Anonymous has distanced itself from a plot to knock out critical systems in the backbone of the internet.
Documents posted on Pastebin and elsewhere warn of a planned attack against the main DNS root servers on 31 March as part of a protest against SOPA and other hated copyright enforcement measures. If successful, the attack would disable the core components of internet's systems for domain name to IP address lookup, hobbling web surfing and email delivery in the process.
"On March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down. In order to shut the Internet down, one thing is to be done. Down the 13 root DNS servers of the Internet," according to a memo outlining the proposed assault, dubbed Operation GlobalBlackOut.
"By cutting these off the Internet, nobody will be able to perform a domain name lookup, thus, disabling the HTTP Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web. 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."
Established individuals associated with Anonymous have distanced the group from the plan.
"GlobalBlackOut is another Fake Operation. No intention of #Anonymous to cut Internet," an update to the @Anonops Twitter account on Tuesday states.
Anyone can declare themselves as members of Anonymous and use the groups's banner as a flag of convenience. In the absence of official spinners, let alone any recognised hierarchy, Twitter accounts and blogs act as the best guide for what's going on with the collective.
These accounts correctly predicted that there would be no attack on Facebook, so El Reg reckons Operation GlobalBlackOut - which doesn't make much sense in the first place - is a non-starter.
A minority of members of Anonymous have shown themselves prepared to leak the personal details of consumers in order to expose the insecurity of corporations in the past, but taking out the root DNS of the net is not the group's style. After all, such a action would throw a spanner in the works of the hacktivists' favourite playground.
In other Anon-related news, National Security Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander has warned the White House that Anonymous "could have the ability within the next year or two to bring about a limited power outage through a cyberattack", the Wall street journal breathlessly reports.
Various members of Anonymous denounced this warning as scare-mongering geared towards creating a climate in which Congress allows the passage of the 2012 cyber-security bill despite objections by Senate Republicans. They say it gives federal authorities too much power over private-sector infrastructure firms.
"We're pretty sure, that cyber bill is the reason for the renewed NSA fear-mongering," AnonymousIRC retorted. ®