A software engineer is urging anyone and everyone opposed to the President-Elect to overload Whitehouse.gov on Donald Trump’s inauguration day.
Juan Soberanis, or so the activist calls himself, wants netizens to take down the White House’s website “as a show of solidarity for the lives impacted by Trump’s policy agenda.”
As the software engineer writes in his protest pledge code-named “Occupy White House”:
“It’s simple. By overloading the site with visitors, we will be able to demonstrate the will of the American people. There are two ways to participate. You can manually go to www.whitehouse.gov on inauguration day, January 20, 2017 and refresh the page as often as you can throughout the day or you can […] or automatically reload the page. When enough people occupy whitehouse.gov, the site will go down.”
The website for Occupy White House was offline as of this writing.
Soberanis isn’t the only individual who’s embraced digital means as a form of opposition against Trump.
Back in January 2016, a group known as the New World Hackers used a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) booter to attack the campaign website for then-presidential candidate Trump. The attack took down donaldjtrump.com for several hours until IT staff put DDoS mitigation technologies in place.
The software engineer is also not the only one who’s using Inauguration Day as an excuse to launch a digital attack against the President-Elect.
Earlier this week, the hacking collective Anonymous called on its followers to gather “kompromat,” that is, compromising materials, on the soon-to-be leader of the free world. These items, the group feels, would send a powerful message to Trump.
Anonymous said as much in a statement directed to Trump on Twitter. As quoted by The Daily Telegraph:
“You have financial and personal ties with Russian mobsters, child traffickers and money launderers… This isn’t the eighties any longer, information doesn’t vanish, it is all out there. You are going to regret the next four years.”
To be clear, the White House has seen its fair share of security incidents. No doubt it has DDoS mitigation technologies in place, meaning A LOT of people would need to take up Soberanis’ pledge if they were going to have any meaningful impact on the White House’s website.
With that said, anyone who takes up the software engineer’s offer will be participating in a DDoS attack, which is a crime in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
Stephen Gates, chief research intelligence analyst at NSFOCUS IB, agrees with that assessment. As quoted by The Register:
“Participating in a DDoS attack is a crime, regardless if you use a tool, a script, a botnet for hire, or a finger and a keyboard. If protesters move forward with this demonstration, they must remember that their source IP addresses in most cases will not be spoofed, meaning law enforcement can easily track those who participate.”
So here’s today’s lesson: no one said you have to like the incoming U.S. President, but conducting DDoS attacks against him and U.S. government websites is still illegal.
Make smart decisions! If you’re opposed to Trump, vent your disagreement in a more productive fashion.