The international Internet hacktivist collective known as Anonymous is playing an active part in the current Spanish revolution, both on the ground and on the net: #spanishrevolution.
Friday, peaceful protests which began in Spain on May 15th turned violent, as police used rubber bullets and clubs on protesters camped outside in Barcelona’s Plaza de Catalunya. In response to the police violence, Anonymous launched a DDoS attack against a Spanish government website Saturday.
The DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack is often used by Anonymous as a means of civil protest. Cyber protesters sympathetic with Anonymous download a program which installs a LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Canon). Used enmasse, a LOIC system makes a computer resource unavailable to its intended user. A DDoS attack is best understood as a virtual sit-in, a form of hi-tech civil protest conducted in cyberspace.
Previously Anonymous has launched successful DDoS attacks against Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Sony PlayStation, and most recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Anonymous is an international movement, having previously launched DDoS attacks against government agencies in Iran, New Zealand, Colombia, and elsewhere.
Aside from the on-line DDoS attack against the Spanish government, Anonymous has also been a fixture on the ground in Spain, showing solidarity with protesters. Anonymous inspired signs, flags, and the Anonymous ‘Guy Fawkes’ mask, have all been a consistent presence during the Spanish revolution. Indeed, Anonymous symbols have been projected at midnight, every night, in Puerto Del Sol, Madrid, since protests began.
The protests across Spain over the past two weeks have been a demand for jobs, economic equality, and “real democracy.” Unemployment in Spain is out of control. NPR reports the jobless rate among Spain’s generally well-educated young people has reached nearly 45 percent, a record in any industrialized country.