Protesting the president's Web sites

Published August 17, 2004 5:11PM (EDT)

The GOP knew it would have to deal with a larger-than-usual contingent of angry activists protesting outside the Republican National Convention this year, but now it has to contend with the online ire of the Black Hat Hackers Bloc, too. Wired reports that while hundreds of thousands of protesters flood the streets of New York later this month, a cadre of left-leaning hackers will flood over the information superhighway to and to jam their servers.

CrimethInc, a spokesperson for the Black Hat Hackers Bloc, told Wired, "We want to bombard (the Republican sites) with so much traffic that nobody can get in." Their plan? Give away software that reloads GOP Web sites over and over again, slowing -- and maybe even crashing -- the servers.

Wired points out that a downed campaign Web site in the middle of a nominating convention could be more damaging than one would think. "During John Kerry's acceptance speech in Boston last month, for example, his website was visited by 50,000 people an hour, according to comScore Networks, the online traffic-measuring firm. That's a droplet compared to the millions who'll watch the convention on TV. But taking down a campaign website would nevertheless remove a critical tool for reaching the public -- and likely generate a slew of stories in the mainstream media about the crash." Not to mention the online donations the GOP would miss while the sites were down.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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