Georgia WilkinsJanuary 20, 2012 - 1:06PM
FBI and music publishers' sites.
The war on piracy in the United States has ramped up, with hacker group Anonymous claiming responsibility for an attack that crippled the FBI and US Department of Justice websites and targeted film and music companies.
Twitter accounts claiming to represent the hacktivist group announced this morning that it had taken down Justice.org, the department's website, as well as sites for Universal Music, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America.
The FBI's site was also brought down, going to a near-blank page with the message that the site could not be reached.
The group claim the attacks are in retaliation for the government shutting down the fire-sharing website Megaupload.com.
Anonymous ... a picture the group commonly uses.
Megaupload.com was shut down earlier today after charges were laid against seven individuals from Megaupload and Vestor. Four of the defendants were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand.
The charges relate to criminal copyright.
About an hour after the indictments were unsealed, the public websites went down.
"WE ARE THE 99% - WE ARE #ANONYMOUS - YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED US," said @AnonOps, a Twitter account managed by presumed Anonymous members.
Twitter is currently bombarded with hashtags relating to the attack, including The Internet Strikes Back.
Anonymous later stepped up the attack by publishing personal details the author claimed to be of MPPA's chief executive officer and former US senator Chris Dodd's family, including children's names and ages, property addresses and value, onto pastebin.com. Pastebin is regularly used by hackers to post details of their exploits.
The Megaupload indictment was filed as the US Congress considers anti-piracy legislation supported by the movie and music industries that has prompted a backlash from internet companies including Google and Wikipedia.
On Wednesday, Wikipedia shut down its English pages in protest against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), saying they would promote online censorship, disrupt the web's architecture and harm their ability to innovate.
The publisher was joined by other internet players including Google, and a chorus of opinion pieces and articles decrying the bills.
Then yesterday, the father of the world wide web, computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee called for action against SOPA saying it violates human rights.