Anonymous goes on DDoS rampage after MegaUpload shutdown

By Lee Kaelin on January 20, 2012, 8:35 AM

The loosely knit online hacker collective went on the rampage yesterday afternoon after news broke that several Megaupload.com staff members had been arrested, including its founder Kim Dotcom. They are accused of online piracy and the popular file sharing service was pulled from the internet.

Within minutes after the news spread, the so-called hacktivists had assembled, and #OPMegaupload had begun in what became an evening of nonstop DDoS attacks likened to the virtual equivalent of a nuclear bomb on pretty much any company or government entity pro SOPA or PIPA.

“We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz. The FBI didn't think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us,” they later posted on Pastebin, along with their targets, and personal information of various heads of organizations.

If you had any doubt as to Anonymous’ abilities yesterday proved otherwise, in what became an awe inspiring display of power. Within an hour most of the targeted websites were out for the count, throwing up error pages or not even loading at all.

“You feel censored yet? We sincerely hope you like your own medicine!” the hacker collective said in a comment directed at the FBI.

The full list of targets were:

• Department of Justice (Justice.gov)
• Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA.org)
• Universal Music (UniversalMusic.com)
• Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation (Anti-piracy.be/nl/)
• Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA.org)
• Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI.gov)
• HADOPI law site (HADOPI.fr)
• U.S. Copyright Office (Copyright.gov)
• Universal Music France (UniversalMusic.fr)
• Senator Christopher Dodd (ChrisDodd.com)
• Vivendi France (Vivendi.fr)
• The White House (Whitehouse.gov)
• BMI (BMI.com)
• Warner Music Group (WMG.com)

Universal Music’s website is currently down for maintenance, although it’s uncertain whether that is related to Anonymous’ DDoS attacks yesterday. While I’m writing this article, the RIAA website won’t even load, the HADOPI law site is displaying a page saying the site is offline due to technical problems and the French website of Universal Music is displaying errors on page loads due to excessive page requests. Even Warner Music Group’s website is refusing to load occasionally as well.

I can’t help but think of the timing of the FBI’s arrests for Megaupload staff. Just the day after the largely peaceful outcry against the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation, which was a huge success, with various Senators withdrawing support for the bills.

After public support had all but eroded they needed something to justify their fight against piracy and 'cyber criminals' to the masses. Has Anonymous just inadvertently fallen into that trap?




User Comments: 53

Got something to say? Post a comment
hitech0101 said:

Surprised they didn't do it yersterday when SOPA was being discussed.

Guest said:

lolololol.

enjoy butt rape prison you pirate a-holes!

mevans336 mevans336 said:

I am concerned that this brand of "hackivism" is not going to accomplish much but embolden lobbyists to push for further legislation; and the next time it may be to allow the government to turn off an individual's service to the internet if your IP is detected in a DDoS flood.

Unless there is super-secret research on the horizon on DDoS attack mitigation, I'm not sure what choice Anonymous is giving law enforcement. Trying to throw bandwidth at the problem is a losing battle, as Anonymous seems to be able to increase their botnet power faster than most websites can keep up.

Guest said:

Lee, this is not objective journalism. Techspot writers usually do better than this, you sound like you came from Neowin.

"an awe inspiring display of power"

This is your personal opinion.

"After public support had all but eroded they needed something to justify their fight against piracy and 'cyber criminals' to the masses. "

This is a completely unsubstantiated claim.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

anonymous did not fall into any trap... they should go into politics and become leaders of USA, would be a funny story.

Guest said:

The page is comparable to a personal column in any newspaper, it's partly meant to be the author's opinion.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

OK, let's get real! Anybody that runs around calling himself, "Kim Dotcom", should be arrested for felony bad taste and egomania.

Leeky Leeky said:

Lee, this is not objective journalism. Techspot writers usually do better than this, you sound like you came from Neowin.

Thank you for the feedback.

"an awe inspiring display of power"

This is your personal opinion.

This is fact. Knocking out one server which highly likely has multiple redundancies, as well as additional protection to reduce the effect of DDoS attacks in a very short space of time is a feat in itself. Doing that to 14 different websites inside a few hours is without question wielding an enormous amount of power. Reports suggest Anonymous were launching an attack on some websites within 15 minutes of the news breaking.

For a loosely-knit group of hackers, that is a display worthy of the comment I made. It would be impossible for someone at least half informed not to feel they sent a strong message.

I realise no server is infallible in regards to DDoS protection, but these websites have been targets for a while now, and will have put policies in place to further protect themselves from DDoS attacks.

"After public support had all but eroded they needed something to justify their fight against piracy and 'cyber criminals' to the masses. "

This is a completely unsubstantiated claim.

Its not unsubstantiated at all. Public support in general is against SOPA and PIPA.

The withdrawal by over a dozen Senators from the proposed Protect IP Act as it is currently written on Wednesday highlights the general consensus of the constituents in their respective localities.

My point in the article was the timing of the FBI raid on Megaupload. It was almost perfect in respect to the timing after the events of the previous day. It is entirely possible authorities predicted the response it would receive, and therefore timed it exactly when they did as a means to provide further evidence of the legislation being required further down the line. Time will tell on that, as always.

Guest said:

This article is all personal. Right down to posting the video. Nothing from the other side. No quotes from DoJ as to how they feel about the attacks. In fact it seems nobody nowhere has been quoted from the "Law" side of this extravaganza. Of course anything they would say would be deemed an insult to the Anonymous and would cause them to retaliate further.

fimbles fimbles said:

Censorship is bad.

The actions taken to fight the censors may not be to your taste. But at least someone stood up to fight.

Guest said:

"This is fact."

It is not fact. Something like this cannot be a fact. It can be a fact that someone said it was awe inspiring and you can quote them, but an event cannot be inherently awe inspiring.

Like the previous person posted, it is all personal. This is ok, I suppose, if that is your intention. But, I typically enjoy techspot over sites like slashgear and neowin because techspot will leave out this sort of thing and report in a more objective manner.

"they needed something to justify their fight"

This is speculation and conjecture. Have you interviewed anyone from the senate, house, mpaa, riaa? No; you have made an assumption. Just because public support is obvious doesn't lead to these conclusions, and even if it did, that is not your job as a journalist to come to the conclusions. You report the news and let the readers come to conclusions.

I didn't mean to get rough. You can pass this all off if you don't consider that to be your job, or consider yourself a journalist. Maybe that is the case.

Chazz said:

They launched attacks within 15 minutes. Meaning they probably didn't even read the Indictment. Doesn't sound worthy of praise to me. Jumping to conclusions is never a good thing.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

chazz said:

They launched attacks within 15 minutes. Meaning they probably didn't even read the Indictment. Doesn't sound worthy of praise to me. Jumping to conclusions is never a good thing.

it took me 9mins to read it.

Leeky Leeky said:

I didn't mean to get rough. You can pass this all off if you don't consider that to be your job, or consider yourself a journalist. Maybe that is the case.

I do not feel I have caused any misinterpretation in this article, though in hindsight it is a little more "opinionated" than coverage I normally write.

I'll take your comments into consideration when writing future news coverage. Once again thank you for the feedback.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

chazz said:

They launched attacks within 15 minutes. Meaning they probably didn't even read the Indictment. Doesn't sound worthy of praise to me. Jumping to conclusions is never a good thing.

With people who have issues with their reading skills, probably it will take more then 15 minutes to read but these are hackers, whether mild, advanced or newbies (script kiddies or what ever some people call them) I am sure they read quite fast.

Took me 5 minutes to read, though I skimmed through some bits ...

Guest said:

GREAT Job Anonymous !

andy06shake said:

Good going Anonymous, F**k them up good and proper!!!!

Guest said:

Isnt it funny. A loose knit group of cyber-****** crashes some websites. Yea thats going to change public opinion.....not! Really the ANON ppl are pretty damn dumb in general. AT some point everything you do on a computer is tracked somehow and someway. Eventually they are going to get caught. So you crashed some websites whoopee!! ANON's actions are no more effective then

a little kid prank calling someone. If ANON wants to be taken seriously they need to take actions that do little more then inconvence ppl. It looks more like ANON is throwing a temper tantrum then doing anything radical. WAH! WAH! You arrested someone!! So im going to DDoS your websites. ANON seems to forget that the world ran non stop before the internet. And if the internet goes down...I guess ppl will have to actually do something radical....face to face communication lol.

bugejakurt said:

mevans336 said:

I am concerned that this brand of "hackivism" is not going to accomplish much but embolden lobbyists to push for further legislation; and the next time it may be to allow the government to turn off an individual's service to the internet if your IP is detected in a DDoS flood.

Unless there is super-secret research on the horizon on DDoS attack mitigation, I'm not sure what choice Anonymous is giving law enforcement. Trying to throw bandwidth at the problem is a losing battle, as Anonymous seems to be able to increase their botnet power faster than most websites can keep up.

Very well said!

Guest said:

"This article is all personal. Right down to posting the video. Nothing from the other side. No quotes from DoJ as to how they feel about the attacks. In fact it seems nobody nowhere has been quoted from the "Law" side of this extravaganza. Of course anything they would say would be deemed an insult to the Anonymous and would cause them to retaliate further."

Guest, if you appose SOPA, PIPA, or ACTA what have u done to fight?

Timonius Timonius said:

And HOW do we know this is 'two' different groups exactly?

shamus087 said:

I love Anonymous, they're great.

I like the article.

Guest said:

What is appose anyway ?

KUDOS to Anon ;)

Guest said:

ANON is doing a great job in my opinion making people think about what their actuly doing by crashing those site's they basicly said look this is what your planning on doing to the world... If SOPA, PIPA actuly do go through... well u can basicly wave good by to the internet... well atleast any freedom the government deems unworthy of your viewing...

Chazz said:

artix said:

chazz said:

They launched attacks within 15 minutes. Meaning they probably didn't even read the Indictment. Doesn't sound worthy of praise to me. Jumping to conclusions is never a good thing.

With people who have issues with their reading skills, probably it will take more then 15 minutes to read but these are hackers, whether mild, advanced or newbies (script kiddies or what ever some people call them) I am sure they read quite fast.

Took me 5 minutes to read, though I skimmed through some bits ...

Reading skills has nothing to do with it. It will take time for multiple people to read, understand, form a consensus and then plan a coordinated attack. With the speed of this I'm quite sure this was just a knee jerk reaction to reading a article.

TJGeezer said:

Leeky said:

My point in the article was the timing of the FBI raid on Megaupload. It was almost perfect in respect to the timing after the events of the previous day. It is entirely possible authorities predicted the response it would receive, and therefore timed it exactly when they did as a means to provide further evidence of the legislation being required further down the line. Time will tell on that, as always.

You have a point - though I'm old enough to remember guys on my submarine putting on their Wise Voices and saying that Martin Luther King was going too far, too fast, and such changes take time. Sometimes it takes out of the ordinary events to force a rethinking of positions.

This demo that Anonymous is growing at viral rates like the Occupy non-organization did won't necessarily backfire. After all, the U.S. government is already operating in panic mode, like any centralized power system faced with a nobody-in-charge, decentralized and persistent public reaction showing that the power-wielders have lost their legitimacy among large, maybe huge, sections of the populace.

Could Anonymous have pulled this off without access to resources unsuspected by those in power? Additional panic-mode reactions by the government (like that FBI nose-thumbing at an already pissed off digital public) won't necessarily help them maintain their centralized power. Not when the populace has been screaming for policy changes, not aggressive reaction. Nonresponsive incumbents up for reelection should probably be feeling very nervous this year.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

If they can take down Megaupload, who's next?

Guest said:

They may have also gotten information ahead of time.

Guest said:

they need to attack select sites that generate alot of sales and cash flow that is the only way to get there attention loss off money.

Guest said:

You obviously don't understand the concept of a bot-net. There doesn't need to be a group involved in planning an attack. A single bot-net commander can have his network of virus infected computers across the world attack a site in moments, and its virtually untraceable as all of the IP addresses used to attack don't actually belong to the perpetrator of the attack.

I commend Anon for their work, but until they can take control of predator drones over the internet or break into CIA's network and dump Obama's emails, I doubt they will have a major real world effect other than showing the world why not to leave their sensitive info online.

Justgivemeaname said:

Guest said:

Isnt it funny. A loose knit group of cyber-****** crashes some websites. Yea thats going to change public opinion.....not! Really the ANON ppl are pretty damn dumb in general. AT some point everything you do on a computer is tracked somehow and someway. Eventually they are going to get caught. So you crashed some websites whoopee!! ANON's actions are no more effective then

a little kid prank calling someone. If ANON wants to be taken seriously they need to take actions that do little more then inconvence ppl. It looks more like ANON is throwing a temper tantrum then doing anything radical. WAH! WAH! You arrested someone!! So im going to DDoS your websites. ANON seems to forget that the world ran non stop before the internet. And if the internet goes down...I guess ppl will have to actually do something radical....face to face communication lol.

You missed the point entirely. It wasn't ANON throwing a temper tantrum. The government wants to censor the internet and are already finding excuses to do it without SOPA or PIPA being passed. ANON was simply giving them a taste of their own medicine by effectively censoring them.

Guest said:

I am so glad that ANON. took a stand for those of us who are not hackers. I would probaby do the same thing as I think this new law is bogus. Makes me wondewr who is behind the new law???

PinothyJ said:

Anonymous really have jumped the gun on this one: I have read the indictment and Mega* have done a LOT of things that are downright illegal and that should not have gotten away with for so long (and made a lot of money from it)...

Mindwraith said:

how can Anonymous defend that fat greedy ***** Dotcom? people......

Guest said:

Mindwraith, you're missing the point.

Guest said:

awesome, Take control talented young people, its your future, we can only hope :)

Guest said:

False flag attacks by secret government agents intent to scare the sheeple into believing we all need new and draconian legislation to protect us. OR Bunch of kids with some denial of service hacker tools which is scaring the sheeple into believing we need draconian legislation to protect us.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

& 'they'* are doing exactly what 'they'** expected ...

cheers!

Guest said:

Next time, they will launch assault against the United States' government, transportation, and economy by collective computer hackers. Any and all computer-based systems are the objective and would destroy the modern day life of America. As seen in the 2007 movie "Live Free or Die Hard" or Die Hard 4.. :D

Guest said:

I was under the impression that mega upload/download are pretty quick in general to remove content that it deemed pirated/copyright infringment.

At the end of the day the site was set up as "public" file hosting, and as such those incharge can only do so much to control what content is uploaded.

The closest analogy I can think of is if a criminal used a safe deposit boxes to store stolen goods or evidence from a murder, would it then be fair to charge the bank with theft/ handling stolen goods or charge them as an accessory?

fimbles fimbles said:

"The closest analogy I can think of is if a criminal used a safe deposit boxes to store stolen goods or evidence from a murder, would it then be fair to charge the bank with theft/ handling stolen goods or charge them as an accessory? "

They are looking in to paypal at the moment for knowingly handling money from the proceeds of crime......

andy06shake said:

"DDoS attacks likened to the virtual equivalent of a nuclear bomb "

In what F***ing way is this like a nuclear bomb going off????? Ile tell u this one 20 Megaton device detonated at 1000f above Washington DC and planet Earth would be a whole lot less corrupt. Kind of like surgically removing a tumor, well maybe not surgically but to the benefit of humanity to be sure! America already police the world, LEAVE OUR NET THE F**K ALONE!!!

RH00D RH00D said:

I *want* to like Anonymous but I just can't because they aren't serious enough. You can tell by their actions that they are fairly young, probably slightly immature, group of people. These DDoS attacks are like a few mosquitoes that keep flying around your head; they're annoying and that's about it.

If you want to be taken seriously you need to do something like what Julian Assange and Wikileaks are doing. But then again, for lack of a better phrase, that takes some real balls to do.

It's actually getting tiring seeing Anonymous referred to as "hackers" when 90% (made up figure) of what they do is just DDoS attacks. I'm pretty sure the closest they came to being hackers was the Aaron Barr fiasco.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

Leeky said:

I didn't mean to get rough. You can pass this all off if you don't consider that to be your job, or consider yourself a journalist. Maybe that is the case.

I do not feel I have caused any misinterpretation in this article, though in hindsight it is a little more "opinionated" than coverage I normally write.

I'll take your comments into consideration when writing future news coverage. Once again thank you for the feedback.

Just add an Op/Ed tag or even possible an Op/Ed section and then tag/file it under that. Problem solved.

I enjoyed reading your article, including the parts I found opinionated.

Guest said:

@ justgivemeaname.

I think your missing the point of that guests post as well. Anonymous did those DDoS attacks, not because they were trying to protest the arrests, they did it because they didnt agree with the arrest. Even if they did read the paperwork on the arrest all they did was bomb a few websites for a few hours and TEMPORARLY shut them down. Thats like running into a little kid throwing a temper tantrum because mommy didnt buy their favorite cereal. The child disagrees with the parents decision, child throws tantrum. Anonymous did pretty much the same thing.

I do want to like the rebelous nature of Anonymous, I just feel their actions are less then honest. What are they trying to protest? What are they trying to protect? They have no true north. They are just "bandwagoning" whats hot and news worthy. I want to see them become more serious in both their actions and responses. If they wanted to protest the arrests, they should have shutdown those websites on a more permanent basis. Hold the website "hostage" till their demands are met

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@ justgivemeaname.

...[ ].... Anonymous did those DDoS attacks, not because they were trying to protest the arrests, they did it because they didnt agree with the arrest....[ ]...

That's exactly what this thread needed, somebody's bull s*** semantic interpretation of their motives...

TJGeezer said:

captaincranky said:

@ justgivemeaname.

...[ ].... Anonymous did those DDoS attacks, not because they were trying to protest the arrests, they did it because they didnt agree with the arrest....[ ]...

That's exactly what this thread needed, somebody's bull s*** semantic interpretation of their motives...

Uh oh - where'd you come from, cap'n? I was just about to post a completely unqualified, unsupported opinion, too. I better hold off now. Nuts.

treetops treetops said:

All I know is they are doing what they believe is right, not what some lobbyist told them too.

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