c SCENARIO 6–3: Anonymous and the “Operation Payback” Attack

In January 2012, a self-described hacktivist group called Anonymous launched a series of DDoS attacks against commercial and government Web sites, in response to two different incidents. For one thing, the group stated that its attack, called “Operation Payback,” was in retaliation against the (U.S.) Department of Justice for taking down Megaupload, a massive file-sharing site. For another, Anonymous stated that it was supporting the coordinated January 18 online protest against two controversial legislative proposals in the U.S. Congress: PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). While most of the participants in this online protest, including Wikipedia and Google, used tactics that were nondisruptive, Anonymous launched DDoS attacks against the Web sites of organizationsthatsupportedthetwocongressionalbills.Thesitesattackedincludednotonlyatthe RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) sites but also at the sites for the U.S. Copyright Office and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), whichcollectsfeesfrombusinessthatusemusic.(TheonlineprotestinvolvingSOPAandPIPA,as well as the controversial aspects of these two legislative proposals that sparked this protest, are described in detail in Chapter 8.)

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