Our friends at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society say that the number of online attacks intended to shut down human rights groups' websites have spiked in recent months. 140 attacks against 280 sites were counted between August of 2009 and September of 2010. They acknowledge that these are only the attacks against higher profile sites and that there are likely many more against smaller sites that go unreported. These types of sites are likely run by organizations without much money who can't afford much of a firewall (as opposed to Amazon or Facebook). One Russian site operator said he suspects the Kremlin was involved with an attack against his site.
The report finds that DDoS is increasingly being used as a political tool and as a form of protest.
Attacks that recruit participants in so-called volunteer DDoS are proving popular
The report gives the example of the organisation 'Help Israel Win' which recently invited individuals to install a software package, dubbed Patriot DDos, on their computers so the machine could be used to launch attacks, on what the authors assume would be Palestinian targets.