A new message posted on Pastebin and attributed to the hacking group Anonymous promises to shut down the entire internet on March 31. The group says that it will target the 13 root DNS servers that make up the bulk of the servers that give URL names to most of the Internet.
As to why they would want to do this, they say the following:
"'The greatest enemy of freedom is a happy slave.' To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, On March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down."
The rather lengthy post on Pastebin details just how they intend to do all of this. The threat comes off as an open challenge to those companies and organizations that are responsible for the security of these name servers and the people in charge of fighting cyber crime.
They go on to explain how this will affect the average Internet user:
"By cutting these off the Internet, nobody will be able to perform a domain name look-up, thus, disabling the HTTP Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web. Anybody entering 'http://www.google.com' or ANY other url, will get an error page, thus, they will think the Internet is down, which is, close enough."
"Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to 'kill' the Internet, we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most. While some ISPs uses DNS caching, most are configured to use a low expire time for the cache, thus not being a valid failover solution in the case the root servers are down. It is mostly used for speed, not redundancy."
The group closes by saying that, even though the Internet will "feel like" it is down, they will be able to continue their attack for as long as they like:
"Since the attack will be using static IP addresses, it will not rely on name server resolution, thus enabling us to keep the attack up even while the Internet is down. The very fact that nobody will be able to make new requests to use the Internet will slow down those who will try to stop the attack. It may only lasts one hour, maybe more, maybe even a few days. No matter what, it will be global. It will be known."
So if your Internet connection seems broken on March 31, you know who is responsible. Consider this an early public service message.