4chan users launched denial-of-service attacks on the organizations in protest against attempts to shut down free file-sharing sites

September 21, 2010

2 Min Read


ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- PandaLabs, Panda Security's anti-malware laboratory, last Friday witnessed what could be the first organized mass cyber protest on the Internet, which targeted the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The RIAA and MPAA had contracted with an Indian software company to shut down free file-sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, driving users of the popular 4chan user group to call on its community to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) against the organizations.

"The most significant aspect of this event, in addition to the damage caused, is that it could mark the first mass cyber protest of its kind on the Web," said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. "Numerous anonymous users have joined forces and pooled their resources toward a common cause over Internet rights. This attack is an example of the potential for future cyber protests and the difficulty in pinpointing and stopping them."

Supporting pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/5007496635/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/5008105212/.

In 4chan users' attack against RIAA, the combined efforts led to 37 interruptions in the service, taking down the organization's site for one hour and 37 minutes. The portal gave instructions to users throughout the weekend, indicating the specific time to launch the attacks as well as the target IP address. Similarly, protesters tried to Google bomb a phrase accusing the president of the MPAA of "child molestation" and insinuating he belonged to a pedophile ring. One of the attacks also targeted the Indian software company that MPAA and RIAA contracted with to close down the free file-sharing sites.

4chan is a popular image board responsible for many Internet memes such as the Rickroll and LOLCats, as well as the "anonymous" assault on the Church of Scientology.

The next attack, which will target MPAA, is planned for tomorrow at 3 p.m. EDT. For more details on the attacks, which are being monitored in real-time by threat researcher Sean-Paul Correll, please visit http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/4chan-users-organize-ddos-against-mpaa/.

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of Collective Intelligence, Panda Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99.4 percent of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of Collective Intelligence. This is complemented through the effort of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), working 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com.

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