Friday, January 20, 2012

Department of Justice shuts down MegaUpload, hackers shut down DOJ website

SAN DIEGO (Washington Post) - The Department of Justice has conducted an action to shut down MegaUpload. On Thursday,  four people were arrested and more than 20 search warrants were executed in the U.S. and eight foreign countries, seizing 18 domain names and $175 million in assets. Government authorities seized 15 Mercedes-Benzes, a Lamborghini, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a 2010 Maserati GranCario and other exotic vehicles registered to Megaupload’s chief marketing officer, Finn Batato. Some of the vehicles had vanity license plates such as “GOD,” “HACKER,” “STONED,” “MAFIA” and “GUILTY.”

It appears that President Obama and his Department of Justice are trying to appeal to both sides of the piracy debate simultaneously. On one hand, the Obama Administration has issued a public statement opposing both SOPA and PIPA in their current form. On the other hand, the Department of Justice showed readiness to pursue one of the “largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States,” according to DOJ and FBI.

In response, the hacker group Anonymous shut down the Department of Justice website. The group used a so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) method. This is when a lot of people simultaneously flood the server with useless requests, causing it to overload. After the news of the attack on a high-profile website become public, a lot of Internet users unintentionally help the attackers by going to the website to see if it really is down, thus causing further overload.