piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
in my email box i found an alert from avaaz, one of the groups i support and trust to tell me the truth:

Right now, the Avaaz website is under massive attack. An expert is telling us that likely only a government or major corporation could launch an attack this large, with massive, simultaneous and sophisticated assaults from across the world to take down our site.

[…]

Because of top-notch security, our site is still up, but it's not enough. We need to show these actors that when they attack Avaaz, they're messing with people. And people-power can't be intimidated or silenced, it only grows stronger. Click below to donate to an Avaaz defense fund to take our security to the next level, and show our attackers that whatever they throw at us only makes us stronger:


you can read the whole newsletter here.

i am sorry, but this raises a whole lot of red flags, and i don't think it's the sort of flags avaaz would like to raise. it smells of conspiracy theories, and of scam for money.

now, i don't actually believe the organisation has gone over to the dark side, but i do feel like i am being manipulated. instead of information on the attack -- what form of attack is it (telling us the basics won't compromise security)? who's the expert? is it a knowledgeable third party confirming this? what leads the expert to legitimately believe this is organised by a government or a large, nasty corporation a la murdoch? -- instead of giving me something, anything to lend credence to the claim, their first and only action is to ask me for more money. asking me for money donated via the very site that is under attack -- that doesn't seem prudent to me. and how will my immediate, urgent donation help mitigate this attack? i can't see how. and if it's solely for future prevention of more attacks, then it's not URGENT, is it, and we can have some calm and knowledgeable analysis first.

so yeah. donation is not gonna happen. i have no doubt that it takes lots of money to do all they do, and there is nothing wrong with asking for donations to help with website and network security. but not like this. that sets a dangerous precedent for donating to advocacy groups; and i rather it not get set. i donate to such groups because they do the work i believe in. i don't want hyper-emotional cries for help to guilt me into donating more; and i don't want organizations i believe in behaving like they need URGENT EMERGENCY appeals to cover their administrative costs -- that's what scam artists do.

and yes, i sent this to them. via the web form on their website that's "under massive attack", since that's the only way to contact them online. *sigh*.

on 2012-05-04 00:01 (UTC)
red_trillium: comic similar to Star Wars, the Head Commander asks Darth to turn off his helmet iTunes (IHearthDarth: Abba/iTunes)
Posted by [personal profile] red_trillium
Until recently I got statements from Avaaz, I stopped them because I'm just getting too many emails and want to cut down my personal stress by having less I need to delete or worry about reading on a regular basis.

I agree. I think there are genuine attacks against organisations that are spreading word about political, social and environmental knowledge and alerts. But this one seems a little too alarmist with little information. And rather than give valid, certifiable information they are going for alarmist and emotional "give us money" tactics. Keep us informed on if you get a response!

on 2012-05-04 02:57 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] xiphias
Could only be done by a government, a corporation, or maybe some bored script-kiddie living in his parents' basement. I'm sure that, if I cared to learn how, and had no morals or scruples, I could figure out how to grab a botnet to launch a DDoS.

Maybe they should have gotten an expert who was actually an expert in some related field? I'm sure the expert who told them that probably IS an expert in SOMETHING -- maybe she's an expert glassblower, or juggler, or pharmacist, or something. Just not an expert in computer stuff.

on 2012-05-04 20:39 (UTC)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] synecdochic
*snort8 Or someone said something to piss off Anonymous.

on 2012-05-05 17:29 (UTC)
jinian: (bachelor's button bud)
Posted by [personal profile] jinian
I thought that email was suspicious and unappealing too, but hadn't dissected it so well. Thanks.

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