado que con normas de equilibrio pero ademas con veeduria ciudadana se puede hacer un real control del proyecto TPPA, me pueden llamar iluso por creer eso, pero a diferencia de otros paises nuestras normas de proteccion de datos nos serviran de barrera para evitar abusos).
Antonio Rodríguez, also on Blawyer, sees the matter from a different point of view [es]:
Algunos piensan que los límites a la acción personal de los individuos está en el Código Penal y es un error. Un ataque del tipo DDoS es como si se pusiera una decena de camiones en la puerta de la casa de una persona, el Código Penal probablemente no sancione esta acción, pero es evidente que se está afectando, cuando menos, el derecho al libre tránsito tanto del afectado como de quienes tenían pensado visitarle. Es además atentatorio contra la libertad de expresión y de información.
To conclude I would like to quote Erick Iriarte again who points out two important points to consder:
creo que no se puede, bajo ninguna forma, aceptar ningun mecanismo de presión (tecnológico, mediático, económico, o de cualquier indole) para un dialogo, porque sencillamente no es democratico y no apoya el principio de #internetlibre sino que utilizando el argumento mas viejo […] “o nos siguen porque nosotros sabemos los misterios o perderan sus almas y van contra los dioses”, nos intentan controlar en nuestra libertad.
Saben que han logrado los de anonymous en Perú?, que la inversión en seguridad de la información aumente, y quienes seran los que seran contratados, las empresas (y algunas son de los mismos Anonymous), [y] la real reinvindicación de los derechos de los usuarios de a pie, por tener un #internetlibre no se habra ganado.
I don't think that we can, under any circumstances, accept any form of pressure (be it via technology, the media, the economy, or of any nature) to enter into dialogue, because this simply is not democratic and does not support the principle of #internetlibre but goes on using the same old argument […] “They either follow us because we know the mysteries or lose their souls and go against the gods,”
Do the people of Anonymous in Perú know what they have done? That investment in information security is increasing, and that those who will be hired, companies (and some are the same people who act for Anonymous), [and] that the real vindication of the rights of ordinary users, by having an #internetlibre will not have been achieved.
Whilst the implications and relevance of what has happened are still being discussed, AnonOps Perú announced [es] a new project [es], peaceful this time, for July 2: Operation Paper, that is, handing out flyers and putting up posters [es]demanding the right to free expression.