Visit the main blog post (http://bit.ly/azgKeG) for up to the minute updates on the attack.
Over the past few weeks I have been investigating the Anonymous DDoS assault against media authorities around the world. This small, but vocal Internet community launched an attack campaign called “Operation Payback”, which targeted DDoS attacks against various companies and agencies who support the anti-piracy lobby. This attack, provoked by a similar attack carried out by an Indian firm against file sharing sites, caused the organizers of Anonymous to go nearly mental in rage. Monitoring their communications over the past few weeks reminded me of the 1976 scene from the movie “Network”, where Peter Finch gets everyone to yell out of their windows, saying “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Recruiting fliers (pictured below) were posted all around the world in multiple languages. Sites like Reddit, Digg, 4chan, and Twitter were used to encourage thousands of people from all around the world to join in, stand up, and attack the anti-piracy lobby.
During my investigation, I got the chance to speak with some of the Anonymous organizers in a Q&A session. Here is the result of that chat:
Q: Who is Anonymous?
A: I believe it is just a description of what we are. Anonymous is not an organization with hierarchy and leaders. We manifest as Anarchy. We are comprised of people from all walks of life. In short, we feel strongly motivated to do what we can to fight back against things which are morally questionable.
Q: What is your current mission?
A: To fight back against the anti-piracy lobby. There been a massive lobbyist-provoked surge in unfair infringements of personal freedom online, lately. See the Digital Economy Bill in the UK, and “three strikes” legislation in the EU which both threaten to disconnect internet connections based on accusations supplied by the music and movie industries. In the USA, a new bill has been proposed that could allow the USA to force top level registrars such as ICANN and Nominet to shut down websites, all with NO fair trial. Guilty until proven guilty! Our tactics are inspired by the very people who provoked us, AiPlex Software. A few weeks back they admitted to attacking file sharing sites with DDoS attacks.
We recommend reading our official statement here: http://pastebin.com/kD52Af4N
Q: Do you advocate piracy?
A: Yes. It is the next step in a cultural revolution of shared information. Imagine it as the beginnings to an information singularity; a beginning of true “equality of opportunity”, regardless of wealth or capacity. I would not have gotten anywhere near my accomplishments today without the books I pirated. I can’t afford them!
Q: What websites have you attacked?
A: The Motion Picture Association of America [MPAA], The Recording Industry Association of America [RIAA], The British Phonographic Industry [BPI], The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft [AFACT] ,Stichting Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland [BREIN], ACS:Law, Aiplex, Websheriff, and Dglegal.
Q: Your original poster mentioned that “botnets” would be used in this attack. Do any of you profit from cyber crime?
A: That depends if you’re using the anti-piracy lobby definition of cyber criminal or not. To be clear, we do not condone any sort of profit from botnets or malware for that matter, but the vast majority of what is constituted as Cyber Crime can be something as simple as downloading your favourite song, instead of paying ridiculous fees for that song (which the artist will only see a fraction of).
Q: What’s your affiliation with 4chan? Are you all active members?
A: Some of us frequent 4chan, but we have no affiliation with any forum or website for that matter. We simply use them to communicate.
Q: How long will this attack go on for?
A: There is no time frame. We will keep going until we stop being angry.
Q: Are you prepared to go to jail for your cause?
A: Yes, but we’ve taken every measure we can to make sure that our anonymity remains in tact. More importantly, why isn’t this question asked to the very people who hired Aiplex to attack us in the first place?
Q: If you were able to resolve this situation, what would you want the respective media authorities of the world to do?
A: Personally, I would want them to basically go the fuck away altogether. Remove the barbaric laws they have lobbied for. Treat people like PEOPLE instead of criminals. Their long outdated traditional views on copyright infringement enforced solely by rich and powerful corporations need to be modified in light of the modern age on the Internet, the Information Age.
Artists under the media conglomerates have very little say in the content they produce and make a fraction of the profit. This is fairly evident with several mainstream artists who’ve now defected from the media regimes control. Take Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as two great examples. Both groups have embraced piracy and have still continued to make a significant profit for themselves.
Q: Are you aware that this sort of attack is illegal in many countries and that your group can potentially put innocent people who support your cause under legal scrutiny?
A: I think that most people/participants are aware of that risk. In a world where our voice is ignored we feel we have no choice but to revert to direct action.
Q: Some people view this as the future of protests. Do you foresee future protests like this for other causes in the future?
A: Certainly. As for the protests, I hope the future of protests is ACTION. Not walking in circles with useless signs that are ignored.
There’s no telling how this protest will affect current and ongoing anti-piracy legislation, but one of the attacked companies (ACS:Law) is currently under investigation in the UK after a publicly available e-mail backup was uncovered by Anonymous, exposing thousands of victims to privacy invasion:
At the time of writing this blog post, we observed a total of 474 hours of combined downtime and 623 separate service interruptions. Aiplex, the Indian software firm tasked with attacking uncooperative file sharing sites was the most heavily affected with 313 service interruptions and 123 hours of downtime. ACS:Law, the second most affected, experienced the largest bulk of downtime at 179 hours, with 152 separate service interruptions.
You can follow our frequently updated blog post on the attack here: http://bit.ly/azgKeG