Cause you had a bad day: Did Anonymous take out the NYSE?

On the morning of Wednesday 8th July, United Airlines grounded all of its flights due to what was referred to as a ‘technical glitch‘. A big story, but largely down to some technical failure. No big deal, something to do with a router. I know from personal experience what a pain in the arse routers can be.

Later in the afternoon, the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE) also reported it was experiencing ‘technical difficulties’. The Stock Exchange was then closed. This one was more of a big deal, but could also be a coincidence. ‘Technical Difficulties‘, however, as a term is used as a trope to describe something that is typically not technical, but extremely shocking. Or maybe someone tripped over a wire right?

However, at the same time, the New York Journal site starts reporting issues on its pages. It was definitely starting to appear suspicious, or maybe they all just needed to update their AVG subscription.

At this point, however, many began wondering whether it was a cyberattack on these institutions. Some believed it may have been the Chinese, hitting out as their stocks are in seriously rough waters right now. Their market regulator is investigating market manipulation and many believe foreign interference, in the form of investment banks short-selling, were to blame. The Chinese and Americans have been involved in a cyber-war of sorts, including the seizure of personal information of 4.2 million US Federal Government employees by the Chinese.

Others believed was it possibly Anonymous, the infamous hacker group. The latter seemed more likely due to this tweet..

12 hours before the NYSE crashed, Anonymous had made reference to Wall Street having a ‘bad day’ and then Wall Street has a bad day. Another coincidence? It is worth remembering that a fair chunk of Anonymous’ support and membership came from the occupy movements, especially Occupy Wall Street. Many of them actively recognise themselves as combating Wall Street as the face of Neoliberal Capitalism. Also, in 2011, Anonymous took the NYSE out for a few minutes with a DDOS attack, but with nowhere near the 4-hour downtime efficacy of this ‘technical difficulty’.

Anonymous, for the lulz, played up to the suspicion using memes to playfully ‘admit’ their prediction.

But, the NYSE was in for a bad time anyway, with stock plummeting the deepest since the autumn of 2008, amidst the financial crash that caused a global recession.

In hindsight, there many reasons Wall Street could have had a bad day:

The stock market is heading into choppy waters, all the while, drunk on Quantitative Easing and Bailouts. Such a disclosure of a ‘bad day’ isn’t necessarily a threat, just solid analysis.

Homeland Security, NYSE and United Airlines have all stated that the technical issue wasn’t “the result of any nefarious factor”. It could have been an inside job, or Bane.

Or AVG because, unsurprisingly, thanks to the crash, cybersecurity stocks surged massively. Whatever the reason for the technical issues, the NYSE is back online, Anonymous continue being anonymous and the world continues spinning. But for 4 hours, it seemed like Project Mayhem had finally succeeded, but alas, capital rolls on regardless.