Gizmodo.com is reporting that the shutdown of Megaupload, accused of breaking copyright laws, has spawned retaliatory attacks by the hacktivist group Anonymous. Gizmodo is continuing to update their article regularly, and I highly staying on top of it. Among sites reported as being down are the Universal Music Group and BMI, the US Copyright Office, the Motion Picture Association of America, and several law enforcement and government agencies. Recent claims by Anonymous indicate that this is their biggest DoS campaign, ever.
“The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites,” a member of Anonymous said via Twitter.
The US government’s investigation began in March 2010. The Department of Justice announced the indictment and arrest of 4 company execs in New Zealand. The maximum penalties for those arrested are 20 years for conspiracy to commit racketeering and to commit money laundering, 5 years for each count of copyright infringement, and 5 years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Some of the material found includes music, videos, porn, child porn and terrorism propaganda.
Megaupload boasts of having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors. Users of the service could upload material to the site which then would create a link for distribution. Revenue for the site was mainly generated through the sale of site memberships, offering faster upload and download services, and the serving of ads. Material not regularly downloaded was often deleted, and incentives were offered for the most popular content. If complaints were received about a specific link, Megaupload would remove the offending link, but many other links to the same material would often remain.
This blatant escalation of activity is indicative of Anonymous’ belief that they are untouchable, and can operate well outside of the law. The current state of the Internet, its underlying protocols and inadequate controls allow them and others to continue to do what they do today. It is time to fix the root causes of these events. Where is the secure Internet?