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DDoS Attack Knocks Out Gallant Macmillan, Ministry of Sound
October 3, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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As scheduled, the DDoS attack by Anonymous fired away at 3PM EST on Sunday. Gallant Macmillan's website was intentionally taken offline before the attack, prompting Anonymous to switch gears and strike at the Ministry of Sound (MOS) website and MOS' music store payment site. Although it seems Gallant's website was intentionally removed, the attack (or threat thereof) ultimately had its intended effect: at the time of this writing all three websites are offline and cannot resolve to their intended homepages.

Why are these three sites targeted you ask?

Because Anonymous has an axe to grind with UK solicitor Gallant Macmillan. In their statement preceding the attack, parallels were drawn between the file-sharing litigation work of Macmillan and ACS:Law's Andrew Crossley. For better or worse, Anonymous is using DDoS attacks as a way to fight back against the threat they perceive.

Gosh Slyck, what's the threat?

The perceived threat is barrage of settlement letters being sent by UK and US law firms to suspected file-sharers. As the ACS:Law data leak shows, cases against many individuals were tossed out because of a lack of convincing evidence. It's all part of what Anonymous calls "Operation Payback". This counterattack on media organizations like the MPAA, RIAA, and law firms such as DGLegal and ACS:Law is in response to alleged DoS attacks against BitTorrent websites. It further asks why law firms are allowed to cast out a big net and sift through their catch for profits.

OMG...but what does Ministry of Sound have to due with this?!111

The Ministry of Sound is an independent music label in the United Kingdom. They feel that file-sharing is hurting their bottom line, and have retained Gallant Macmillan to conduct file-sharing litigation work against suspected pirates. He hasn't received permission to obtain the identities of hundreds of suspected pirates just yet, but he's due in court tomorrow and his request could be granted.

What's this pay site you speak of?

The pay site seems to be a portal to buy authorized copies of artists under the Ministry of Sound label. This is an interesting escalation in the ongoing conflict, as it directly attacks the MOS's ability to sell music.

What happens now?

The DoS attacks appear relentless, with no clear end in sight. Overall, the entire effort could go in several directions. It could simply die out over time if members lose interest. Conversely, it could develop into a self-sustaining community that reacts when they feel the need. The whole effort could backfire as well - perhaps demonstrating a justification for stricter laws against file-sharing. Until then, the DoS attacks will probably continue for at least the short term.

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