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Anonymous plans to knock State of the Union offline

Hacking collective claims it has a plan to disrupt live streaming of President's speech due to Swartz death and Obama cybersecurity plan

February 12, 2013 06:44 PM ET

Computerworld - The Anonymous hacking collective Tuesday said it plans to disrupt the live web stream of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight.

In separate communiques, Anonymous said it is moving to distrupt the proceedings to protest the recent death of Internet pioneer Aaron Swartz and a White House plan to issue a cybersecurity executive order on Wednesday.

In one alert, Anonymous said it will form a "virtual blockade between Capitol Hill and the Internet" during the President's address. "Armed with nothing more than Lulz, Nyancat and PEW-PEW-PEW! Lazers, we will face down the largest superpower on Earth," the group said.

The communique offered no details on how Anonymous plans to derail the webcast. Instead it called attention to Swartz' recent suicide and blamed the death on "idiotic and destructive efforts" to control the Internet, presumably by the government.

It goes on to list various topics that Obama is not expected to mention in the address, including the National Defense Authorization Act and the continued detention of Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of leaking critical documents to WikiLeaks.

A communique in the form of a letter addressed to Obama called attention to the administration's widely reported plans to issue a cybersecurity executive order on Wednesday. The long-expected order stems from what the White House has long said is the need for immediate action to protect critical assets against cyber threats because Congress has long failed to pass cybersecurity legislation.

"Anonymous has reached a verdict of NO CONFIDENCE in this executive order and the plans to reintroduce the CISPA bill to Congress on the same day," the group said referring to plans by two U.S. lawmakers plan to reintroduce a controversial cybersecurity bill.

"As such, President Obama and the State of the Union Address will be BANISHED from the Internet for the duration of live delivery," the group claimed.

Anonymous is known for making such threats on a regular basis, some successful and some not.

The White House has said that it will offer an enhanced version of Obama's third State of the Union address that will combine live streaming with charts, statistics and data designed to provide context for those following online.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at Twitter@jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed Vijayan RSS. His e-mail address is

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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