Anonymous Attacks the RIAA

Disclaimer: I don’t support or partake in any of Anonymous’ protests.

Anonymous fascinates me. It’s amazing that a loosely connected group of internet users can suddenly band together and launch a coordinated protest.

Today Anonymous declared war on the RIAA and MPAA, after learning that the MPAA had launched its own DDoS attack on everyone’s favorite torrent site The Pirate Bay. Anonymous launched Operation Payback is a Bitch, a coordinated DDoS attack on has been down for the past 3 hours.

I was curious, so I joined the IRC channel where the attack is being coordinated. Here’s what I learned:

The attack is surprisingly well coordinated. There are 3-5 key coordinators who are telling the other 150+ people in the IRC channel what targets to hit and how to use LOIC. Right now the main target is the RIAA, but there’s a countdown until the next target will be announced (probably BPI, the British version of the MPAA). In terms of publicity, there was a press release of sorts (see below, it even has a logo) and the group even has its own Twitter account. Pretty savvy.

4chan is distancing itself from Anonymous. m00t, the owner of 4chan, has disabled all posting to 4chan so that it can’t be used to coordinate the attack. Interestingly, most of the people in the IRC channel are sympathetic to m00t and understand that he doesn’t want to take the fall for the attacks — “I’m sure he’d probably be behind this – but he is a likely target for retaliation whereas we are anon.”

Some members of Anonymous seem interested in protesting social issues. The media often portrays Anonymous as juvenile delinquents causing mayhem just for kicks, but I saw some discussion indicating otherwise. One person piped up suggesting a DDoS attack against Senator Frank Lautenberg in protest of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and in support of gays in the military. Another person suggested Anonymous take on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement because ideas should be free.

When people talk of the great day that the RIAA servers were down, when people spin tales of the brave souls who fought for freedom, they are talking about us, We are the holders of our future and rebels that inspire change in a system corrupt and inconsiderate, we are the freedoms we fight for incarnate, resistance is everything, defeat is impossible!

An Open Letter from Anonymous


#1 Bill on 09.19.10 at 11:57 pm

Wired has a pretty good write-up of the inner tension between Anon’s who believe that attacks should all be about the Lulz and those who are performing them in the name of social justice and righteousness. I don’t have an opinon either way, but the sooner that m00t actually closes 4chan and gets on with his new startup, the sooner Anon will have a chance to purge years of unwanted associations with /b/ and re-invent themselves.

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