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April 25, 2009

Pirate Bay case: Internet group attacks websites in \”Operation Baylout\”

Pirate Bay case: Internet group attacks websites in “Operation Baylout”

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

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Anonymous, the loosely defined online activist group most known for organizing mass protests against the Church of Scientology, has begun a campaign against the websites of entities associated with the prosecution in the Pirate Bay Trial, Wikinews has learned.

Anonymous stages a masked protest against Scientology in Washington, DC last year
Image: Lewis Francis.

Termed “Operation Baylout”, the group claims that hundreds of volunteers are taking part in coordinated efforts to jam the websites of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and MAQS, a law firm working with the prosecution in the Pirate Bay case. As of Friday evening MAQS’s website read “Our website is currently under attack and we have therefore decided to shut it down until the attack ceases.”

The group is also coordinating efforts to jam the fax lines of the MPAA’s anti-piracy office and of prosecuting attorney Monique Wadsted.

Andrew Norton of Pirate Party International rejected the attacks, saying, “While we can’t condone these acts, it does show there is a wealth of feeling that opposes the decisions and actions of this trade body. Perhaps if this trade group [the IFPI] was not so focused on increasing their members’ short-term profits, and focused on long term growth and giving customers what they have wanted for the last 10 years, we would not all be in this situation now. However, if people really want to make a difference, and get a result, then they should be supporting their local pirate parties, which will give a lasting result, by providing a government that is more resistant to the lobbying efforts of the IFPI and their ilk.”

While one participant told Wikinews that he or she had taken part in the Church of Scientology protests, and while websites announcing the attacks claim to be affiliated with Anonymous, the decentralized and informal nature of the group makes it difficult to verify whether the attacks are a “legitimate” Anonymous operation.

Some seven hundred to one thousand users took part in an April 20 distributed denial of service (DDOS) “raid” against the IFPI’s website, taking it down for several hours.

The group makes use of Anonymous’s tactics from Project Chanology in coordinating raids. Ideas for targets are proposed in open discussion forums on a range of websites, mainly spinoffs of 4chan, although both participants Wikinews spoke to expressed disdain for that site particularly. When an idea finds favor with a significant portion of the group, it quickly — sometimes within four hours — evolves and is elaborated through a number of IRC channels. As a plan develops, word is put out to other members, and when enough people are assembled, the members activate customized but rudimentary programs downloaded from popular anonymous upload sites such as RapidShare to their home computers. These programs, “Epic Fail Cannon” and “Bayloutlazer”, execute a UDP ping flood against the target website. Most participants are by and large not computer experts, instead relying on the instructions and programming skills of others.

The group also coordinates its efforts through Anonymous’s message boards and one message announced, “Do local coordinating for individual cells on their respective Chanology boards.” Posters to those boards express common themes in support of The Pirate Bay: against censorship, for freedom of information and in personal concern about being jailed for internet piracy.

However, most participants are casual rather than dedicated members, involved “for lulz” — cheap entertainment at the expense of others.

One participant quoted to Wikinews the following statement from 888chan.org, a message board where the Baylout raids originated: “Project Chanology began as an online attack against Scientology because they fucked with our Internets. Nothing more. 2) It has since morphed into a caricature of itself, in which moralfags genuinely think it’s all about destroying an evil cult. We couldn’t care less about how evil they are except that they fucked with our Internets. 3) The lulz value of Project Chanology now lies in the fact that Anon has managed to personal army thousands of people into destroying our enemy for us. People will go to great lengths to participate and contribute to a “cause” when they don’t know they’re the victims of a very grand and subtle troll. The lulz is not in what they do but in the fact that they are being PA’d by Anons. This moralfag personal army in turn trolls everyone who takes them seriously, because they take themselves seriously, without ever being aware of the fact of the troll themselves. It’s pretty slick tbh.”

It is, however, entirely possible that this assertion is itself a bluff.

Coordinated attacks against Swedish government and media industry websites have become commonplace in retaliation for legal actions against The Pirate Bay.

The group plans its next raid to take place at 12:00 GMT on April 26, against the IFPI’s Swedish website. Previous attacks on websites have been attributed to the same group. On January 20, 2008 Anonymous claimed responsibility for attacking the Church of Scientology’s website which resulted in an arrest. In October 2008, Dmitriy Guzner, aged 18, admitted to the DDOS attack on the Church and pleaded guilty to computer hacking.



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October 20, 2008

Church of Scientology falsely accuses internet group \’Anonymous\’ of 2007 school shooting

Church of Scientology falsely accuses internet group ‘Anonymous’ of 2007 school shooting

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Monday, October 20, 2008

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Wikinews has learned that the Church of Scientology has begun to falsely accuse the internet protest group Anonymous of a 2007 school shooting in Finland.

The Church, on October 18, 2008 accused Anonymous of being involved in the November 2007 shooting at Jokela High School, in which a man named Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed nine people, including himself.

“Anonymous member Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed seven students, a nurse and a teacher at Jokela High School in Finland before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life,” said the Church in the October 18 press release. On October 17, the President of the Church of Scientology in New York City, John Carmichael, also accused Anonymous of being behind the shooting.

Cquote1.svg According to the leader of the criminal investigation of the Jokela High School Shooting in 2007, there was no link between the group called ‘Anonymous’ and the offender [Auvinen]. Cquote2.svg

—Tapio Ahola, Detective Chief Inspector of the NBI

One month ago, an article on CNN’s citizen journalism wing, iReport, also accused Anonymous of being behind the shooting, and several other alleged terrorist plots. The article also went on to accuse Anonymous of being behind the suicide of 14-year-old Megan Meier who killed herself after being ‘cyber-bullied’. Scientology says the initial attack was done by a member of Anonymous named Josh Evans, who later turned out to be a false alias created by Lori Drew, the mother of one of Meier’s friends. Meier’s mother had previously had a falling out with Drew.

Wikinews contacted the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Finland by e-mail, seeking evidence or a statement to confirm or deny any connection to Anonymous and verify or debunk the claim made by the Church. Wikinews was able to confirm that there was no connection between Anonymous and the 2007 shooting.

“According to the leader of the criminal investigation of the Jokela High School Shooting in 2007, there was no link between the group called ‘Anonymous’ and the offender [Auvinen],” said Tapio Ahola, Detective Chief Inspector of the NBI to Wikinews.

The Church also accuses Anonymous of plotting terrorist attacks against other schools, stadiums and even plotting a mall massacre which would allegedly have taken place in Los Angeles, California.

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The Church says that Jarrad Willis, who was arrested and questioned after posting the hoax massacre threat on 4chan.org, committed suicide while awaiting charges of internet crimes. Wikinews found that his suicide happened just one day before he was to be charged for a crime unrelated to the threat and that authorities had dropped all other charges against him, in relation to the hoax.

The accusations appear to be part of a Scientology tactic developed by the organization’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard called “fair-game”. The Church uses this tactic to harass people, often fabricating lies and defamation against those who protest or criticize their beliefs. Wikinews contacted the Church several times by e-mail for a statement, but the Church has yet to reply.

Related news

  • “Deadly shooting at high school in Finland” — Wikinews, November 7, 2007

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Wikipedia Learn more about Fair Game (Scientology) and Scientology and the Internet on Wikipedia.
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September 21, 2008

Rumors of Oprah Winfrey\’s death a hoax

Rumors of Oprah Winfrey’s death a hoax – Wikinews, the free news source

Rumors of Oprah Winfrey’s death a hoax

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Internet
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  • Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming
  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

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Internet users, as well as editors making edits on Wikinews and Wikipedia, have been the victims of a recent hoax that talk show host Oprah Winfrey has been found dead in her Chicago, Illinois home. The rumors are considered to be a hoax, connected with the online group known as Anonymous. Other reports say that the website 4chan.org is responsible for starting the rumor which began to spread quickly over the Internet.

Winfrey is set to appear on tonight’s Emmy Awards ceremony broadcast.

The rumors started after a statement Winfrey made on a recent show, defending a United States Senate bill against pedophiles and child rapists saying a pedophile group has “over 9,000 penises” harming children. She was referring to a comment left on her website by an individual affiliated with Anonymous who was claiming to be a pedophile. Wikinews can confirm through anonymous sources that the rumor was started by the group Anonymous and the website 4chan.

Winfrey at her 50th birthday party at Hotel Bel Air.
Image: Alan Light.

According to an edit made by Camalex, a registered user on Wikipedia, Winfrey was found dead “in her Chicago home early Saturday morning”. It was followed by a source linking to a Digg.com article, which links to oprahsdeath, a blog website regarding her alleged death. The first edit to her Wikipedia article, which was posted by an anonymous user, stated that Winfrey was “lying dead on her bed” when a family member found her. According to the edit, she had been suffering chest pains for several days, but concealed the discomfort.

According to the oprahsdeath blog, Winfrey was found dead in her home at 8:21 a.m. on Saturday morning. Winfrey “appeared to have a bloody area around her eye, a bullet wound in her stomach and some cuts and bruises up and down her body.” The post also says the suspect was “beaten” and “shot by a handgun”.

Shortly after the Wikipedia edit, an anonymous user with the IP address, 24.109.236.254 on Wikinews, added an edit to the Newsroom that she had been “found dead”.

On Digg users posted links to screen shots of websites allegedly carrying the news of her death via an alleged Associated Press report. Other Digg users left comments claiming to have seen it on their local news stations. Another screen shot apparently shows a BBC News article on her death which states that police released the claims.

Despite the reports, there were no other news agencies covering Winfrey’s alleged death which had lead many to believe the reports to be a hoax. A user commented on the Reddit.com website that “there are over 9000 reporters currently converging on Chicago”. According to Encyclopedia Dramatica, the term “Over 9000!” has been known to refer to an internet ‘meme’ which is derived from an Japanese television show called Dragon Ball Z and was often used to exaggerate the numbers of protesters attending recent anti-Scientology rallies.

The Post Chronicle state that the reports are nothing more than a hoax created by members of the internet website 4chan.org. According to the Post’s report who quote the 4chan, they are vowing to create “joker-like chaos” for at least the “next week”.

“Let us take control, create “Joker-Like” chaos, this week has been a cute start, but I believe we can do more, much more. We are the new world order. The Illuminati are like children compared to our stature. To put it simply, my point is, Kill the Oprah,” stated the Chronicle.

A video posted on YouTube which shows a broadcast of Winfrey’s show, shows her talking about the United States senate bill 1738 which is aimed at establishing “a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute predators.” The bill is sponsored by 2008 vice presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate.

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Near the end of Winfrey’s statement on the bill, she states that on her message board on her show’s website, someone claims to be “part of a known pedophile network.”

“[He] doesn’t forgive. [He] doesn’t forget. His group has over 9,000 penises, and they are all raping children,” stated Winfrey. “I want you to know they are organized, and they have systematic ways of hurting children”. ‘We don’t forgive, we don’t forget’ is a phrase common among the group Anonymous. 4chan has claimed responsibility for the post, and in return allegedly began to spread the rumor of Winfrey’s death.

One individual who claims to be part of the hoax, tells Wikinews that it “was fun as hell [spending] all day /b/ [4chan] photoshopping screenshots of news stories. She got what she deserved. She called anonymous a bunch of pedophiles. Believed a troll on her message boards”.

Wikinews has contacted The Oprah Winfrey Show to get a statement on the incident, but has yet to receive a response.

The group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for several pranks, or hacks against famous people in recent days. Hackers first started by hacking into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo e-mail account and the information contained in it was posted to Wikileaks.org. After the incident, FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly made comments against Wikileaks and other press agencies who posted the material, which was met with retaliation by hackers who broke into his website, BillO’Reilly.com.



Related news

  • “Alaskan Governor and Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s email account hacked” — Wikinews, September 20, 2008
  • “Website of Bill O’Reilly, FOX News commentator, hacked in retribution” — Wikinews, September 20, 2008

Sources

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This exclusive report features first-hand journalism by one or more Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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