Hackers attack Church of Scientology website
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The attack was launched on Wednesday by a user labelled "Anonymous", on the website "Insurgency Wiki", a spinoff of 4chan. The "History" section of the site explains, in a satirical fashion, that the incident was prompted by the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. Though YouTube is complying with the Church of Scientology's requests to take down the video, other sites such as Gawker.com have stated that they will keep hosting the video.
|So far, it's the Internet: 1, Scientology: 0. But it's a long game.|
Writing in a blog post, Matthew Ingram of The Globe and Mail dubbed the ongoing conflict involving the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove the Cruise video from the Internet: "Scientology vs. the Internet, part XVII". He characterized the conflict between the Church of Scientology and anonymous posters of the Cruise video as "another small skirmish in a war that Scientology has been waging for almost 15 years, since the early days of newsgroups such as alt.religion.scientology, which posted internal church documents in 1994. Lawsuits have been filed, mailing lists have been shut down, homes of discussion group participants have been raided and their computers seized -- an all-out war."
|Prompted I think by the Tom Cruise video, a new obsession is taking hold on the internet. An insurgency against The Church of Scientology.|
—Anonymous blogger, "Anon declares war on Church of Scientology"
One poster admitted to being a part of the effort, writing in a blog post "I have myself, as per instructions, loaded up Gigaloader and started bombarding the Scientology homepage. Theres [sic] something in the hilarious anarchy of the net that produces these 'events' every now and again." The poster wrote that "Prompted I think by the Tom Cruise video, a new obsession is taking hold on the internet. An insurgency against The Church of Scientology."
"Someone emailed me earlier today talking about a tool a group’s been using to attack the scientology website. It’s an interesting tool, created to overload/create malformed strings and crash a website’s database," said the post by an unknown author on pigmy.
The Church's website is currently unreachable. Some individuals reported that when they are able to reach the site, all they get is a message stating, "The word scientology means search for truth...". As of 15:11 GMT the site was accessible again, but only loads at relatively slow speeds, and by the end of the day Saturday the site was not loading at all.
Posts on the message board for the Scientology-critic site Operation Clambake from Friday theorized that a denial-of-service attack had occurred, and wrote that as of Friday the Scientology.org site was either not loading at all, or loading very slowly. Critics of Scientology at the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology were critical of the attacks to the Church of Scientology website, with one poster writing "How can people look at both sides if one side is gone?"
Traffic to the Scientology website had already increased 18-fold prior to the attack, following increased attention after the Tom Cruise video appeared on the Internet. At that time, one in three visits to the site came from BBC News, and the website increased to number 3 in the company Hitwise UK's Lifestyle-Religion category.
Related news 
- "Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info" — Wikinews, April 5, 2006
- "Tom Cruise parody site defiant in face of Scientology threats, demands its day in court" — Wikinews, October 29, 2005
- "Church of Scientology does not see humor in website dedicated to Tom Cruise" — Wikinews, September 25, 2005
- "Tom Cruise debates psychiatry on NBC's Today show" — Wikinews, June 25, 2005
- "Project Chanology - Insurgency Wiki" — , January 20, 2008
- "Database Bombing" — , January 19, 2008
- "Scientology website visits peak after Tom Cruise video is leaked" — , January 18, 2008
- "Denial of service attack on scientology.org" — , January 18, 2008
- "The internet has declared war on Scientology" — , January 18, 2008
- Matthew Ingram. "Scientology vs. the Internet, part XVII" — , January 18, 2008
- "Anon declares war on Church of Scientology" — , January 17, 2008