Anonymous Strikes Back: Hits MPAA, RIAA, DoJ, More

As previously reported, Megaupload -- along with Megavideo -- was shut down by the FBI on Thursday. The group behind the websites have been charged with copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering. Many individuals named in the indictment are now in custody while a few others are still at large.

Now rewind to the moment before the FBI made its announcement. Hactivist group Anonymous remained somewhat dormant during the whole SOPA/PIPA bag of drama, offering its vocal resentment since the legislation reared its head. DDoS attacks have been few and far in-between, or so it seemed. There was the whole Symantec source code controversy, but that too seemed to have fizzled.

But in the here and now, we have the Megaupload thing, and it's not pretty. In retaliation, Anonymous has emerged, initially striking at the Department of Justice website with a nasty DDoS attack. But it's not stopping there, oh no sir. Anonymous has become a disturbed hornets nest that now has all of its occupants out and buzzing, striking in defense at everything that's pissed it off in the last month.

According to Anonymous itself (in addition to other reports), the group has knocked out the following websites: RIAA, MPAA, Universal Music Group, the US Copyright Office, BMI and French copyright authority HADOPI. There may be more, but that's the list we have for now. Anonymous agents are currently buzzing on IRC, trying to coordinate their DDoS attacks in the same direction.

An RIAA spokesman confirmed to CNN earlier today that the RIAA website was indeed knocked offline, but indicated that it was merely a flesh wound compared to the damage the DoJ caused to the file sharing community. "The fact that a couple of sites might have been taken down is really ancillary to the significant news today that the Justice Department brought down one of the world's most notorious file sharing hubs," he said.

Anonymous operative Barrett Brown told RT on Thursday afternoon that more was coming, and that Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to "damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA." Operatives involved in the project will use an "experimental campaign" and search engine optimization techniques "whereby to forever saddle some of these congressmen with their record on this issue." RT claims this is the largest coordinated attack in Anonymous' history.

"DDoS is the internet what the Billy club is to gang warfare: simple, cheap, unsophisticated and effective," said Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy, Imperva. "But DDoS lends itself well to the Anonymous model which relies on crowd sourcing.  During Operation Payback, Anonymous inspired an army of thousands in an attempt to bring numerous commercial sites.  In this case, they’re boasting '5,600 DDoS zealots blasting at once.'"

As of this writing, Twitter is slowing down to a crawl, but the AnonymousIRC feed and other Anonymous-related agents are lit up with chatter about the current attacks. "http://www.fbi.gov - you feel censored yet? We sincerely hope you like your own medicine! #Anonymous #OpMegaupload," reads one tweet, basically announcing that the FBI's website is now down for the count.

"FBI.GOV TANGO DOWN! #Megaupload," reads another tweet. Yep, there went the FBI. Who's next, we wonder.

Those interested in keeping up with the attacks can watch Anonymous in action on Twitter by heading here, here and here. Grab some popcorn while you're at it... this might get entertaining.