Hours after the Department of Justice announced it had shut down file-sharing site Megaupload, the Anonymous hacker collective launched extensive retaliatory DDoS attacks against federal and entertainment industry Websites.
immediately after federal prosecutors shut down Megaupload.com on charges of
violating piracy laws, Twitter and online forums exploded with chatter about
revenge and retaliation.
shut down file-sharing service Megaupload.com on Jan. 19 for distributing
illegal content in one of the largest online piracy crackdowns in Internet
history and arrested four individuals.
later, Websites belonging to the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S.
Copyright Office and several entertainment giants, including Universal Music,
the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association
of America, were knocked offline by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
attacks and remained unavailable for the remainder of the day and evening.
collective Anonymous immediately launched OpMegaupload and coordinated DDoS
against a number of Websites. Supporters were encouraged to download a tool,
the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, that would direct a flood of traffic to the targeted
site. The combined floods eventually overwhelm the server as it tries to
process all the requests.
account associated with Anonymous, AnonOps, claimed credit for taking down the
Department of Justice Website. The post read, "justice.gov &
universalmusic.com TANGO DOWN! You should have EXPECT US!"
Music appeared to have been targeted because the music company had recently
been trying to force YouTube to take down a promotional video produced by
Megaupload featuring several artists signed with Universal who were praising
the file-sharing site.
Twitter account associated with the collective, AnonymousIRC, at one point
claimed more than 1,500 people were in its Internet Relay Chat room discussing
the operation and other potential targets, including the White House and Viacom.
AnonOps claimed OpMegaUpload was the "largest attack operation ever,"
with 5,635 people taking part.
is to the Internet what the billy club is to gang warfare: simple, cheap,
unsophisticated and effective," Rob Rachwald, director of security
strategy at Imperva, told eWEEK.
Despite its simplicity, DDoS attacks lend themselves well to crowdsourcing,
making it possible for a loose band of hacktivists such as Anonymous to have
such an impact on so many sites at once.
overall Internet traffic. Content delivery network provider Akamai
registered 218 attacks in the last 24 hours, according to its real-time Web
monitoring tool. The data visualization tool reported attack-related traffic
was up 24 percent over normal, while general network traffic was up 13 percent.
same thing that happened to #Megaupload can happen to any other major (or
small) website you love as well.! Fight back! #OpMegaupload," AnonymousIRC
posted on Twitter.
Megaupload shutdown came just a day after various groups and companies
participated in a 24-hour Internet strike, where several thousand Websites
voluntarily took themselves offline to protest two controversial anti-piracy
bills under debate in Congress. Opponents to the bill believe the broad powers
granted to copyright holders would make it too easy to shut down legitimate
Websites without due process and would encourage online censorship. In fact, if
the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) had been passed,
the FBI would not have needed to get involved in shutting down Megaupload at
account YourAnonNews posted, "Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being
law. Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The Internet as we know it will
end. FIGHT BACK."