The online pirates known as Anonymous struck again today, knocking CBS.com offline for “a good period of time” and deleting all of its files, Newser reports.
As in, the attackers didn’t just force the site offline using a barrage of distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) delivered by the group’s “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” tool – which has now been transformed into a Web-based attack vector that unsuspecting users can unknowingly participate in.
It was first assumed that Anonymous somehow acquired root access to CBS.com in this morning’s attack, as the site’s files and directories appeared to have been wiped.
However, additional investigation reveals that the attackers used a technique called DNS poisoning to redirect visitors to different web servers than those hosting CBS’ site, according to the PC Mag.
Unlike earlier strikes this week against the Justice Department and the Motion Picture Association of America, the hackers actually deleted everything, leaving only an index page with one lonely file.
Users attempting to access the main CBS index page were instead shown a directory structure containing just one file – foundry.html. Any attempts to access any of CBS.com’s sub-sites, like bookmarked pages for its litany of television shows, for example, were met with 404 Not Found errors.
According to the Twitter account @youranonnews, CBS.com was offline for approximately 20 minutes. CBS.com has managed to put itself back up .
But CBS hasn’t been Anonymous’ only Sunday target. The primary site for Universal Music was taken offline earlier today as well, the second such attack on the site in the past week.
Later Gizmodo reported that websites of Brazil’s federal district, the city of Tangara da Serra and popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes have been brought offline in a DDoS attack. Anonymous’ message on the affected websites was: “If Megaupload is down, you are down too.”
Vivendi, a French media company involved in music, film, TV, video games, etc., has been brought down too. Vivendi used to own Universal.
The question is, who’s next?
A video allegedly representing Anonymous threatened to attack a litany of websites if Megaupload wasn’t put back online within three days’ time.
That video was uploaded three days ago, and it appears that whoever was behind it hasn’t followed through with the threats on that one.
The list of potential targets included websites and services for the United Nations, Xbox Live, and U.S. Bank, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Anonymous brought down several Polish government websites over the weekend, including the websites of the Sejm (Poland’s lower house of parliament), the Prime Minister’s Chancellery, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Justice and the Internal Security Agency. Even the prime minster’s daughter’s blog was targeted.
The group also hacked into the laptop of Michał Boni, Poland’s Minister of Administration and Digitization, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. Both personal and work data was stolen.
According to Warsaw Business Journal, Anonymous is protesting against Poland’s plan to sign the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on January 26.
ACTA, which aims to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement, was signed by the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea in October 2011.
“Dear Polish government, we will continue to disrupt and interfere with your government official websites until the 26. Do not pass ACTA,” the group posted on its Twitter account.