Agents from the FBI and New Zealand police arrested the flamboyant majority owner of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom (no, really). Dotcom,who legally changed his last name from Schmitz, is a German national residing near Auckland. Police served an arrest warrant alleging that the corpulent corporate executive engaged in flagrant violation of international copyright law, costing the entertainment industry billions of dollars annually.
The arrest resembled a scene from a 1960’s James Bond movie. Dozens of agents and police officers swarmed the compound while Dotcom fled behind a series of electronically activated security doors leading to an armored safe room. After spending a considerable amount of time cutting through the security doors, authorities confronted Kim Dotcom who was holding a loaded shotgun. No one was injured in the arrest. Two illegal firearms were confiscated.
In retaliation, the self-described “hacktivist” organization Anonymous attempted an ambitious Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the U.S. Department of Justice web servers. Many of those computers engaged in the attack were doing so without the knowledge of their owners. More than 5,600 computers were involved. Anonymous hackers left a trail of links on Twitter and other social networking sites. When clicked, an Internet tool called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) activated.
Scratching your head? OK, this is what happened. Hackers from Anonymous inserted innocuous-looking links in Twitter pages that actually linked to LOIC. This tool was programmed to send a stream of junk data requests to the DOJ computers. A single computer doing this will be ignored and the normal legitimate traffic will get through.
However, a Distributed Denial of Service attack enables thousands of computers to send junk data requests to the same server at the same time, completely disabling the web site. So long as the server is flooded with this malicious stream of data requests, it is inoperable (according to plan). The DOJ responded with their own software to identify the IP address of the attacking computers so they can be ignored.
Besides the DOJ, many entertainment industry servers were attacked such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Universal Music.
Cyberpunks such as Anonymous are more than an annoyance, they are dangerous. Anonymous hackers recently hacked the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, downloaded and published the names, addresses, and credit card information of BART transit police officers and other employees. Anonymous was protesting both the BART officer-involved shooting of Charles Hill on July 3, 2011 and the transit authority’s decision to silence underground cell phone service to squelch a planned protest.
Anarchists are not lovable. They are not useful. Anarchists share many characteristics of Kim Dotcom. Their outlook is essentially hedonistic. They, by nature, defy any type of authority that would stand between the population and mass bedlam. There are no hospitals, charities, or universities named after them. There are, however, many prison cots waiting for them.
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