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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. " - 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.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • i support this
  • shin0bi272
    I may have to change my opinion of these hack/slacktavists

    On a side note Tom's still hasnt fixed the issue where if you type a comment before you log in then log in it erases your comment. just FYI.
  • Anonymous can be anyone, that is referred to as a group is a feature of language more than an expression of what anonymous is. There is a good reason why the name anonymous was chosen, it wasn't to create a specific group with restricted membership.
  • JustinPadinske
    I am certainly not saying that Anonymous's something is not better than nothing but besides some minor chaos, what are they accomplishing? Chances are the technicians behind fixing the DDos Server crashes are not responsible for SOPA or PIPA. The actual people who put these bills into action are almost losing nothing by having their website taken down other than the pride that they know they are getting to us emotionally. Am I missing something, I am fully against SOPA and PIPA I just do not know that crashing a server for a day or two is achieving anything.
  • Hoorah!
  • spasmolytic46
    If you like this article, you're a terrorist. NDAA says you can disappear forever.
  • slicedtoad
    meh ddos attacks are boring. Give us the personal info (SSN, private phones, emails, wtvr might be damaging) of all people responsible for SOPA and PIPA. Then we'll talk.
  • kcorp2003
    i had a meguapload account with a lot of files uploaded for backup purposes. shutting down megaupload means i lost those data and my $230.
  • rex86
    I sincerely support Anonymous.
  • bit_user
    Can someone please tell me what possible good is going to come of these people lashing out like spoiled children? Taking down a few websites isn't going to hurt the industry in the slightest.

    Actually, I'm pretty sure it just plays into the industry's attempts to paint opposition to SOPA and Protect IP as coming from pirates and vandals, rather than on legitimate and principled grounds.