The DDoS Attack That Wasn’t: Sarah Palin’s Operation Payback Lie

Dec 10 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Sarah Palin likes to tell stories about herself

In an attempt to show her dashing ability to thwart off DDOS attacks, Sarah Palin told ABC News she had been the victim of a DDoS attack from Operation Payback but that she had been prepared for the “backlash” and hence warded it off. All of the above turned out to be….untrue.

When I first read Ms Palin’s email to ABC about her victimization (the only thing Ms Palin has yet to quit, it seems, is her vision of herself as Joan of Arc) at the hands of the Evil Wikileaks people (whom she called to be treated like the traitors she thinks they are, even though they aren’t American citizens), I shook my head in pity for poor Jake Tapper.

One day, these folks will learn not to simply publish everything Ms Palin tells them without doing cursory diligence of their own. For Ms Palin has an allergy to the truth, whether lying about the weather or about being found guilty of violating the ethics laws in Alaska, when Ms Palin speaks, one must fact-check every word lest one trip on the banana peels of false narratives Ms Palin litters the political landscape with.

Here’s the original report from ABC:

“Hackers in London that the Palin team believe to be affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts, SarahPAC aide Rebecca Mansour said.

“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics,” Palin emailed ABC News. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

A SarahPAC.com technical aide said that the “DOS attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops, used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood sarahpac.com. The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with wikileaks.org through an obscure message in our server log file.”….

Added Mansour, “the governor voiced her opinion knowing full well that she was speaking out against a shady disreputable organization with no regard for laws or human life. This is how they operate. The world should not be intimidated by them.”

Mansour added that Wikileaks supporters claim to be “in favor of free speech yet they attack Sarah Palin for exercising her free speech.” She said SarahPAC.com was not harmed because Palin’s staff was able to move quickly to protect the site.”

So Ms Palin managed to do what MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Wikileaks couldn’t. This is the sort of lore best swallowed with KookAid. And what jumps out at the person who’s been paying attention to the way Ms Palin’s mind works is that she is the heroine of this story. Ms Palin’s the only person who called out Assange, anticipated his counter-attack and warded it off! My goodness. Those are some cojones.

I’ll not even address the credit card claims ( she claimed her credit card number was released and it wasn’t) or the hubristically blind nattering on about freedom of speech from a supposed communications major who fails to understand important rulings such as the Pentagon Papers. In Ms Palin’s world, the only person who has freedom of speech is her and she’s quite certain that anyone who doesn’t agree with her is violating her freedoms. This notion is troubling to anyone who loves America and comprehends our country’s core principles.

The problem I had with her statement is that PoliticusUSA has been DDoS attacked and so I know a bit about it. We were told that this attack might kill our site for good. It was a very unpleasant and sobering experience (coincidentally, our website was brought down in a coordinated attack after an article I wrote about Ms Palin and her actions of stoking violence in Alaska). A DDoS attack bears little resemblance to being hacked, and yet Ms Palin’s story reads more like a five minute attempted hacking than a DDoS attack.

For example, one doesn’t know immediately that they are under DDoS attack and neither does their server host, because it appears to be a flood of traffic. The pattern becomes clear over time, however, as a denial of service attack lasts for weeks and months, as it is meant to shut down a site all together.

So as Ms Palin was nattering on in her email to ABC about her freedom of speech being attacked, my Palin hackles were immediately raised.

See, Ms Palin is rather infamous for her projections. Whatever she accuses others of doing is what she has or will do herself. From death panels to accusing the President of not loving his country, Ms Palin suffers from a painfully obvious inability to deal with her own transgressions without projecting them onto others.

And I suspected this latest Palin Myth with its dashing heroine didn’t come from her imagination, it came from her need to project onto others her own modus operandi. Because you see, the story Ms Palin fed to ABC has already been debunked. The group of activist hackers admitted targeting MasterCard.com, PostFinace, Visa, Paypal.com, and others but deny ever targeting Sarah Palin.

RT.com reported:

“A group who refers to itself as Anonymous has as taken credit for a recent string of high-profile cyber attacks against the websites of businesses, banks and politicians that have either spoken out against or stopped doing business with WikiLeaks.

Cyber attacks, dubbed Operation Payback, targets those who have caved into US government pressure to shun the whistleblower website that recently released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.

“We have been DDoS’ing sites,” he explained. “We have been flooding them with traffic so other people cannot use them and they have been taken down like this and they cannot operate like this anymore. We’ve been attacking them, we’ve been DDoS’ing them so people can’t buy things, people can’t make transactions.”..

Although the media had reported the group planned coordinated attacks on Amazon.com, the groups representative said they do not have any malicious plans to take on Amazon nor had they attempted to. He also said the group was not responsible for any coordinated attacks or hacks on Sarah Palin, although she claims to have been a target…

“We don’t really care about Sarah Palin that much, to be honest. I don’t really know what she’s trying to accomplish or what attention she is trying to gain. We personally don’t care about Sarah Palin,” he added.

Yes, see, they don’t even care about Ms Palin. And why would they? She is no one. She has no power to harm Assange or Wikileaks, in spite of her own refusal to comprehend American laws, borders and most significantly, freedom of the press.

Not only did Ms Palin and her sidekick Rebecca Mansour call a DDoS attack a DOS attack (usually a much less sophisticated attack, but no matter as Operation Payback admits to perpetrating DDoS attacks, not DOS attacks), but also they obviously have never experienced a real one and sadly, Ms Mansour lacks the skills one would have thought a wannabe screenwriter would have at least cursory knowledge of (before you write a fictional account of a dramatic experience, interview someone who has gone through it). Steeped in their ignorance of the real thing, Ms Mansour and Ms Palin obviously thought a DDoS attack was like hacking and that like the Jedi Warrior she is, Ms Palin could step in with her frontier gal spirit and stop a DDoS attack with her feisty sayings and a few nasty kicks to the “gutless” “anonymous” terrorists taking away her freedom thereby showing us all what a great President she’d be.

Credit is due for a great story premise and one that would have perpetuated the Palin myth nicely, except that anyone who’s been through a DDoS attack knows better. Ask Julian Assage. The fight isn’t over in five minutes. And Ms Palin made a fatal mistake when she asked thinking people to accept that she knows more about keeping her SarahPAC site online than Julian Assange does about keeping Wikileaks online (Wikileaks has been suffering under DDoS attack since revealing the cables dump). Nope. Warrior Princesses can’t stop DDoS attacks, just like they can’t stop pesky citizens from asking questions about their illegal trust funds or stop citizens from writing about their calls for violence.

Ms Palin is obviously exceptionally deluded into believing that she can sell these lies to anyone and we will all believe her. The failure of our media in fact-checking Ms Palin has only allowed her belief in her ability to sell us whatever she wants us to believe to grow into now monstrous proportions, and this is only adding to her brazen willingness to play chicken with the truth. Ms Palin’s real enemy here is her own ego and her inability to see reality as it really is. Her latest foray into fiction should be enough to convince American journalists that she is not well. No sane person would be so paranoid as to believe they were under attack when they weren’t nor would they believe they could manufacture this utter fiction to ABC, no less, and get away with it.

But what is even more interesting is that in the wake of this humiliating exposure of her allergy to truth and shoot-first mentality, Ms Palin will show no shame. And that is what I find most disconcerting. Shame, after all, is the mechanism we use to moderate behavior and keep some semblance of humanity ruling. Shame fills in the gaps between our laws; it’s a form of punishment for bad behavior in Western societies.

Shame reflects a decrease in our stature while pride is the emotion that is supposed to reflect an increase in stature. Perhaps Ms Palin’s lack of shame indicates something troubling about her own standards regarding the truth.

Ms Palin has enough pride to fill the galaxy, but it’s built upon self-aggrandized, mythical, fictional accounts of herself that have no bearing to reality. From claims to being a huntress to claims of fiscal conservatism to claims of being a reformer to claims of hating pork, Sarah Palin is a self-produced legend in her own mind.

Self-respecting journalists had best take Jake Tapper’s hard learned lesson to heart. When reporting on Ms Palin, if she tells you the sky is blue where she is today, you would be well served to double check. For Palin, if it makes a good story and dramatizes her into an all-American heroine, she’ll say it. She’s as reckless with the truth as she is with calls for war. And that’s pretty darn reckless. This is the person the GOP is selling as their best and brightest for 2012. Shoot first, ask questions later, and truth be damned.

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