New targets for Operation Payback DDoS

Internet users are preparing to up the stakes for the next assault against anti-pirate organisations after crippling the web site of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) yesterday.
Written by Darren Pauli, Contributor

Internet users are preparing to up the stakes for the next assault against anti-pirate organisations after crippling the website of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) yesterday.

Users on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) discussions and 4chan are nominating new victims for its distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) under a campaign dubbed "Operation Payback", which will target new systems including corporate email servers of anti-pirate organisations.

An Operation Payback flier

(Credit:Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia)

Bittorrent monitoring service NG3Sys is one target nominated for attack, for its role in assisting British law firm ACS:Law that targeted UK users who downloaded copyright porn content using peer-to-peer (P2P) tracking tool dubbed xTrack.

ACS:Law was itself attacked and its secret database of porn downloaders and a list of Sky broadband customers were leaked to websites including the Pirate Bay, triggering an investigation by the UK Government.

Europe-based P2P tracking company and ACS:Law partner DigiProtect is also in 4chan's targets, along with US-based Peer Media Technologies — a product of the merger between MediaDefender and MediaSentry — and French company Trident Media Guard.

Users have also created a new website to corral users and list details of the operation, as well as several fliers aimed at promoting the campaign. One flier is aimed at convincing students to not abide warnings of anti-pirate groups, urging readers to "download as a civil disobedience".

A flier targeting students

(Credit:Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia)

In an open letter last week, Anonymous listed six organisations that were subsequently hit with coordinated DDoS attacks. It includes the AFACT, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Stichting Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland and the British Phonographic Industry.

The AFACT fights piracy in Australia on behalf of movie and television studios and is the sixth anti-pirate organisation group to be attacked under the campaign.

Indian organisation AiPlex Software was also attacked after it was claimed that the company had conducted DDoS attacks against pirate websites. The company denied the allegations.

"Come and fight! We need high skilled people to provide weapons as well as low skilled people to use them massively! [sic] The internet will not be corrupted be those companies," one user posted on the /b/ Random 4chan board prior to the AFACT hack.

"We will prevent users to access said enemy sites and we will keep them down for as long as we can ... Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people's rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to share with one another," Anonymous wrote in a press release.

The attacks hit the AFACT three and a half hours after the planned start time, crippling its website at 8am.

The site's web host, Netregistry, reported the attack contained 60,000 active HTTP connections, mainly sourced from Chile and Columbia, and about 100Mbps of additional bandwidth transferred from the cluster where the site was located.

The Operation Payback website

(Credit:Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia)

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