Following a surprise announcement by the U.S. Justice Department that it had wiped illicit cyberlocker Megaupload off the Internet map on Thursday, Anonymous struck back. Members of the faceless hacker group hit a major record label site and even the FBI’s homepage with a distributed denial-of-service attack courtesy of the infamous Low-Orbit Ion Cannon.
Announcing each victim at its AnonOps Twitter feed along with the military parlance “tango down,” Anonymous disrupted websites belonging to the FBI, DOJ and Universal Music within hours of Megaupload’s closure. Since that time, FBI.gov has come back online.
“The largest attack ever by Anonymous – 5,635 people confirmed using LOIC to bring down sites,” tweeted YourAnonNews, a tumblr devoted to the group.
In light of its compromised outlet, the DOJ also took to Twitter to release a brief statement explaining the site outage:
The DOJ web server is experiencing a significant increase in activity, resulting in a degradation in service. The department is working to ensure the website is available while we investigate the origins of this activity, which is being treated as a malicious act until we can fully identify the root cause of the disruption.
Prior to the attack, the DOJ announced that it had seized Megaupload.com and its sister sites for copyright infringement. Founder Kim Schmitz (AKA Kim Dotcom) was reportedly taken into custody in New Zealand. The eccentric multimillionaire had purchased a mansion there two years ago. Three other men – Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk – were also detained for their alleged roles in the multinational operation.
The full indictment can be read here.
Not targeted (yet anyway) was the Motion Picture Association of America. Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd applauded the U.S. Justice Department’s actions in a press statement (.pdf).
“By all estimates, Megaupload.com is the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world,” said Dodd. “This criminal case, more than two years in development, shows that law enforcement can take strong action to protect American intellectual property stolen through sites housed in the United States.”
Dodd said that Megaupload and its companion sites have earned over $175 million while costing copyright holders $500 million.
As for what’s next on Anonymous’ agenda, the group said only this: “Get some popcorn…it’s going to be a long lulzy night.”