In what seemed like an all-out retaliation against the powers the be, infamous hacker group Anonymous has claimed it was behind the attacks that have recently brought down the online sites of several media organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Universal Music, as well as the US Department of Justice, in what it called a retaliation for the government’s shutdown of the Megaupload websites.
The Twitter feed from Anonymous proudly claimed: “The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government and record label sites.” That was immediately followed by: “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.” The Tweet apparently referred to the contentious SOPA or top Online Piracy Act anti-Internet piracy legislation seriously being eyed by the U.S. Congress and the subject of last Wednesday’s unprecedented online protest.
Megaupload was a popular music and movie content distribution site and last Thursday, the site was shut down as prompted by the US DOJ and is no longer available. On the same day as it was closed, the Justice Department announced it has arrested and charged seven people linked to the site for having conspired in perpetuating online piracy of IP protected content worldwide. Four of them were arrested in New Zealand after the Feds worked with local law enforcement groups.
The hacking occurred a day after about 10,000 websites went dark to protest the contentious Senate sponsored SOPA bill and the House bill PIPA (Protect IP Act) pending before Congress. Once passed, it would facilitate authorities in forcing Internet service providers to block residents from accessing foreign sites known to offer pirated content. Opponents of the bill point to its arbitrariness in shutting down sites before its owners could find recourse in a court for alleged copyright infringement.
By mid-afternoon the following day, hackers behind the Anonymous account in Twitter account had claimed attacking the websites of the RIAA, DOJ, Universal Music, Broadcast Music Inc., the Motion Picture Association of America, and the U.S. Copyright Office. They further attempted to hack the FBI website but it remained operational as of midday yesterday across the West Coast. This record hacking spree goes down as the most massive cyber-terrorism ever committed by the hacker group.