Continuing its campaign against the defenders of copyright law, Anonymous orchestrated a denial-of-service attack against the website of the U.S. Copyright Office today, knocking the site offline for half an hour and rendering it slow to unusable for a couple of subsequent hours. (At the time of publishing, the home page is up, but none of the links on the site are operational.)
For the past month, Operation Payback, spearheaded by Anonymous, has targeted organizations like the RIAA, the MPAA, the UK Copyright Office, as well as KISS bassist Gene Simmons with DDoS attacks – either crashing their sites completely, grinding them to an unbearable halt, or in some cases, putting redirects in place so that visitors end up instead at the popular BitTorrent Pirate Bay website.
DDoS Attacks as Political Activism?
Anonymous sees itself as the defenders of the Internet, using the denial-of-service techniques as a sort of 21st century form of non-violent civil disobedience. Not a formal political group or organization, Anonymous is rather a loose coalition of individuals who see the crackdowns against file-sharing, done in the name of copyright protection, as contrary to the very freedom of the Internet.
TorrentFreak, reporting on today’s attack against the U.S. Copyright Office, points to offline demonstrations being planned for November 5, Guy Fawkes Day. But it’s not the sixteenth century Catholic rebel that tried to blow up Parliament that’s being honored here. Rather it’s a nod to the Alan Moore comic V for Vendetta, in which the revolutionary V (not just a munitions expert, but a hacker) takes on the totalitarian government.
The frequency with which Anonymous is staging its online protests seems to show no signs of abating, and so look for fireworks on Friday, the 5th of November.