By David Meyer , 9 May, 2012 09:11
Hackers associated with Anonymous forced Virgin Media’s website offline for at least an hour on Tuesday, but the file-sharing service whose blockage sparked the protest has condemned the attack.
In an operation dubbed OpTPB, Anonymous hackers apparently subjected Virgin’s site to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that began at 5pm. Twitter messages referring to OpTPB suggested that it was a response to Virgin Media’s blocking of The Pirate Bay (TPB), which began last week after a court ordered it.
Although Virgin admitted to an hour-long downtime, the site was still not working at the time of writing, around 16 hours after the attack began.
“DDoS and blocks are both forms of censorship,” The Pirate Bay told followers on its Facebook page, referring to “some random Anonymous groups [having] run a DDoS campaign against Virgin Media and some other sites”.
“We’d like to be clear about our view on this: We do NOT encourage these actions,” TPB said. “We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us. So don’t fight them using their ugly methods.”
The file-sharing service went on to suggest that those wanting to help it could set up a tracker, join or start a local Pirate Party, write to their political representatives or develop a new P2P protocol.
According to the BBC, Virgin said in a statement that it has to comply with court orders, but believes 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”.
“Copyright defenders, including the British recorded music industry body BPI, have argued that illegal copies of films, books and music made available on file-sharing sites destroy creative industry jobs and discourage investment in new talent,” the ISP added.
The court order followed a ruling in February which established that TPB was infringing on copyright by providing a service that people use to unlawfully share copyrighted material.
TPB was not itself represented at the hearing that led to that ruling, but the judge, Mr Justice Arnold, argued that there was little point in trying to get the site’s proprietors into court when even the authorities in Sweden, TPB’s home country, had failed to do so.
Virgin Media was the first ISP to carry out the block ordered last week, but others covered by the same court order include Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk and O2. BT is not yet subject to the order as it has requested more time to assess the implications.