Anonymous, Scientology, Tom Cruise and LOLCats

A shadowy group of Internet hackers called Anonymous released a video declaring war on Scientology. The video says they will destroy Scientology.
Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.
Anonymous also started a DDOS attack on the Scientology website. Wired's Threat Level notes that at first Anonymous inadvertently took down the website of a school in the Netherlands.
One of the moderators on thought he had learned from a friend what the real server's address was on Friday.

The user, who was using the handle Splongcat, uploaded DDOS software configured with the supposedly secret address and urged others in an internet chat room to download and run the software. The software was intended to flood the specified IP address with rogue traffic in order to bring the server down.

But within minutes, users began complaining the software was crashing and others analyzed the traffic and found that the IP address didn't belong to the Church of Scientology, reporting that that the software was actually targeting a school in the Netherlands.

Immediately the IRC chat room hosted on (currently down) was filled with calls to stop using the program, and the 900 people in the chat room returned to their disorderly conversation about whether they should be flooding Digg with anti-Scientology links or making harassing phone calls to local Scientology branches.
A story about the Anonymous attack on eNews2.0 says the attacks were powerful enough to force Scientology to move its website to a server hosted by Prolexic Technologies. Prolexic is a company that offers protection from these types of DDoS attacks.
Anonymous generated a powerful attack against, which was hit with several DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks over the past few days. According to Jose Nazario, a senior security engineer with Arbor Networks, a company compiling data on Internet attacks, it seems that Anonymous' attacks flooded the Church of Scientology's web site with as much as 220 Mbps of traffic, which indicates that the group itself is based on some sort of organization.

However, shortly after these attacks, the Church seems to have moved its web site to a server hosted by Prolexic Technologies, a company specialized in protecting other companies from DDOS attacks.
Anonymous has been posting videos to a YouTube site called Chanology Project. The videos include Scientology clips about Tom Cruise and about Scientology's negative views on psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. The YouTube site also contains clips of media coverage of their DDOS attacks. The LolCruise picture below was shown in this video from Anonymous about the Scientology site being down. Anonymous is connected to the origin of the LOLCat meme going back to its first mention on in 2005. For more information on and the LOLCats see here, here and here.

Updated 1-28-08

Posted on January 26, 2008

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