4chan takes down RIAA, MPAA sites

Upset over antipiracy crackdowns against file-sharing sites, users of the Web image board launched DDoS attacks against movie and recording industry sites.

Lance Whitney
Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
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Members of image board and Internet forum 4chan over the weekend launched a series of DDoS attacks against Web sites for the two biggest media trade groups.

Accused in the past of drumming up raids against Twitter, YouTube, and other popular sites, users at 4chan urged fellow members to carry out DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks against the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) late last week, taking both offline on Saturday.

The actions by 4chan users were launched in retaliation against similar DDoS attacks aimed at The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing sites, according to Panda Security.

An Indian firm called Aiplex Software recently revealed that it had been tapped by the MPAA to go after sites like The Pirate Bay for illegally sharing copyrighted movies. Aiplex Software's managing director Girish Kuman reportedly boasted in an interview last week with the Sydney Morning Herald that his company was specifically hired to launch cyberattacks against sites that fail to respond to copyright infringement notices sent by the MPAA.

Both the MPAA and Aiplex Software confirmed to the BBC News that they had been hit by the attacks, but that both sites were back online by Monday. Besides targeting the two industry groups, the attacks also hit Aiplex's Web site on Saturday, according to security firm Sophos.

The DDoS attacks, which overwhelm a Web site with requests, resulted in 37 service interruptions and 1 hour and 37 minutes of downtime for the MPAA, and 24 separate down-times for the RIAA by Sunday, according to Panda Security. 4chan users also tried to "Google bomb" the phrase "ROBERT PISANO MPAA CEO ARRESTED FOR CHILD MOLESTATION!," added Panda.

Following the weekend assault on the MPAA and RIAA sites, 4chan users turned their focus to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) with another DDoS attack that occurred at 4 p.m. GMT on Monday. Though BPI reportedly was down for short periods of time, said Sophos, the site seemed to have prepared for the attacks.