Anonymous dupes users into joining Metaupload attack
- 21 January, 2012 06:51
The Anonymous hacking group recruited unwitting accomplices in Thursday's attacks against U.S. government sites, a security researcher said today.
The distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks began Thursday just hours after the U.S. Department of Justice announced arrests of four men associated with the popular Megaupload "cyberlocker" site on charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.
Federal authorities shuttered Megaupload.com and other sites, and seized assets belonging to the company, including hundreds of servers. Three of the seven men indicted remain at large, but four were arrested in New Zealand by local authorities and face extradition to the U.S.
Almost immediately, Anonymous retaliated with DDoS attacks against Justice's website, and those operated by Universal Music, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and others. Some of those sites were inaccessible during parts of Thursday.
In a message on Twitter and in a blog post, Anonymous claimed Thursday's DDoS attacks were its largest ever, and said that 5,600 people collaborated in the assaults.
Previously, Anonymous had said that its followers were using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool, a favorite of the group since its first widespread DDoS attacks in December 2010.
But some of the 5,600 who participated may have done so unwittingly, said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with U.K.-based antivirus vendor Sophos.
Many of those messages said nothing about LOIC or that clicking the link shanghaied the user into the DDoS attack, Cluley said, noting several Twitter messages as examples.
In an email reply to questions today, Cluley said that while the links were launching LOIC against more than one website, "It's clear that justice.gov is getting a lot of attention."
The Department of Justice's website was operating normally early Friday.
Anonymous is still recruiting people to its campaign. A quick search of Twitter using a string published on Gawker.com indicated that the link was being shared Friday morning at the rate of about 10 to 18 times per minute on the micro-blogging site.
On a Sophos blog , Cluley reminded readers that DDoS attacks were illegal, and cautioned users to be wary of clicking links.
"Anonymous might be hoping that participants could argue that they did not knowingly assist in the DDoS attack, and clicked on the link in innocence without realizing what it would do," said Cluley.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Read more about cybercrime and hacking in Computerworld's Cybercrime and Hacking Topic Center.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
- Feds charge 7 in 'massive' case against Megaupload online piracy ring - Computerworld
- Anonymous retaliates for Megaupload shutdown, attacks DOJ, others - Computerworld
- Pro-WikiLeaks cyber army gains strength; thousands join DDoS attacks - Computerworld
- The Evil New Tactic Behind Anonymous' Massive Megaupload Revenge Attack
- Click on an Anonymous link, and you could be DDoS’ing the US government : Naked Security
- Gregg Keizer - Google+
- Computerworld Gregg Keizer News
- Articles by Gregg Keizer - Computerworld
- Cybercrime and Hacking Topic Center - Computerworld
Updated: Bill Morrow new head of NBN Co
Cloud debate now about speed and sophistication
Cloud debate now about speed and sophistication
Yahoo Mail still down for some users, after an attempted fix
Queensland government to provide 200 services online by 2015
Casestudy: Managing an Antivirus Service and Improve the Customer Experience
Anittel Group has provided managed technology and connectivity services to organisations for more than 15 years, expanding to become one of the world’s largest full-service, IT and telecommunications companies. Previously, Anittel deployed an in-built antivirus solution as part of its managed service offering, which addressed a number of its customers’ needs, except for individual malware infections, which occurred as often as a several times a week. In this case study, find out what they did to solve this problem.
Best Practice in BYOD
The key trend affecting enterprise mobility today can be summarized in four letters: BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. As the number of end-users bringing devices into your organization grows, so does the need for an effective Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution. Learn how to manage devices across multiple platforms all from a single, centralised and unified management console. Download for more!
Case Study: Sustainability Value in a Virtual World
Over time we have learnt that teleconferencing services have made organisations work faster, more focused and environmentally responsible. In this case study, we look at the travel costs that are avoided, the more effective decision-making capacity that is unlocked and the better work-life balance that is afforded to employees. Click to download!