MIT’s network fell to a denial-of-service attack Sunday evening, allegedly by the Internet activist group called Anonymous, cutting campus users off from Internet access to most websites for nearly three hours. The attack came in the wake of accusations that MIT’s role in the pending litigation against Internet activist Aaron Swartz contributed to his Friday suicide.
Between roughly 7 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Sunday evening, users of MIT’s network lost access to most websites, and MIT’s own web properties — like the mit.edu homepage — were innaccessible on the Web at large. Two websites cogen.mit.edu and rledev.mit.edu were rewritten as a message from Anonymous about the Swartz case.
“Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for â€” [sic] freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it â€” enabling the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing â€” an ideal that we should all support,” said the message.
The message was careful to not blame MIT directly: “We do not consign blame or responsibility upon MIT for what has happened, but call for all those feel heavy-hearted in their proximity to this awful loss to acknowledge instead the responsibility they have - that we all have - to build and safeguard a future that would make Aaron proud...”