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1/25/2012
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Anonymous Calls Anonyupload A Scam

Megaupload alternative promises "100% anonymous" platform for sharing files, providing it gets the required funds.

In the wake of the Megaupload takedown, a new file-sharing site, Anonyupload, now promises to protect file-sharers from the U.S. government, backed by an advertising-free, "100% free," and "100% anonymous" ethos.

"For your safety, our infrastructure will be out of the U.S jurisdiction," reads a notice on the site, which quickly amassed 4,500 followers on Twitter. "We want sharing of knowledge and culture free and accessible for all."

But the apparent move by the Anonymous hacktivist collective to provide file-sharing services to the masses appears to be anything but. Indeed, a Tuesday tweet from AnopOps, a reliable Anonymous communications channel, said, "We have NO affiliation with this site, and by the looks of it, this is a SCAM."

[ Scrutiny grows on the DOJ's decision to block legally uploaded content and pursue criminal charges against Megaupload. See Megaupload Takedown Questioned By Users, Lawyers. ]

In response, Anonyupload's self-described single backer went on the offensive, launching a Twitter flame war--some of it in French--with official Anonymous channels, and updating the Anonyupload website with this clarification: "We are not Anonymous Member, but we defend the anonymity. It's not fake! It's not a scam!"

Beyond the site's lack of any official Anonymous endorsement, Anonyupload appears to be facing further challenges. For starters, PayPal closed the site's account, thus imperiling its founder's ability to lease bandwidth or purchase any servers for hosting shared files, although a notice on the website said that Anonyupload also accepts Bitcoins.

From a marketing perspective, meanwhile, much of the website is given over to a discussion of why Internet users shouldn't rely too heavily on a site such as Anonyupload. "Anonyupload.com is a centralized service, when you upload files, they are stored in our hard drives, at a single location. And this is not good! It is the opposite of what the Internet is: decentralized," according to a notice on the site. Accordingly, for anyone who wants to use the site to share files, it also recommends uploading them to other file-sharing sites, as well as P2P networks, to "multiply the file significantly."

If Anonymous isn't backing Anonyupload, it has of course taken sides in the debate over the Megaupload takedown. Anonymous quickly retaliated, launching what it described as the largest distributed denial of service (DDosS) attack in history, which knocked numerous sites offline, including the public-facing websites of the Justice Department and Universal Music.

Such "OpMegaupload" attacks remain ongoing, with Anonymous channels claiming Wednesday to have knocked offline the official website of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the public website of the Virginia State Police.

Heightened concern that users could inadvertently expose or leak--or purposely steal--an organization's sensitive data has spurred debate over the proper technology and training to protect the crown jewels. An Insider Threat Reality Check, a special retrospective of recent news coverage, takes a look at how organizations are handling the threat--and what users are really up to. (Free registration required.)

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