An Interview with Anonymous

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.

Anonymous Recruiting - English

Anonymous Recruiting - English

Anonymous Recruiting - Russian

Anonymous Recruiting - Russian

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

SiteInterruptionsDowntime (h.m)
aiplex313123.00
ACS:Law152179.07
RIAA104127.00
AFACT4321.43
MPAA323.20
DAVENPORT LYONS30.10
IFPI30.09
BPI20.06
TotalsInterruptionsDowntime
623474
SiteInterruptionsDowntime (h:m)
aiplex313123.00
ACS:Law152179.07
RIAA104127.00
AFACT4321.43
MPAA323.20
DAVENPORT LYONS38.55
IFPI30.09
BPI20.06
TotalsInterruptionsDowntime
623482.40

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71 Responses

Leave a Reply
  1. Anon
    Sep 29, 2010 - 11:09 PM

    I would like to thank everyone who donated their time and computers for this cause, Operation Payback. Copying something and distributing it to someone else is not a piracy or a theft. I personally believe they are fighting an useless battle against public because they will never win. If you look back at the history they tried to outlaw printing press, then tapes and VCRs, then cable TVs and now they are after the internet? Do your math. :)

    Reply
  2. Antoine Dodson
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:00 AM

    cool article, bro

    Reply
  3. Asianman6924
    Sep 30, 2010 - 03:46 AM

    Yea awesome! article!
    Thanks panda and Anonymous for the interview

    Reply
    • Truman
      Sep 30, 2010 - 05:33 PM

      Yes, and soon writers won’t write any more books, because they can’t afford to write them.

      Reply
      • surebro
        Oct 01, 2010 - 02:11 AM

        @Truman I take it you haven’t tried to author a mass published book or get an album circulated to the mass audiences at large? The creators already are in dire shape because of the inflated cost of publishing materials. Blaming it on piracy is absolutely adorable though, so innocent and yet so blind.

        Reply
      • anonymous
        Oct 01, 2010 - 04:19 AM

        And yet artists that release books for free and ask for donations are doing remarkably well. This isn’t even addressing the fact that capitalism is an outdated model that needs changing. Probably to a workable gift economy.

        Reply
      • Daedalus
        Oct 01, 2010 - 05:40 AM

        I’m afraid you miss the point of what has occurred in the past week entirely.
        The writers can write books, but the publishing companies raise the prices so that information that you want, or the new novel you’d love to read costs anywhere from 16.99 USD to 200.00 USD.
        If you’ve never found a book that you have wanted to read but couldn’t afford, or went to buy a college textbook only to find that the edition you need is 300+ dollars, then you’ll never understand why this is happening.

        Reply
      • Ieiunitas
        Oct 01, 2010 - 06:19 AM

        If you honestly think that the only reason people create art is for money, you have a lot to learn. There are hundreds of thousands of writers, artists, and musicians who put their work up for free on the internet, and don’t lose one iota of quality. Making art is not a full time job.

        Also, thank god ACS Law is finally going to get what’s been coming to them.

        Reply
      • A Writer
        Oct 01, 2010 - 10:16 AM

        True writers don’t write for profit. And good writers sell, regardless of how many pirate their books–there are always enough who will go on buying, to keep the Publisher rich (the writer gets only peanuts, it is the publisher who profits the most). This is fact. Books existed way before Copyright Law, and good books sell long after their authors die and the copyright expires.

        Reply
      • Falseman
        Oct 01, 2010 - 10:23 AM

        It’s OK, maybe you will write the next book. Maybe others make the next films and others record their own music, no matter how low the budget and maybe the next generation will own it’s culture.

        Aren’t, say, 14 years of copyright protection enough to make a profit from a work?

        Reply
      • V
        Oct 01, 2010 - 03:25 PM

        nonsense. they’ll just distribute books themselves and be paid the money they generate, as it should be.

        Reply
  4. G4B
    Sep 30, 2010 - 06:57 AM

    F#ck them all, long live piracy :D

    Reply
  5. Anonymous
    Sep 30, 2010 - 11:30 PM

    Fuck yeah ebaumsworld

    Reply
  6. Anonymous
    Oct 01, 2010 - 12:25 AM

    Join Anonymous in its crusade against these bastards!
    tieve.tk
    GET IN HERE

    Reply
  7. Jack Meoph
    Oct 01, 2010 - 08:24 PM

    GOOD GOING, Anonymous!

    Keep up the awesome work! NEUTRALIZE ALL CORPORATE COCKSUCKERS!

    Reply
  8. DasND
    Oct 03, 2010 - 01:34 PM

    shared!

    Reply
  9. Gareth
    Oct 04, 2010 - 12:35 PM

    I don’t necessarily agree with nor condone the tactics chosen by Anonymous, however I fully understand and support why they are targeting their victims.

    It was refreshing to see that the responses to the questions demonstrated that some thought had gone into why Anonymous was doing what it is doing, rather than just replying, “We’re doing it for shits and giggles and just cause we can”.

    I always thought the 4chan site was for kids and socially inept geeks who should know better. This attack, however, has caused me to reassess my opinion of some of the people who visit the site.

    Reply
  10. John
    Oct 05, 2010 - 08:42 AM

    About freakin time!!!!!!!!!!
    Give those fat cats a taste of their own medicine

    Reply
  11. Anon
    Oct 05, 2010 - 12:25 PM

    Publishing companies. That’s the keyword, “PUBLISHING”.
    What are they publishing exactly when a song is downloaded from the Internet? Nothing.

    Publishing companies were once a necessity to artists because not every artist could record a CD and mass sell it. Companies then sold the CDs at high prices and the artists only got a small percentage of that money.

    So when there is no CD, how are publishing companies stolen of their money? That’s why they hide behind copyright laws.
    But from a moral standpoint, the only party who deserves to be paid even for downloaded songs is the artist.

    So when you download songs, send a dollar or two to the artist (the same amount he would earn if you bought his CD) and screw the copyright laws that make publishing companies victims of imaginary theft. If they don’t publish something, they deserve nothing!
    They are paid for doing nothing! How can that even be possible??

    Also, I really urge artists to publish their music on the Internet and bypass publishers. In the age of the Internet, we don’t need publishers to put on DVD what can be downloaded.
    Same for movies.

    Maybe when we don’t have to pay ridiculous amounts to watch a movie just because it was recorded on a disk piracy will decrease and artists and actors will get more money from their work.

    One final thought:
    In every industry, technological improvements reduce the price of items. Just look at computers.
    So how come when the Internet made it possible to download music, hence removing the costs of recording content on CDs and shipping those CDs to stores, prices did not drop the slightest bit?
    (I realize downloading costs bandwidth, but the price of bandwidth is much lower than making and selling CDs. Not to mention, bandwidth is only used when a song is actually downloaded, while with CDs stores don’t sell them all and thus some money is wasted on the leftover CDs who did not need to be recorded and shipped).

    Downloads are cheaper, more convenient, and more eco-friendly. And the publishers are the victims??
    As long as publishers won’t rethink the media distribution system, I’ll support pirating.

    Reply
  12. Nigg3rd1icks
    Oct 05, 2010 - 04:58 PM

    Fucking anon fags i think the next target should be 4chan.org

    Reply
    • dotdotdot
      Oct 06, 2010 - 12:10 AM

      LOLUMAD?!? I think your name says all we need to know about you. Get a life.

      Reply
    • Waksta
      Oct 06, 2010 - 05:46 AM

      Says a nigger. Lmao!

      Reply
    • Anonymous
      Oct 06, 2010 - 06:33 AM

      You realize, of course, that by simply posting that comment allows your location to be determined quite simply. Not that anyone would take someone with the username”Nigg3rd1cks” seriously.

      Reply
  13. Juan Luis G
    Oct 07, 2010 - 05:02 PM

    Did you know how much its cost a ANTIDDOS protection for a Site?
    check this out in http://www.prolexic.com or try to get prices for Antiddos dedicated firewalls as riorey or intruguard over 35000$ por a single firewall.
    the business behind that its clear for me not only its a message its a business attack a site after bring protection.

    Reply
  14. Opencart Templates
    Oct 08, 2010 - 01:08 AM

    It is time to take action.

    Reply
  15. susu
    Oct 08, 2010 - 07:59 PM

    I am so happy that people started to attack this shits, the hopes are not all losted, this have to happend here and on the streets, the age of the information have to serve us to see and open our eyes to see what they are doing with us, the “free” internet its not free, and the “free” people ofcourse they are not free, or you are living in a tribe in the jungle or the desert or in this fucking world you will never be free.
    I miss the pages with good political documentarys, where you can see just a minimum part of what they are doing to us, but they close it all, in spain we already have microchip in the I.D., the next step is in the skin.

    Reply
  16. Hex
    Oct 12, 2010 - 10:54 PM

    Anon: Joining you right now.
    About f*cking time we fought back against the fascist capitalist money grubbing b*stards of the MPAA, RIAA, and such. They think they can get away with sh*t like this, they can think again.
    I mean, how they like it now? They DDoS us, we DDoS them back. They cost us money, well, think of the financial losses we are causing them.
    In a quick poll I did today, 9 out of 10 University students agreed with the Anon attacks, but only 4 of those 9 said they would engage in them.

    Reply
  17. bckfldr
    Oct 19, 2010 - 02:00 PM

    Fax-Attack is another alternative to anti-DDoS protected systems…

    Reply
  18. Carlos Giménez
    Nov 03, 2010 - 06:21 PM

    I agree with most of the things you say. I´m trying to go to politics in Spain, so there is not a conquer of the web by the same vortix of power as usual. P2p, no dns, IP anonimous if you wish, free downloads and you can pay the author, etc.. Instead of hacking, I´d like to go to politics to fight for the same reasons

    Reply
  19. cyberloro
    Dec 09, 2010 - 03:57 PM

    People sometimes forget what is really happen with the men’s behind the curtain.

    Reply
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