Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#OpPayPal - Is this a 21st century bank run?

It's 11pm in Adelaide and I happened to be checking something on Twitter when I noticed an interesting trend called #OpPayPal. Curious, I started reading through the tweets that were coming through with this term to find out what it was.

It appears Anonymous and Lulzsec (two "hacker" groups, for lack of a better term) have teamed up in an effort to bring down the PayPal empire as part of their anti security activities (AntiSec).

Here is their message (from PASTEBIN):
Dear PayPal, its customers, and our friends around the globe,

This is an official communiqué from Anonymous and Lulz Security in the name of AntiSec.

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. Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us - Anonymous "suspects" may face a fine of up to 500,000 USD with the addition of 15 years' jailtime, all for taking part in a historical activist movement. Many of the already-apprehended Anons are being charged with taking part in DDoS attacks against corrupt and greedy organizations, such as PayPal.

What the FBI needs to learn is that there is a vast difference between adding one's voice to a chorus and digital sit-in with Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and controlling a large botnet of infected computers. And yet both of these are punishable with exactly the same fine and sentence.

In addition to this horrific law enforcement incompetence, PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a beacon of truth in these dark times. By simply standing up for ourselves and uniting the people, PayPal still sees it fit to wash its hands of any blame, and instead encourages and assists law enforcement to hunt down participants in the AntiSec movement.

Quite simply, we, the people, are disgusted with these injustices. We will not sit down and let ourselves be trampled upon by any corporation or government. We are not scared of you, and that is something for you to be scared of. We are not the terrorists here: you are.

We encourage anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative. The first step to being truly free is not putting one's trust into a company that freezes accounts when it feels like, or when it is pressured by the U.S. government. PayPal's willingness to fold to legislation should be proof enough that they don't deserve the customers they get. They do not deserve your business, and they do not deserve your respect.

Join us in our latest operation against PayPal - tweet pictures of your account closure, tell us on IRC, spread the word. Anonymous has become a powerful channel of information, and unlike the governments of the world, we are here to fight for you. Always.

Signed, your allies,

Lulz Security (unvanned)
Anonymous (unknown)
AntiSec (untouchable)
The trend has gone global and thousands of tweets are coming through from all over the globe, many people claiming to have closed their accounts. There are a few people lashing out and suggesting this sort of activity is unethical, but clearly the majority are in support of the operation.

When some users started struggling to close their accounts (measures being taken by PayPal to slow the mass closure of accounts?), the messages started to include PayPal's phone number so users could call and close their account.

PayPal is owned by parent company eBay. As I write this the price of eBay stock has just opened and is plunging (granted the rest of the market is looking red, but nowhere near this bad):

Are we witnessing a new age where a few hours worth of trending social media terms can wipe shareholder value off a publicly listed company?

Assuming these people closing their PayPal accounts are also withdrawing funds could we also be looking at a bank run of the 21st century?

Has a bank run turned from this:

Into this?

Interesting times that's for sure.

For more information here are a couple of recent articles on the events over the past few hours. Link 1. Link 2.


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  1. Dear Anonymous and other CIA fronts:
    PayPal is not to blame, they are complying with the law in order to stay in business. A business which many people like myself depend upon as there are no realistic alternatives for simple electronic money exchange between providers and consumers online.

    An attack on PayPal is an attack on honest business people like myself who have families to feed. Unlike you, who live in your parent's basements and collect government paychecks, some of us have to work for a living.

    If your problem is with the FBI (as you clearly state it is), then attack the FBI. Don't be wusses and attack honest commerce instead.

    Have fun in your little cybercommand bunkers, but try to keep your b.s. political and leave the rest of us out of it. I'm not interested in being collateral damage as you pretend to defend the Israeli op known as "Wikileaks."

    An honest business owner in the USA.

  2. @ BB
    Unfortunately BB in this First Global Revolution that I had made mention back in mid-January

    will distribute pain in a disorderly and random manner, but we are all involved and the simple fact is that we adults have allowed our "Leadership" such as it is, to rape and pillage expecting that our Youth will pick up our tab.

    They don't want to pay for our ignorance and I do not blame them.

    This revolution is everybody's revolution and would not be necessary if we had ensured that our elected "leaders, were actually responsible adults.

    Hopefully next time:

    Hail the coming Technology reboot

  3. cunning, create a stampede buy big and reap the benefits. Avoids insider trading charges dunnit!

  4. I agree with the first comment. They should target the government instead.