September 20, 2010

Piracy Activists Make Opinion Known Through Cyber Attacks

Piracy activists have targeted websites owned by the music and film industry to perform coordinated attacks.

The Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) were temporarily knocked offline because of the assault.

The attacks were reportedly in retaliation for anti-piracy efforts against file-sharing websites. 

The activists group has declared on message-board 4chan that it will continue to target other sites.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is next in their sights.  The assault was said to take place on Monday.

The retaliation, known as "Operation Payback," is said to be revenge for the MPAA and RIAA's action against file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.

A statement by Indian software firm Aiplex was reportedly the reason for the attacks, which told the Sydney Morning Herald that it used cyber attacks on sites hosting pirated movies on behalf of the film industry.

The firm said it used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which is when a website is bombarded with requests for pages, effectively taking it offline.

The group of activists used the same method to take Aiplex and the other organizations offline as well.

"We brought them down the same way they brought down The Pirate Bay, with a distributed denial of service," the group said in message posted on the web.

"They hired aiplex.com, who has been taken care of as well. They struck first, we struck harder."

The group has advised its members to download software and help flood servers and use botnets to flood the websites.

BBC News confirmed the action taken on Aiplex through a spokesperson.

"Our site was under attack for some time," he told BBC, adding its site had been taken offline for "about a day and half" over the weekend.

The MPAA also confirmed the attack with BBC and said it had "taken measures" to mitigate the effects.

All the sites that felt the blow of the attackers are now live again, but a message posted on the web suggests that BPI will be the next target for the group.

Sean-Paul Correll of Panda Security described the action to BBC as "the future of cyber protests".

"How do you stop the collective man power of an entire internet community? You can seize equipment, hunt down the originators of the attack, but this is a group who has prided themselves in remaining anonymous, and have done so very well through the power of the Internet."

A similar group temporarily blocked access to key Australian government websites plans in a protest against plans to introduce net filters in the country.


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