"Rep. Joe Wilson chose an unconventional venue in which to level an attack on President Obama Wednesday night: a Joint Session of Congress.
Now Wilson's opponents are counterattacking him in an increasingly popular venue for political mayhem: cyberspace.
Sources close to the South Carolina congressman charge that hackers have blitzed his campaign Web site JoeWilsonforCongress.com with a series of attacks that periodically shut down the site. The South Carolina Republican jeered at Obama "You lie!" during his health care reform speech to Congress.
But Wilson's quickly become a darling of the right, raising $1,000,000 in online campaign contributions since his outburst Wednesday night. Now sources familiar with Wilson's campaign say there's a concerted effort by hackers to flood the Congressman's Web site and keep him from raising money.
"This is an obvious effort to stifle the Congressman's voice for a common-sense approach for health care reform," said a source familiar with Wilson's campaign.
In essence, Wilson's opponents ganged up on the Web site, dispatching thousands of "phantom" computers, infected with malware, to send request after request to Wilson's campaign Web site. Such a barrage of requests overwhelms the site and causes it to crash. A source close to Wilson indicates that hackers took down the campaign Web site for five hours Friday night.
"These tactics create such a huge surge," said a Wilson campaign source. "We've had to fight this off in hand-to-hand combat, blocking this malicious traffic."
In many respects, this is the high-tech version of a politician's opponents driving through a neighborhood and vandalizing campaign signs. In computer-speak, the effort to ping the computer so frequently creates what's called a "denial of service request." That takes the site offline."
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