The FBI hit “cyberlocker” site Megaupload yesterday, seizing domain names, $50 million in assets, and arresting four people in New Zealand. Anonymous struck back today with massive DDoS attacks, taking down the Deparment of Justice, MPAA, and Universal music websites, among others.
The feds allege that Megaupload and its owners knowingly abetted copyright infringement and were involved in racketeering. The full indictment is available here.
Megaupload lets people share files online, much like Dropbox does. While there are many legitimate uses, the FBI found huge troves of copyright-infringing content, all of which the site’s owners knew but did nothing about.
In retaliation for the arrest, Anonymous launched Operation Megaupload, what’s shaping up to be the biggest attack the hackers collective has launched yet.
According to Gawker, Anonymous is changing tactics for Operation Megaupload. Where before member of the botnet (a network of computers used to take down websites) were voluntary, Anonymous is now using a phishing scam to enlist unknowing web surfers in the onslaught.
They’re doing so by sending sharing a link on sites like Facebook and Twitter. When someone clicks on the link, they unknowingly commit their computer to the illegal DDoS attack.
Ars Technica reported that the employees arrested in New Zealand were seized along with $50 million in assets: 14 Mercedes-Benzes with license plates such as “POLICE,” “MAFIA,” “V,” “STONED,” “CEO,” “HACKER,” GOOD,” “EVIL,” and “GUILTY; a 2010 Maserati; a 2008 Rolls-Royce; and a 1989 Lamborghini; Three Samsung 83″ TVs, and two Sharp 108″ TVs; a “Predator statue;” Motor bikes, jet skis, artwork, and 60 Dell servers.”
In addition, Ars reported that the arrest involved international cooperation between the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Canada, and the Phillipines.
ABC News reported a few hours ago that Megaupload is attempting to stay online despite the indictment by bouncing from server to server, comparing it to the whack-a-mole arcade game.
Meanwhile, the site’s legitimate users–numbering in the hundreds of thousands–have begun to cry out to the FBI to return their files, many of which were used for personal and work matters.