Only minutes after the U.S. Department of Justice repossessed the domains of Megauploads and its affiliate sites on Wednesday, the hacker collective knows as Anonymous quickly declared their intent to retaliate. As one Anonymous linked twitter handle tweeted:
Late Thursday Anonymous claimed credit for several attacks on government and entertainment industry websites. The wrath of Anonymous came down upon the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Recording Industry of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music to name a few. The nature of the attacks was to effectively shut them down; using a tactic the group has used before to embarrass their enemies, known as the “distributed denial-of-service attack.” It doesn’t steal information of permanently damage the website in anyway but rather, floods the pages with more web traffic than they are designed to handle, leading them to crash.
The first site to fall was that of the U.S. Department of Justice, less than an hour after their announcement to take down the Mega sites. Followed by some entertainment industry sites, the hacker organization then set their sights on the U.S. Copyright office website. Anonnews told its audience to “Get some popcorn… it’s going to be a long lulzy night,” indicating that the attacks would continue. They also called the operation the “Largest Attack Ever by Anonymous – 5,635 People Confirmed Using #LOIC to Bring Down Sites!” #LOIC referring to the attack software that the hacker group used. Even the website FBI.gov (yeah those guys with the dark glasses and the ear pieces) could not escape Anonymous’s rage.
All this the day after a pretty successful day of protest against the copyright enforcing Stop Onlione Piracy Act and Protect IP Act being debated in Congress. It is actually kind of ironic that the bills which would censor the internet, forced sites like Reddit, Wikipedia and others to go dark in protest on Wednesday. And what happened on Thursday? Many government and entertainment industry websites “went dark” as a result of their actions. The bills haven’t even become laws yet! Wonder what will happen if they should actually pass.
According to many anti-copyright activists, the taking down of the Mega sites just after mass protest of SOPA/PIPA can only be seen as a retaliatory move planned to show that even without these bills, Hollywood still has the “law” on their side. But this plan back fired and became a catalyst for hacker and anti-copyright activism.
One of Anonymous’s prominent hackers even tweeted the following along side many other tweets calling for a boycott of Hollywood and record labels:
I for one applaud Anonymous for standing up to entertainment industry and its lackeys (the government.) We certainly need copyright reform, I’m all for that. But I do not and will never support going about it by censoring websites. As Sebastian describes in his article, pirating sites are simply the symptoms of a broken copyright system and the result of an entertainment industry operating with a business models that is way beyond archaic. Hollywood should either reform their business model to reflect the technology we have today, or they should perish and let other, more innovative, more competitive companies take their place. The song below by Funk Vigilante adequetly sums up how I feel regarding SOPA/PIPA, the governments position in all this and Anonymous’s response.
What do you think of Anonymous‘s actions? Are they justified or illegal? Please leave your thoughts is the comments section below.