Hackers Target DoJ, FBI Websites

Anonymous Angered over Arrests of Megaupload.com Leaders
Hackers Target DoJ, FBI Websites
The hacker group Anonymous claims it's responsible for denial-of-service attacks on U.S. Justice Department websites after federal authorities on Thursday shut down the file-sharing website Megaupload.com and arrested some of its leaders.

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Anonymous, in a posting on Pastebin, said: "We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites."

The government could have been better prepared to defend the Justice sites (see Are Anti-Piracy Laws Really Needed?), says

Allan Friedman, research director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Washington think tank Brookings.

"Large organizations should have the capacity to withstand a reasonably sophisticated denial of service attack," he says. "The solution to a denial-of-service attack is to throw bandwidth at it. This isn't cheap. ... It requires a little bit of preparation; it requires having a flexible IT staff and then a watch officer situation. But this is the sort of thing that you would expect for the nation's top law enforcement agency."

Besides the Justice Department's main website, Justice.gov, and its FBI.gov and USDOJ.gov sites, the hackers also claimed they attacked BMI.com (music licensing), Copyright.gov, Hadopi.fr (French copyright law), MPAA.org (motion picture industry), RIAA.org (recording industry), and WMG.com (Warner Music). As of midday Friday EST, only Hadopi.fr remained shuttered.

Anonymous also posted the personal information of former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, and his wife and children, including their ages, religion, education and home addresses. MPPA is the chief lobbying arm of Hollywood studios, which have been chief proponents of anti-piracy legislation before Congress.

The Megaupload.com Case

The Justice Department Thursday issued a statement on the indictment against the website. Seven individuals and two corporations have been charged in the United States with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works through Megaupload.com.

The criminal enterprise generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and is causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners, the DoJ and FBI said.

Authorities charged Megaupload Ltd. and Vestor Ltd. with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement, the release says.

The indictment alleges the enterprise is run by Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, of Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom founded Megaupload and is the director and sole shareholder of Vestor.

Authorities also charged Chief Marketing Officer Finn Batato, 38, of Germany; graphic designer Julius Bencko, 35, of Slovakia; business development chief Sven Echternach, 39, of Germany; Chief Technical Officer Mathias Ortmann, 40, of Germany, who also is a co-founder and director; head of software development Andrus Nomm, 32,of Estonia; and Bram van der Kolk, 29, of the Netherlands, who oversees programming and the underlying network structure.

The indictment alleges that the conspirators failed to terminate accounts of users with known copyright infringement, deliberately misrepresented facts to copyright holders that they had removed infringing content and laundered money by paying users through the sites' uploader reward program and paying companies to host the infringing content.

The defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering and five years for each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.

About the Author

Jeffrey Roman

Jeffrey Roman

News Writer, ISMG

Roman is the former News Writer for Information Security Media Group. Having worked for multiple publications at The College of New Jersey, including the College's newspaper "The Signal" and alumni magazine, Roman has experience in journalism, copy editing and communications.

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