In recent weeks dozens of anti-piracy groups, copyright lawyers and pro-copyright outfits have been targeted by a group of Internet ‘vigilantes’ under the flag of Operation Payback.
The operation began during the third week of September with DDoS assaults against the MPAA, RIAA and anti-piracy company AiPlex Software. The latter was chosen as the first target because the outfit openly admitted to DDoSing several torrent sites including The Pirate Bay.
Those DDoS attacks were later replicated against lawfirms engaging in ‘pay-up-or-else’ schemes, which indirectly led to the email leak at ACS:Law. After that followed many more targets, most of which we didn’t cover here. Earlier this week, the MPAA was shamed again by Anonymous when their DRM website got hacked.
Yesterday, another high profile attack was launched, aimed to take down a website belonging to a government body this time. The people involved in Operation Payback had selected the UK’s Intellectual Property Office as their victim and announced that the DDoS would start at 5PM GMT. And so it happened.
At the time of writing, 18 hours into the DDoS, ipo.gov.uk is still unresponsive.
Target: Intellectual Property Office
The Intellectual Property Office is “Perpetuating the system that is allowing the exploitative usage of copyright and intellectual property” according to the Anonymous DDoSers, who opened up a new can of targets with this attack.
As a Government body the UK Intellectual Property Office has been heavily involved in copyright issues and prospective laws. Earlier this year the Office spoke out against criminalizing illicit file-sharing as proposed in the ACTA treaty.
Instead of creating new laws to combat online piracy, it said the focus should be on providing “a framework to better enforce existing laws.”
Targeting government offices is certainly a step up for Anonymous. Time will tell what they dream up next but this one will probably turn a few heads.