There is no doubt that, one day, this week will be the climax in a major motion picture about the United States government attempting to regulate the internet’s wild west. On Thursday, one day after Wikipedia, Reddit, and a number of other sites blacked themselves out in protest of SOPA and PIPA, file-sharing site MegaUpload was found guilty of breaking piracy laws and shut down. Obsessive movie and mp3 hoarders everywhere will be mourning.
NPR filled in more of the details in a pstory that reads more like a hacker crime novel than real life.
…today in Virginia a grand jury unsealed a 72-page indictment against defendants including Megaupload Limited and individuals including the company’s founder, Kim Dotcom, as members of “the ‘Mega Conspiracy,’ a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale with estimated harm to copyright holders well in excess of $500 million and reported income of $175 million.”
Meanwhile, hacker group Anonymous launched a revenge campaign last night, shutting down (temporarily), The Department of Justice, MPAA and Universal Music websites. Gawker and Gizmodo explain how Anonymous is doing it, using an internet weapon developed by “4Chan-affiliated hackers,” called a Low Orbit Ion Cannon, a.k.a LOIC. The basic idea is that regular non-hackers can participate in the revenge attack just by clicking on a link. This launches something called a “Distributed Denial of Service” (DDoS) attack on a certain site, which functions as it sounds—if enough computer systems are barraging a website with requests, it’ll eventually shut down and deny access. The key is that many people have to be DDoS-ing a site at once, so it reaches a tipping point and becomes overwhelmed. The LOIC makes that possible.
Rapidshare and Sendspace remain untouched, and for now, Spotify’s still a legal way to get a music fix. In fact, our own Lauren Beck has developed a helpful guide for the Spotify neophyte on which users and playlists to follow. Check it out here.
You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone