After all-out assaults on the web presences of the MPAA, RIAA and later the BPI, last night a new company was targeted in a new 4chan DDoS attack. Anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law, one of the most despised and complained about law firms in Britain, had their website taken offline last night and it remains down “Account Suspended” this morning. TorrentFreak has spoken to one of the key figures in Operation Payback for the lowdown.
Sick and tired of the anti-piracy actions of large corporate entities, this weekend saw the angry hordes of 4chan coordinate DDoS attacks against the websites of both the MPAA and RIAA generating dozens of news stories and worldwide attention.
Although the international music and movie industries were targeted over the weekend, the attacks initially began on Friday against anti-piracy company AiPlex Software, who had earlier bragged about carrying out DDoS attacks against torrent sites. Ironically, their site proved very easy to take down.
Although a third assault against the UK’s BPI was unsuccessful (more on that later), last night another wave of attacks were launched. Anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law, who send out tens of thousands of letters demanding cash-settlements from often innocent Internet subscribers, became the new target.
ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley has already been referred three times to lawyers regulation authorities in the UK for his behavior and his company is the most complained-about law firm in their field. Widely despised for the work they do and the manner in which they carry it out, it comes as no surprise that they became a target in “Operation Payback”.
The ACS:Law website was easily taken down last night and remains down today displaying “Account Suspended”.
TorrentFreak spoke with one of the administrators of the IRC channel where Operation Payback is being coordinated to find out more about this and earlier attacks.
“[the IRC channel] is where the entire attack is coordinated – including the pastehtml page. When the time came to DDoS mpaa.org, we had a higher number of troops in our IRC channel than ever before (700 people). Despite this, mpaa.org remained online – of course, because of their DDoS protection,” he explained.
TorrentFreak was told that the choice to launch against ACS:Law last night came as the result of a vote among the operation’s admins.
“After announcing that this was our new target,” the admin explained, “the website went down instantly.”
So while the attacks are being attributed to 4chan users, is ‘Anonymous’ really to blame? We were told that they are.
“The vast majority of our users are recruited from 4chan, and all of the targets are posted on 4chan with their corresponding posters,” TorrentFreak was told. “Once an operation of this scale has been established, the central base of operation is never usually 4chan – it’s usually a chatroom, and commands from the chatroom are echoed back to 4chan.”
“The same thing applied with project Chanology and project Titstorm (where they took down the websites of the Australian government). I was there, in both, and have contacts with the organisers.”
Interestingly we were told that not everything has run smoothly in Operation Payback.
Although an assault against the UK’s BPI managed to slow their servers, it failed to take down the site. The lack of manpower to successfully carry out the assault was due to the IRC channel used to coordinate the assault being hacked, depriving the group of their central grounds for communication. This hacking wasn’t an isolated event either. So far, three of the group’s IRC servers have been hacked.
So where will this all end? The administrator told us that he simply doesn’t know.
Update: Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law has been speaking about the DDoS attack on his site. While noting that his site is now fully operational, he described the 4chan action as “typical rubbish from pirates”.
Update 2: Crossley’s site is back down again. Taunting 4chan is not a very smart idea at all. This could get messy.
Update 3:Site is crawling and barely up – but for how long?
Update 4: 3pm UK time and ACS’s site has been suspended again by their host.
ACS:Law/Operation Payback poster here.