Abstract

The WikiLeaks affair and proposed copyright bills introduced in the Senate are evidence of a new, extralegal path of attack aimed at preventing access and disrupting the payment systems and advertising of targeted sites. In this model, the attacker may be a government agency seeking to circumvent constitutional constraints on its power or a private company trying to enforce its interests beyond those afforded by procedural or substantive safeguards in the law. The vector of attack runs through the targeted site's critical service providers, disrupting technical services, such as Domain Name System service, cloud storage, or search capabilities; and business-related services, such as payment systems or advertising. The characteristics that make this type of attack new are that it targets an entire site, rather than aiming for removal or exclusion of specific offending materials; operates through denial of business and financial systems, in addition to targeting technical systems; and systematically harnesses extralegal pressure to achieve results beyond what law would provide or even permit.

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