Universal, RIAA, U.S. Department of Justice Websites Attacked in Protest to Megaupload Shutdown

Universal, RIAA, U.S. Department of Justice Websites Attacked in Protest to Megaupload Shutdown
It looks as if the internet may have finally gone crazy. Yesterday (January 18), some of the web's biggest sites temporarily shut down in protest of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S., and then earlier today, file-sharing giant Megaupload was shut down by American prosecutors for allegedly violating piracy laws. Now, the shit has really hit the fan, as the group Anonymous has retaliated against the Megaupload takedown by attacking the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, the RIAA (Recording Industry of America), and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

CNN Money reports that "hacktivist" group Anonymous has been using a "distributed denial of service" attack against these websites, which doesn't actually involve hacking servers. Rather, they direct a massive amount of traffic towards a website and crash it. According to the report, as many as 5,635 people participated in the attack.

Anonymous was quick to take credit for the disturbance. The group tweeted, "WE ARE THE 99% - WE ARE #ANONYMOUS - YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED US! #Megaupload."

A Department of Justice spokeswoman told CNN, "We are having website problems, but we're not sure what it's from."

An RIAA spokesman downplayed the attacks, saying, "The fact that a couple of sites might have been taken down is really ancillary to the significant news today that the Justice Department brought down one of the world's most notorious file-sharing hubs."

According to Brooklyn Vegan, other websites that may be under threat are ChrisDodd.com, Whitehouse.gov, FBI.gov, Vivendi, and more.

So what can we take from the incidents of today? Well, if the history of online piracy has taught us anything, it's this: authorities can continue to shut down file-sharing websites, but that won't stop people from sharing media online.

UPDATE: You can read Anonymous's statement about the attack here.