It takes extraordinary circumstances to unite Hollywood filmmakers, one of rock’s most outlandish stars and a porn company. But when you’re facing off against 4chan, any ally is a good one.
4chan, for the unfamiliar, is the Internet’s most infamous message and image board. And its denizens are the online equivalent of Beetlejuice. Mutter their name and they’ll appear, but you may not like the results.
The users, who collectively call themselves “anonymous,” are public enemy number one of the entertainment industry, which accuses the vast majority of them of piracy and lending support to the groups that host pirated content online. As the rhetoric has increased in recent months, though, the entertainment industry has learned that poking the hornet’s nest can be painful.
Vigilante users of the site have taken it upon themselves recently to launch a flurry of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on a number of Websites with ties to all corners of the entertainment industry.
The attacks started in late September, targeting the Motion Picture Association of America(MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Anonymous attackers, using software known as “Low Orbit Ion Cannons,” repeatedly pinged the servers of both Web sites. When done simultaneously by enough users, this can bring the site down – usually quickly and without warning.
The anarchists call it “Operation Payback” and say they’re launching these attacks in retaliation for efforts by anti-piracy crusaders to shut down file-sharing sites, such as “The Pirate Bay.”