by Molly Wood
January 19, 2012
#OpMegaUpload: like watching "War Games" play out,
but with cyber-bombs.
In the aftermath of Wednesday's SOPA/PIPA
blackout protests, the Internet community amassed quite a bit of goodwill,
flexed its muscles in a friendly, humorous, civil-disobedience kind of way,
and, remarkably, even managed to
change quite a few minds.
Just 24 short hours later, Anonymous legions nuked that goodwill and took
cyber security into thermonuclear territory. The real question now is: were
As I write this,
#OpMegaUpload is in full effect. The
Internet is seemingly coming down all around me. Global Internet traffic is
fluctuating between 13 percent and 14 percent above
normal, and, as you can see from the above image, global network
attacks were up 24 percent.
Affected sites include,
the White House
the Department of Justice
multiple record label sites
the MPAA and RIAA
the U.S. Copyright Office
The attacks were spawned by a large-scale
indictment and the arrest of four people associated with a hosting and
storage site called
Megaupload, all accused of online piracy.
In a collective rage, Anonymous lashed out with the force of a cyber-nuke.
The display of power is awesome - there will be a lot of high-fiving hackers
tonight, that's for sure. And given the massive power of the legions, this
story will get more attention in just a few hours than the SOPA/PIPA
blackouts ever did. WIN!
But then the other shoe will drop.
My sources tell me the timing of the MegaUpload arrests was no accident. The
federal government, they say, was spoiling for a fight after the apparent
defeat of SOPA/PIPA and not a little humiliation at the hands of the Web.
And what better way to bolster the cause for
cyber-crackdown than by pointing to a massive display of cyber-terrorism at
the hands of everyone's favorite Internet boogeyman: Anonymous?
If the SOPA/PIPA protests were the Web's moment of inspiring, non-violent,
hand-holding civil disobedience, #OpMegaUpload feels like the unsettling
wave of car-burning hooligans that sweep in and incite the riot portion of
the play. The result is always riot gear, tear gas, arrests, injury, and a
sea of knee-jerk policies, laws, and reactions that address the destructive
actions of a few, and not the good intentions of the many.
I don't truly know whether Anonymous was cleverly goaded into #OpMegaUpload.
But I do know that an attack this big on this
many government sites will effectively erase those good Internet vibrations
that were rattling around Capitol Hill this week and harden the perspective
of legislators and law enforcement who want to believe that the Web
community is made up of wild, law-breaking pirates.
That, ultimately, may help strengthen the
business - and the emotional - case for the pro-SOPA, pro-PIPA lobby.
Did the feds just get the last lulz?