4Chan, a Breeding Ground for Hackers, Crippled by Hackers

Web forum 4Chan, which gave birth to the hacker collective Anonymous, was taken down by hackers Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.

Anonymous has taken credit for several recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against major websites like Paypal, Amazon, MasterCard, Visa and the head office of the Swedish Prosecution Authority in the wake of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It dubbed its campaign “Operation Payback.”

The group has also targeted the websites of the Church of Scientology, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

“Site is down due to DDoS,” 4Chan founder Christopher Poole, aka “moot,” wrote on the site’s status blog early Tuesday morning. “We now join the ranks of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, et al.-- an exclusive club!”

A DDoS attack uses a large network of computers to flood websites with so many data requests that it cannot keep up, eventually crippling the site and forcing it to shut down.

Members of another hacker group, Gnosis, denied earlier in December that their attack on Gawker Media's network of websites was related to Operation Payback, but implied that their hijacking of more than 100,000 user email addresses and passwords was in reaction to Gawker publishing posts that were critical of 4Chan. The FBI is investigating Gnosis' Gawker hacking.