They said the attack is in retaliation for the FBI shutting down popular file-sharing website Megaupload.com and charging the founders for online piracy.
Megaupload Limited and sister company Vestor Limited generated “more than $175 million in criminal proceeds” and caused “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners” through the piracy of “numerous types of copyrighted works,” the US Justice Department and FBI said in a joint statement.
But Anonymous hit back shutting down the websites of the US Department of Justice and Universal Music Group.
“The government takes down #Megaupload? 15 minutes later #Anonymous takes down government & record label sites,” they wrote on Twitter.
“We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz. The FBI didn’t think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us,” they wrote on website Pastebin.
The hacking group also listed the websites they planned to attack along with the names of US Democratic Party leaders and MPAA employees and their families.
They listed details including property values, work and home phone numbers and addresses as well as the names, ages and schools of the member’s children.
New Zealand’s police website police.govt.nz has also allegedly been targeted by the group after as Dotcom, Batato and two others were arrested in Auckland by New Zealand authorities carrying out warrants on behalf of the US for pirate material.
“Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being law. Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The Internet as we know it will end. FIGHT BACK,” wrote @YourAnonNews on Twitter in a reference to the ongoing battle in Congress over the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
The proposed legislation would crack down on the online sharing of pirated copies of music, movies and other material.
Investigators said there was no connection between arrests in their two-year investigation of Megaupload.com and the political firestorm that erupted this week over the pending vote on SOPA, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Megaupload.com is a content hosting site that allows users to upload content for others to then download.
But according to the indictment, “for more than five years the conspiracy has operated websites that unlawfully reproduce and distribute infringing copies of copyrighted works, including movies – often before their theatrical release – music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale.”
The indictment charges the suspects with racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
If convicted, each individual faces up to 55 years in prison, the Justice Department said.
– With AAP