tweeted "Please do not test your software on us again."
The effectiveness of RefRef is due to the fact that it exploits a vulnerability in a widespread SQL service. The flaw is apparently known but not widely patched yet. The tool's creators don't expect their attacks to work on a high-profile target more than a couple of times before being blocked, but they don't believe organizations will rush to patch this flaw en masse before being hit.
This means there are a lot of possible targets out there that will be hit at least once. "This tool only makes you vulnerable if you don't keep your systems patched, perform the basic security, which is how Sony got caught with it's pants down," the RefRef developers said.
The tool works by turning the servers against themselves. It sends malformed SQL queries carrying the payload which in turn forces the servers to exhaust their own resources. However, the tool's GUI does have a field for inputting the refresh interval so it might combine traditional forms of HTTP hammering with the new technique.
Some security experts have been skeptical that the success of Anonymous's DDoS attacks can be explained through LOIC alone. They proposed that some of the group's supporters also have access to botnets, a theory that has partially proven to be correct.