Anonymous Knocks Down Virgin Media's Site Over Pirate Bay Takedown
May 9, 2012 11:45 AM
Anonymous's latest target was Virgin Media.
(Source: David Shankbone)
Virgin Media was complying with UK High Court order
On Wednesday famed hacker group
was once more in the spotlight, using its trademark distributed denial of service tactics to temporarily obliterate the web presence of Virgin Media Inc. (
). 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.
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
, only organizers. To become a leader in
, you must do things the old fashioned way -- impress the community with your actions.
For better or worse
's activist hackers tend to ignore the law and the prevailing sentiments of the mass media public. At times this has
from the corporate electronics industry and U.S. government, such as when
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
) -- a tempting target thanks to its at times punitively
extraordinarily weak security
DDOS attacks by
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
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
's UK branch. Twitter account
have just taken down
website again because of their involvement in the
of The Pirate Bay
Anonymous are vocal supporters of
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
] 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
Our website, virginmedia.com, 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
, 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
Despite the blockade,
The Pirate Bay
remains accessible for Virgin Media customers if they use
or other proxy services.
Anonymous UK [Twitter]
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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