What is indisputable is that for a short period of time both Syria and Turkey were knocked right off the internet, along with Saudi Arabia, and that bangstress has publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks. We contacted bangstress to ask why, and got some surprising answers. As always with these kinds of stories, wear your “Twitter boast goggles” and buyer beware. Nonetheless, the interview raised some interesting issues.
The Cryptosphere: So, why Syria, why Turkey, why Saudi Arabia? What did they ever do to you?
bangstress: It was for #OpNimr (the Innocent over there to be put to death).
#OpNimr, which we have covered previously, is an awareness-raising op to draw attention to the case of Ali Mohammad al-Nimr, a Saudi teen sentenced to beheading and crucifixion for his part in Arab Spring demonstrations. His uncle is a politically inconvenient activist, also under sentence of death. Ominously, all visits to the prison by family members were abruptly cancelled by the prison a few days ago. Execution date is uncertain.
bangstress: [It] was a bold statement to save their lives, or to attempt to. For 3 days we killed their entire banks, government sites and connections, stock market. We attempted to make a statement for the Government to release them. That was the entire motivation. No one paid anyone that I’m aware of.
In other words, it was not a hit-for-hire, in which a government or other organization pays for the use of a botnet to attack a cyberwar target. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria are, of course, the nexus of global attention right now as ISIS battles to retain and expand their territory, funded in part by Turkey’s purchase of its black market oil.
The Cryptosphere: Would you say you’re part of Anonymous or an independent person who decided to get involved? Was this your idea?
bangstress: Yes, this was my own idea, I came up with it and followed through with it, no one approved of it or dis-approved of it, I am completely independent. All in all I wasted 612TB of data on the attacks, over 3 days, attacking around 91 IPs. Well no not “wasted” I think there’s better words. “Used,” perhaps.
The Cryptosphere: Why Syria? I understand S.A. but why Syria? During Arab Spring Anonymous and Telecomix worked hard to ensure that the people of Egypt, Tunisia and other countries had uninterrupted access to the internet, even when their governments tried to shut it off.
bangstress: Syria is the front line of the battle for the most part. It’s also where most countries are wanting to take over anyways for the route of Oil. That’s a side note, not something special. But…Syria [had] to be involved because it made the impact larger – and some of the DNS servers ran into each other, so say i attacked All of S.A, some would come back online because they reach out to Syria DNS. Made the move much larger scale. Basically look at whatever country your in, if the internet died there (public DNS asigned by ISPs) DIED everywhere for 3 days, lots of stuff would break or be bad off. Work, not work. etc.
The Cryptosphere: Yes, probably interfered with ISIS as well.
bangstress: That it did – confirmed on threema and telegram, they found ways here and there.