This weekend, one of the most disruptive hacker hiveminds on the Internet, 4Chan.org, was briefly humbled by users of the blogging platform Tumblr. For those who aren't familiar, 4Chan is an anonymous message board site famous for creating Internet memes (e.g. The Rickroll, Lolcats) and waging effective hacker attacks on the Church of Scientology and Gene Simmons. Tumblr, on the other hand, is a relatively young platform for sharing images, videos and links across the Web.
The feud began with an orchestrated plot by 4Chan users to flood Tumblr's blog network with violent and pornographic images while using software to overload its servers. For days, 4Channers spread leaflets and detailed instructions on "Operation Overlord," the campaign to take down Tumblr. The casus belli? Tumblr users had been appropriating memes and other Web humor ephemera for their own use—"stealing" 4Chan's creative work.
Interestingly, a number of Tumblr users caught word of the impending attack and organized a counter-attack dubbed "Operation Overkitten." In lieu of porn, Tumblr users would flood 4Chan's site with images of adorable kittens and stage denial-of-service attacks.
To the surprise of many, Operation Overkitten succeeded briefly on Sunday. According to the Silicon Valley news site TechCrunch, 4Chan's site was down for at least 15 minutes, the same day Operation Overlord was scheduled. Others reported slow loading times and "404--Not Found" errors across the site. However, today, 4Chan users waged a second attack, which has reportedly shut down Tumblr all day. At this point, it looks like Tumblr users may have picked the wrong fight.