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Anonymous's latest target was Virgin Media.  (Source: David Shankbone)
Virgin Media was complying with UK High Court order

On Wednesday famed hacker group Anonymous was once more in the spotlight, using its trademark distributed denial of service tactics to temporarily obliterate the web presence of Virgin Media Inc. (LON:VMED).  The attacks came in retaliation for the company's decision to comply with a court order to block a top website well-known as a hotbed for piracy.

Anonymous recently made TIME magazine's list of the 100 most influential "people" in the world for 2012.  Feared, respected, the defiant hacker collective is made up of tens of thousands of active members worldwide.  There are no elected or appointed officials in Anonymous, only organizers.  To become a leader in Anonymous, you must do things the old fashioned way -- impress the community with your actions.  

For better or worse Anonymous's activist hackers tend to ignore the law and the prevailing sentiments of the mass media public.  At times this has drawn praise from the corporate electronics industry and U.S. government, such as when Anonymous helped spark insurrection in the Arab Spring, which took down several fundamentalist Muslim dictatorships.  At other times their behavior has drawn condemnation, as in the case of the collective's severe harassment of Japanese tech giant Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) -- a tempting target thanks to its at times punitively anti-customer attitudes and extraordinarily weak security.

Virgin Media
DDOS attacks by Anonymous left Virgin Media's homepage unreachable.
[Image Source: The Register] 

The latest Virgin Media dust-up comes due to the service provider's decision to cooperate with a UK High Court's order to block The Pirate Bay, the world's largest file-sharing hub for torrents and magnet-links.

The UK High Court sided with big corporate record labels and their copyright attack-dog, the Performing Rights Society -- a sister organization to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  Like the RIAA, the PRS is known for extreme measures, such as trying to outlaw CD burning and threatening to sue workers who sing in public.

The takedown led to a matching takedown of Virgin Media's homepage, courtesy of Anonymous's UK branch.  Twitter account AnonUK writes:

#Anonymous have just taken down #VirginMediawebsite again because of their involvement in the #Censorship of The Pirate Bay #TPB #OpTPB

Anonymous are vocal supporters of The Pirate Bay.

The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay has been blocked by Virgin Media. [Image Source: World Under Control]

The UK's court's decision to side with the PRS is a controversial one.  The PRS and its member labels have drawn criticism in recent years for essentially "pirating" independent musicians works for profit.  UK law allows the big record labels to "claim" "unclaimed" works.  Musicians must apply for compensation.  However, the record labels reportedly make the process convoluted enough that many musicians are never reimbursed, leading to claims that big media is stealing more content from rights owners than pirates.

Virgin Media is currently the second largest broadband internet provider [source] in the UK.  It was the first "quadruple play" service provider in the nation -- a provider who offers television, internet, mobile phone, and fixed-line telephone services.

The service provider confirms the attack in a statement given to The Register, commenting:

Our website,, has been the subject of denial of service attacks so we took the site offline for a short period of time. We're aware some groups are claiming the attacks are a result of the recent High Court order which requires ISPs to prevent access to The Pirate Bay.

As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders but we strongly believe that tackling the issue of copyright infringement needs compelling legal alternatives, giving consumers access to great content at the right price, to help change consumer behaviour.

While the latter statement might seem to be an argument aimed at placating Anonymous, who has long complained about the lack of solid legal alternatives to filesharing, it could also simply be an add for Virgin Media's new online music service.

Virgin's executive office is in New York City, United States and its operational headquarters are in Hook, United Kingdom.  Many Americans know the company best for the founder of its parent Virgin Group, Richard Branson.  Richard Branson has been a flashy figure, pushing such high-tech ventures as consumer space flight and deep-sea exporation.

Despite the blockade, The Pirate Bay remains accessible for Virgin Media customers if they use Anonymouse or other proxy services.

Sources: Anonymous UK [Twitter], The Register

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"took down Muslim regimes?"
By blueaurora on 5/9/2012 4:13:52 PM , Rating: 5
You my want to go fact check that. Mubarak was running anything but a Muslim regime. They took corrupt authoritarians with a slight Muslim twist and are replacing them with full blown "elected" theocracies.

I understand
By cubby1223 on 5/9/12, Rating: 0
Wake up guys
By thisisaname on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Wake up guys
By Crazyeyeskillah on 5/9/2012 2:37:40 PM , Rating: 3
they took the top guys down already, it's just a funnel for convictions. I remember when anonymous and 4chan (synonymous at the time) were just trying to take down websites like caturday that were using other people's work to make a profit.

When you try to fk up corporations or governments that's a different animal all together. I honestly find it extremely entertaining when they make big moves, what balls those kids have! Unfortunately committing electronic crime is extremely traceable if you have the time and resources.

RE: Wake up guys
By thisisaname on 5/9/2012 3:31:25 PM , Rating: 1
Clearly you don't understand the concept of using staged events to perpetuate a lie.

RE: Wake up guys
By mikeyD95125 on 5/9/2012 4:09:34 PM , Rating: 3
Cut the crap.
I know you are just a front for the CIA trying to get us to discredit anonymous as a tool for the CIA, but really the CIA wants them destroyed!

RE: Wake up guys
By JasonMick on 5/9/2012 4:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
Cut the crap.
I know you are just a front for the CIA trying to get us to discredit anonymous as a tool for the CIA, but really the CIA wants them destroyed!
Maybe Anonymous is a CIA psyops org and TS is a CIA double agent designed to take down Anonymous, but then the CIA is secretly really just a made up branch of Anonymous who secretly controls part of the U.S. gov't! </Inception>

RE: Wake up guys
By thisisaname on 5/9/2012 4:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not an agent of anything, or anyone. Just a researcher who came to the truth 3 years ago. I have found time and again that 98% of people are not interested in the truth, and that's fine, I wont push the issue.
At Mick, I am not at all surprised that a journalist like you would mock me, when you are not at all interested in speaking the real truth about matters. Go ahead and keep what you're doing. I'm outta here.

RE: Wake up guys
By jRaskell on 5/9/2012 5:19:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'm outta here.


RE: Wake up guys
By thisisaname on 5/9/2012 10:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
I promise. Admins, feel free to lock my account. I happily take my leave from this place.

RE: Wake up guys
By B3an on 5/9/2012 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 1
You have it all wrong. Anonymous and the CIA are controlled by aliens that came to earth over 200 years ago and slowly infected the human leaders with a mind control virus. Steve Jobs was also infected and the idea was to get as many iDevices in human hands as possible so the aliens could monitor us. But the infection has a side affect of pancreatic cancer and mental problems which often involve the distortion of reality.

RE: Wake up guys
By UnauthorisedAccess on 5/9/2012 7:11:03 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not going to say it was aliens...

...but it was aliens.

RE: Wake up guys
By Mitch101 on 5/9/2012 9:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
Im adding a second layer of tinfoil to my hat after reading these posts. Front door is already locked.

RE: Wake up guys
By DiscoWade on 5/9/2012 8:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
No no no ... that is not it all. The Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people under the supervision of the reverse vampires are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner!

RE: Wake up guys
By JasonMick on 5/9/2012 5:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
At Mick, I am not at all surprised that a journalist like you would mock me, when you are not at all interested in speaking the real truth about matters. Go ahead and keep what you're doing. I'm outta here.
Who says I was mocking you? I could be a CIA clandestine operative!

Maybe I'm in on the conspiracy and am trying to obfuscate the true scheme.

Though I suppose in that case you might be wise to leave, as the powers to be may now be tracking your location now that you have revealed the forbidden truth.

Unless, you in fact are also part of the conspiracy and are trying to catch the ignorant as well. In that case, you might want to stay.

RE: Wake up guys
By AstroCreep on 5/9/2012 7:27:01 PM , Rating: 2 just blew my freaking mind.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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