Anonymous Wikileaks activists move to analogue tactics

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Wikileaks website
Image caption,
The diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have been the focus of world attention.

Online activist group Anonymous has once again changed tactics in its campaign to support Wikileaks, eschewing web-based attacks.

At least one faction of the group has urged supporters to plaster the streets with pro-Wikileaks propaganda on 18 December.

The group had earlier attacked websites of firms they accused of colluding with governments to censor Wikileaks.

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is investigating the web incidents.

Now Operation Paperstorm, as it is known, aims to get volunteers to print pro-Wikileaks posters and plaster them across towns and cities.

It has asked supporters to distribute the material on Saturday - when many people will be in town centres finishing off their Christmas shopping.

Volunteers have been translating the posters in to different languages.

Low tech attacks

The campaign is another example of Anonymous going low-tech.

Earlier this week, people associated with the group began a campaign to flood the fax machines of PayPal, Mastercard and Amazon with copies of secret memos published by Wikileaks.

The firms were targeted after refusing Wikileaks' custom and had previously had their websites attacked.

Within Anonymous there has been a growing consensus to change tactics, Phill Midwinter, who describes himself as an active member of the collective, told BBC News.

"We don't want to annoy or make life difficult for internet users," he said.

Paperstorm was one of "about 10" initiatives that would enable Anonymous to publicise the leaked cables and the case of Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence specialist being held in conjunction with the leaks, said Mr Midwinter.

"They're examples of how we can use crowd-sourcing to get our message across, without doing anything illegal," he added.

But while some connected with Anonymous seek less inflammatory options to express their opinion other than attacking websites, others may be about to launch new ones.

Several programmers have posted updated versions of the tool, LOIC, used to launch the initial denial-of-service attacks.

These bombard websites with page requests until the servers are unable to cope, effectively taking the page offline. The group has had mixed success with its efforts to take websites offline.

One of the new tools, Hive Mind LOIC, has been adapted so that it can be controlled from a central source, such as a Twitter feed.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it was investigating a string of attacks, which Anonymous claimed to have carried out.

A Met spokesman confirmed that earlier this year it "received a number of allegations of 'denial-of-service' cyber attacks against several companies by a group calling themselves Anonymous".

Earlier this year a series of attacks hit the websites of organisations that targeted web pirates.

"The Metropolitan Police Service is monitoring the situation relating to recent and ongoing denial of service attacks and will investigate where appropriate," it said.

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