So, the Anonymous poked Westboro Baptist Church a little bit. I could say that this is just business as usual - I mean, who doesn’t want to prod these guys?

And now, apparently, mr. Phelps says “Bring it”.

You know, I don’t condone criminal hacking. I don’t condone DDoS attacks. I don’t condone many of the things that the Anonymous has done, though they’ve also done a lot of good, obviously.

But there’s one funny thing going on here: Based on my best non-lawyer understanding, with this announcement, the bets are off. Phelps basically invited the crackers to his doorstep. With that sort of announcement, formerly criminal activity suddenly becomes legal.

There are many instances of companies putting up a server and saying “go ahead and try to hack that thing. Bet you can’t break our software.” (Whether these contests are nothing more than pointless publicity stunts is another matter.)

So, mr. Phelps, how, exactly, is “God will use you for His praise and the rest of your wrath He will restrain” different from “Oracle is unbreakable”? You have made a statement about your information system (to wit, your congregation’s information infrastructure) and the technology used to protect that system (to wit, the Judeo-Christian Deity). You have invited hackers to test this setup.

This will certainly turn out interesting, from more than just technological point of view. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s just my view that people who wish for supernatural protection should actually do something toward that end to ensure those protections actually work. Part of that will include having the common sense to not specifically giving people the permission to attack you.

Especially when, in your rage, you fail to define the terms of engagement. People who do penetration tests usually make the terms a little bit more clearer, to avoid collateral damage. If you ask anonymous loons to attack your websites out of blue, then unfortunate accidents tend to happen. If some poor hapless hax0r stumbles on Phelps’s *ahem* purelyforresearchpurposes gay porn stash, it’s his fault that he didn’t specifically ask people from staying the hell out of the systems that are, very strictly speaking, not part of the exercise. Yes, getting to those systems might not be legal in the first place, but when rules aren’t clearly specified, people sometimes step out of the marked boundaries and bad stuff like that can happen. Even if it was just a harmless stint to wrong directory on the file server, they can’t really unsee stuff. Sorry.

Oh, and mr. Phelps - a random side note: our “lesbian” president is still in power, and will finish her 2nd term next January. If this Nokia-Microsoft deal was your idea of divine retribution against our beloved motherland, you need to do better. We’ve survived worse. Time’s a-ticking and elections approach! Tell your God to stop throwing giant pancakes at Bolivia and have Him toss one here! Mm, frozen jelly pancakes.

UPDATE, Feb 22: A publicity stunt by WBC? Well, I never! If the idea was to troll the Anonymous to attack the WBC illegally and hit some sort of a honeypot, the idea was retarded to begin with - for the exact reasons I mentioned above. If you leave behind giant piles of evidence that you wanted to provoke an attack, then it’s not fair to weep when you get hit.

And as the anonnews press release says, it’s not clear what the DDoS would have even accomplished. Like I said it, I don’t condone this types of attacks, and on Phelps’ side, inviting such trouble is retarded in the first place.

We know Phelps is a raging moron. If people would just do counter-protests, that would have accomplished something. Scientology protests accomplished at least one thing: A lot of people are aware of Scientology these days, and won’t get sucked into a cult through grandiose-sounding promises. There’s a reasonable chance there are still people who aren’t laughing at WBC. This stunt at least reminded people that this kind of morons still exist on this planet.

Go on, Phelpsy, bring some publicity in. Scientology at least tried to keep up a nice smooth façade, but if you’re trolling for negative publicity yourself and don’t give a damn about how it makes you look, you really don’t need anyone’s help, do you?