The Cyber Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned several large corporations of the potential for distributed denial of service (DDoS) and data exfiltration attacks scheduled for today, May 25.
The attacks are being coordinated by the rogue movement Anonymous in an an exercise termed "Operation NewSon".
In denial of service attacks, generally a large amount of information is sent to a web server at such high frequency that it overwhelms the processing capacity or causes the system to shut down. The net effect is that the server can not longer operate correctly and the targeted website is rendered inaccessible.
DDoS attacks can also inflict serious damage to targeted systems, as well as collateral damage to associated nodes.
The potential targets include many high profile corporations across a variety of sectors, as listed in the FBI memo below sent to select organizations:
(click image to enlarge)
Anonymous is known for having targeted the websites of businesses like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, PostFinance Bank, Amazon, Bank of America, as well as numerous government agencies, and continues to use DDoS attacks as a method of furthering their political views in various conflicts around the world.
Anonymous was also behind the HBGary Federal breach had led to the release of tens-of-thousands of company emails which revealed multiple instances of ethically questionable covert operations involving the security company.
Swedish file-sharing website The Pirate Bay - typically aligned with Anonymous in their anti-copyright orientation - recently issued a statement in opposition to the popular hacktivist tactic of DDoS attacks.