Babbage chats with members of Anonymous, a group currently launching denial-of-service attacks in support of Julian Assange:
Anons do understand their limitations. The ones I talked to know that to take down a Swedish prosecutor's website does not halt the prosecution in Sweden. They described their motivations, variously, as trying “to raise awareness”, “to show the prosecutor that we have the ability to act” and “damage and attention”. This is all that a denial-of-service attack can do: register protest. It is not cyberwar. It is a propaganda coup. And it's limited to a limited set of websites: vulnerable, but important.
R.M. at DiA is unsettled:
One area where I disagree with [Babbage] is in his insistence that all a denial-of-service attack can do is register protest. When you take down the website of a PostFinance or MasterCard, as Anonymous has done in the past, it does more than simply show disapproval, it affects business. This is the future of activism, and it is both empowering and scary. A group like Anonymous isn't really trying to impose anarchy as much as it's trying to impose the will of its members (or whichever members are active at a certain time). As it fights for freedom on the internet, it constricts the net itself, by taking down websites and halting e-commerce.