Last week, after Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing voluntarily blacked out their Web sites to protest proposed antipiracy legislation, hackers began their own blackouts with attacks on dozens of sites across the Internet.
The hacking attacks escalated Thursday after federal authorities shut down Megaupload, a popular file-sharing site charged with copyright infringement. By Monday, hackers affiliated with the loose collective Anonymous had at various times taken down the Web sites of the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the White House, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the United States Copyright Office, CBS.com, Warner Music and Universal Music in retaliation.
On Monday evening, they took down the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline.gov Web site, briefly defacing the site with their own Anonymous logo, contact details for various F.T.C. officials, and a message. “If SOPA/PIPA/ACTA passes we will wage a relentless war against the corporate Internet, destroying dozens upon dozens of government and company Web sites,” it read, referring to the acronyms for the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a multinational effort to curb piracy.