When it comes to taking direct action against groups engaging or promoting anti-piracy action it’s certainly been an eventful few weeks for the hordes of Anonymous.
Operation Payback began during the third week of September with DDoS assaults against the MPAA, RIAA and anti-piracy company AiPlex Software. Those attacks were later replicated against lawfirms engaging in ‘pay-up-or-else’ schemes.
While the DDoS attacks have been largely effective – most notably against the Ministry of Sound and the knock-on effects of the email leak at ACS:Law – they came so quickly that after a while most of the press found it hard to keep up, perhaps a little jaded by their frequency.
Today, however, the group – which does have some ringleaders and decision makers – have taken a slightly different track to further their protests. While earlier action has consisted largely of overwhelming force to swamp websites with traffic, their latest effort is a little more delicate.
CopyProtected.com is a site owned by the MPAA and was set up to promote DRM on DVD and Blu-ray discs. It is hosted on a server containing a large number of other MPAA-linked sites and until a few hours ago looked like this:
It now looks like this:
“Site got haxed,” one of the Anonymous ring-leaders told TorrentFreak in an email. Indeed, instead of its pages promoting the ‘Copy Protection Awareness Icon’, it now displays a message from those behind Operation Payback. The page long missive accompanying the now-familiar logo seen above concludes:
“What must the people do to be heard? To what lengths must they go to have their pleads taken seriously? Must they to take to the streets with noose and handgun before those in power take notice?
“You are forcing our hand by ignoring the voice of the people. In doing so, you bring the destruction of your iron grip of information ever closer. You have ignored the people, attacked the people and lied to the people. For this, you will be held accountable before the people, and you will be punished by them.”
Adding insult to injury, just a few seconds after the page loads it redirects visitors to the homepage of The Pirate Bay.
Earlier this week a new DDoS attack was launched against KISS frontman Gene Simmons in response to some of his recent anti-filesharing comments. Interestingly, this attack caused some dispute within Anonymous, with the main group distancing themselves from the assault with a declaration that artists should not become a target, regardless of their opinions.
While an anarchic structure is desirable for these attacks to work, clearly the lack of a distinct hierarchy can sometimes have its drawbacks and that was illustrated perfectly here. No one can control all of the people, all of the time, and that seems to apply to pirates and anti-pirates alike.
No one seems to know when Operation Payback will end, but it seems certain that in order to keep capturing the imaginations of the mainstream media and those they wish to influence, a certain creativity may be required. Judging by the ‘chatter’ in the IRC channel, they may provide just that.
Update: The MPAA took notice and redirected the hacked site to the MPAA homepage.