US government, music industry websites taken offline in web attack

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The day after several major websites staged a mass blackout over proposed United States anti piracy legislation, namely the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) proposals, members of online activist group Anonymous have knocked US Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI), Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) and Universal Music (UMG)'s websites offline in apparently coordinated web attacks. Several other websites such as BMI.com were also taken offline.

At about 4:15 p.m. EST both www.justice.gov, www.fbi.gov, and www.universalmusic.com went offline. Shortly after 5:00 p.m. the RIAA's website also went dark. At the time of this report, all three websites are still offline. Just after 6:00 p.m., Universal Music Group shut down their website for "maintenance." In postings to Twitter, members of Anonymous claim responsibility, saying the attacks are a response to the FBI's seizure and shutdown of file-sharing website Megaupload, and in protest against the American anti-piracy laws. The group calls this "the largest attack ever by Anonymous" with over 5,600 people participating in the attack.

"The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites. Expect us," stated a message from 'YourAnonNews' on Twitter. Another member of Anonymous told RT News that there are more attacks to come.

Megaupload was a file-sharing website boasting over 50 million visits per day. On Thursday the FBI seized and shutdown the website, arresting its founder and three other people. A total of seven people connected to the website were arrested and indicted on charges that include copyright infringement, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Authorities say Megaupload allowed individuals to download movies "often before their theatrical release, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale." They also claim the website was costing entertainment industry copyright-holders "well in excess of US$500 million" in damages.


Related news

"Wikipedia, Reddit in 'blackout' against SOPA, PROTECT IP laws" — Wikinews, January 17, 2012

Sources

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