File sharing service Megaupload was raided by the FBI, leading to more than 20 warrants being executed and seven arrests worldwide. The clandestine group of “hacktivists” known only as Anonymous took little time to respond. The term hacktivists is a new word entering the internet vernacular referring to computer hackers that use their skills to hack into sites as a form of protest. In response to the federal raids of Megaupload, Anonymous launched a huge assault on prominent government websites, as well as some primary mover and shakers in the entertainment industry.
The U.S. Department of Justice website was rendered useless in minutes by the expert hacking of Anonymous. This was followed by the Universal Music Group. The U.S. Copyright Office, Warner Music, BMI, and the RIAA websites proved to be more of a challenge, but all eventually succumbed to the hack attack. At 6:40 P.M. Central Standard Time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s flagship site, fbi.gov, fell as well, completing the attack. So far, WhiteHouse.gov has managed to thwart hacking attempts, but it is only a matter of time before it falls as well.
Inside sources of Anonymous have said that attacks such as this will be more common, especially in the wake of the attempts to pass the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act.