Less than half an hour after beginning, the third annual 8-Bit Salute of Operation Supply Drop — a fund drive to send video games to U.S. troops serving abroad — was beset by hackers.
"This is a battle, let's show the world what happens when you mess with Gamers! " organizers said in an email to backers. The charity's main URL, operationsupplydrop.org, was also taken down, apparently by a distributed denial-of-service attack. The attack began sometime after 9 a.m. ET.
The site returned but was taken down again. "Odds are this will happen again over the next 24 hours," they wrote.
Organized by a former Army captain who served eight years in Iraq, Operation Supply Drop aims to be a morale booster for service members deployed to combat zones or recovering in military hospitals. It has raised $750,000 in games and gear since its inception.
With the main site down, Operation Supply Drop reminded others they could send PayPal donations to email@example.com, or by buying a poster Rooster Teeth made for the cause.
"Our packages are an immeasurable morale booster for the soldiers," Capt. Stephen Machuga, U.S. Army (ret.) said in 2012. "Troops are accustomed to getting care packages from strangers full of baby wipes and socks. Our care packages are designed to blow their socks off."
Machuga, in the founding story of Operation Supply Drop, says he got the idea after receiving a care package full of Harlequin romance novels from a library. The books were used for target practice.
"It was about that time that he realized that, while people had their hearts in the right place, they just didn't know what soldiers wanted," Operation Supply Drop sayson its Facebook page.
The care packages are intended to combat the stress and loneliness of deployment, including fostering interaction and friendship among servicemembers and abating post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions cited as a cause of concerning rates of suicide.
Polygon profiled Machuga and Operation Supply Drop at length in December. See more here.