LOIC: The Tool Anonymous Is Using to Essentially Turn You Into a BotnetS

Gawker's uncovered a pretty devious plan of Anonymous to wage war in its Megaupload retaliation—tricking Twitter users into firing the Low Orbit Ion Cannon. But what the hell is that? Giz explains.

Our Gawker brother Adrian Chen explains:

Anonymous members are distributing a link that ropes internet users into an illegal DDoS attack against these websites simply by clicking it.

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The link is a page on the anonymous web hosting site pastehtml. It link loads a web-based version of the program Anonymous has used for years to DDoS websites: Low Orbit Ion Cannon. (LOIC). LOIC rapidly reloads a target website, and if enough users point LOIC at a site at once, it can crash from the traffic.

The result? You're helping Anonymous take down sites. And how did the original LOIC work?

LOIC basically turns your computer's network connection into a firehose of garbage requests, directed towards a target web server. On its own, one computer rarely generates enough TCP, UDP, or HTTP requests at once to overwhelm a web server-garbage requests can easily ignored while legit requests for web pages are responded to as normal.

But when thousands of users run LOIC at once, the wave of requests become overwhelming, often shutting a web server (or one of its connected machines, like a database server) down completely, or preventing legitimate requests from being answered.

For more on how the internet superweapon works, read on here.