How many people does it take to topple VISA’s website – a company that can process 10,000 transactions per second? Just 2,000. That’s how many were needed to overwhelm VISA.com.
The actual damage was relatively minimal since credit card transactions take place on a separate system, but for ‘Anonymous’, the online collective that coordinated the attack, and those on PayPal and Mastercard, it was an unparalleled propaganda coup.
While Anonymous has been described as a group of expert hackers, this kind of “distributed denial of service attack” (DDoS), in which thousands of computers repeatedly visit the target website is a relatively simple operation.
It just requires volunteers to download and run a piece of software that does all the work, reports the Telegraph.
With more and more of our lives spent online, virtual protests like those by Anonymous – who were carrying out “revenge” attacks on companies that had withdrawn support for WikiLeaks – make a correspondingly bigger impact.