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Attacks from Anonymous send clear message to SOPA supporters

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

Infamous hacker group (or hacktivist collective), Anonymous, united this past week to get revenge on those responsible for the seizure of file-sharing site MegaUpload.com and the arrest of its CEO, Kim DotCom, and several other key players. 

The group so synonymous with cyber threats these days is responsible for several well-known cyber attacks.  Their most “successful” to date was an attack on the PlayStation Network late last year.  The service was down for nearly a month, and it exposed millions of users’ personal information.  This time, the group set its sights on supporters of the controversial SOPA/PIPA bills that were set to go before Congress last week.

The organized attacks on sites like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), one of the bills earliest and biggest supporters, and even the CIA’s website, caused the sites to crash due to heavy traffic. 

The group sent out links across the web using Twitter and other methods to unsuspecting users around the world.  When users clicked on the links, their computers would automatically and repeatedly ping the targeted website.  Pinging is the act of sending information to connect to a host website.  Users who clicked the links unknowingly pinged the aforementioned sites until the servers could no longer handle the requests.  While most sites were back up within hours, Anonymous proved once again that it has more than a few tricks up its sleeve to deal with any and all threats.

The now defunct bills have been shelved due to public outcry.  An online petition garnered over three million signatures within the first 24 hours after it was posted.  The bills were proposed to help cut down on Internet piracy: they would allow the government to shut down and seize foreign sites harboring copyrighted material, like motion pictures and television shows.  In turn, any other website linking to these external sites or guilty of posting copyrighted materials (i.e. music, movie/television clips) could be shutdown and charged with copyright infringement. 

One Internet meme circulating over the web explained that a user could go to jail for 5 years for uploading a Michael Jackson song to the Internet.  Exactly one year more than the sentence for the doctor who killed him.

File sharing sites like MegaUpload allow users to upload and share information quickly and easily.  Most might know it as the site where you can watch two-thirds of a movie before receiving a message that reads, “You have watched 72 minutes of video today. Please wait 54 minutes or Click here to enjoy unlimited use of Megavideo.” 

While annoying, that message is certainly less threatening than the one users are greeted with when attempting to visit the site now.  “This domain name associated with the website MegaUpload.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by a U.S. District Court.  A federal grand jury has indicted several individuals and entities allegedly involved in the operation of MegaUpload.com…” Among the charges they face include conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Rumors around the Internet show that in response to the shut down of MegaUpload, Anonymous is launching its own file-sharing site, AnonyUpload, some time this week, although nothing is confirmed.  And trying to get a straight answer out of a collective like Anonymous is like watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ with subtitles.  It’s hopeless.  That’s probably the way they like it though.  Otherwise their name would be Cooperative or Helpful.

By Sam Scarcello
The Griffin

TAGGED: canisius college, canisius griffins, griffs, hacker, news, sam scarcello, sopa, the griffin

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