MegaUpload and the Anonymous Retaliation

Recently, the US government finally stepped in and shut down illegal downloading site MegaUpload.com.  The site could be used to upload your own personal files to back them up or share with others.  The problem with that kind of freedom was that the site turned into a haven for media piracy, often sharing all the latest movies and music before they even hit theaters and stores.  Once the government was able to make the case that the owners of MegaUpload were encouraging such behavior and promoting the site with it, they swept in and shut it down.  Blaming the site for $500 million in lost profits for the entertainment industry, they arrested 4 of the owners and seized all the servers across the globe that were run by MegaUpload.  This was done a day after many of the most popular sites on the Web “blacked out” to protest the controversial SOPA bill.

There are several things that regular computer users can learn from the whole mess:

1.  Backup your data to multiple sources!

While MegaUpload was used for a lot of piracy, there were many legitimate users who used it to backup files from work and other important documents.  Their data is now gone! You need to save your important data to several different hard locations to supplement these online backups.

2.  Choose a reliable online backup service!

Going off of point one, it was foolish for those people to use MegaUpload for important things!  It was apparent to anyone using MegaUpload that there was a lot of content that should not have been shared being stored with them.  Users should look into sites like Box.com that are meant specifically for storing personal and work files to back them up or share with others.  Box even gives you 50GB of free storage when you sign up!

3.  Cyberwar is going to be a big part of the future.

Shortly after it was announced that the MU owners were taken into custody, hacker collective “Anonymous” led their largest attack yet against the government and media industry.  Not only did members attack and bring down government sites like the FBI and Whitehouse.gov, but when Internet users clicked seemingly harmless links to read more about the attacks, their computers were turned into vessels for the attack as well.

Cyber security is huge, and it’s more important than ever to play it safe with the Internet and your devices.  If even the big and mighty government can’t protect themselves, who knows how vulnerable we are?

Sources:

“MegaUpload file sharing site shut down for piracy by Feds” – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2012/01/file-sharing-megaupload-shut-down-for-piracy-by-feds.html

“DOJ, FBI, entertainment industry sites attacked after piracy arrests”- http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-57362279-245/doj-fbi-entertainment-industry-sites-attacked-after-piracy-arrests/

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5 thoughts on “MegaUpload and the Anonymous Retaliation

  1. I think you make an interesting point, and by law I suppose the government was just because that’s why MU was shutdown and the owners arrested. But it still was to some extent a legitimately functioning company, and I think that users who posted this data to the site shouldn’t have been penalized for utilizing a completely legitimate service. If MU provided a good service, worth those people storing critical documents and data, then they weren’t that foolish. And as a lawfully abiding customer with no affiliation to the company other than their service, I’d be upset and angry if I lost all my data, and going after the people that caused it.

    • edit: and it was a reliable backup service up until the point that the US suddenly swooped in and shut them down.

  2. I’m actually not too surprised about what ultimately happened to MegaUpload. Although I had previously thought that they were somewhat invulnerable to the demands of the US Government, at least in the terms that there wasn’t much mention of it before, it seems that even they were prone to this kind of thing happening. It’s a lot like what happened to Napster some ten years or so ago.

    It’s kind of a shame, though. There were quite a number of people who were using it for legitimate purposes, such as those who were uploading their own original music to the site, but they were largely overshadowed by the many others who used it to intentionally break copyright laws. Regardless, this is what it ultimately comes to in the end- people see something exploitable, they proceed to exploit it and everybody else suffers for it.

    The points that you make in your article are quite understandable, especially from my own past experience. Backing up your files to multiple services, in addition to having physical copies, will ensure that you will be able to access and use them later. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has lost data before. Making sure that the sites you choose to upload to is also important as well- the shadier it seems, the more likely it will ultimately be taken down.

    Your third point is particularly interesting, however, especially considering the current climate of the internet. There are hacktivists all over the place today, and their numbers won’t be shrinking anytime soon. If people are aware of this, especially those who are in charge of keeping larger systems secure, a large number of hacks could potentially be prevented.

    The presence of the internet has truly changed the ways in which laws are enforced. Now, we really need to make sure that we don’t get in the way of them.

  3. Pingback: MegaUpload file sharing site shut down for piracy by Feds « Revolutionizing Awareness

  4. I think the government was just a being a bully guided by the media industry. Many of the congressmen are supported by them and use that to force their agenda. The media industry is trying to keep their old business models alive and it is just not working. Sure there was a fair amount of pirated content on the site but that was overshadowed by the majority of content that was legitimately acquired. No matter how many sites they take down there will always be another site to take its place. People are flocking to other websites already. Immediately after MU was taken down; I couldn’t watch a video anywhere other than some huge site because they were so congested. The media industry needs to change or die.

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