Anorak News | 4chan’s Operation Payback Is A Bitch For ACS:Law, BT And You

4chan’s Operation Payback Is A Bitch For ACS:Law, BT And You

by | 29th, September 2010

‘OPERATION Payback Is a Bitch’ is 4chan’s /b/ board targeting of ACS:Law. ACS: Law go after so-called web pirates downloading music, videos and games.

4chan members, who seem to know a lot about downloading stuff, launched a DDoS attack on ACS: Law’s website. And it went down.

You see, if you’re thought to have downloaded a film illegally, ACS: Law will send you a letter demanding payment or else.

One woman called Claire got a letter from ACS: Law demanding £495 for allegedly downloading Chubby Chasers.

On some websites you can buy such films for as little as $11 – which pound-for-pound is very reasonable, we’re told.

The fine is heavy. And if you’ve been accused of downloading illegal porn would you want to go to court?

So the 4chan users set about bringing down ACS:Law by gaining access to their servers and downloading lots of files – including the names, credit card details and addresses of over 5,000 Sky Broadband customers. Sky Broadband and all ISPs are bound by law to make such data available. In this case, Sky’s customers were accused of illegally downloading porn films.

ACS:Law “appears to compile lists of alleged infringers tracked by IP addresses, then appeals for a court order to the relevant internet service provider to hand over more information about the customer before taking the accused to court.”

Sky released a statement, having noticed that ACS:Law’s systems were not all that secure:

“Following recent events, we have suspended all co-operation with ACS:Law with immediate effect. This suspension will remain in place until ACS:Law demonstrates adequate measures to protect the security of personal information.”

ACS:Law’s boss is Andrew Crossley. The Register got him on the phone:

“It was only down for a few hours. I have far more concern over the fact of my train turning up 10 minutes late or having to queue for a coffee than them wasting my time with this sort of rubbish.”

4chan users were listening. This was an incentive to crank up the attack.

The downloaded documents made their way to The Pirate Bay site. And there the names of the allegedly guilty perverts sit for all to see, the aforesaid Claire included.

So. The plan to expose ACS:Law actually ended up embarrassing the people who would most likely agree with the 4chan protest.

And the list of affected parties is growing. It turns out that BT sent ACS: Law customer data on unencrypted Excel spreadsheet attachments. This puts BT at risk of breaching the Data Protection Act, which requires firms to keep customers’ data secure at all times.

The unsecured Excel documents were sent in late August by Prakash Mistry, a lawyer working for British Telecom, to…. Andrew Crossley.

Mr Crossley may well be reconsidering if his train is more important than the story. His firm are reported to in line for a possible £500,000 fine.

A BT community moderator called Nigel writes on the firm’s PlusNet forums:

In answer to the question above about whether we sent out customer details in unencrypted files, I can confirm that this did happen,”

“We are investigating how this occurred as we have robust systems for managing data.

“We have already ensured that this will not happen again.

“In this circumstance our legal department sent data to a firm of solicitors (ACS:Law) which reached them safely and we trusted that they would keep the data safe.”

Testing times at ACS:Law.

The 4chan campaign issues a statement:

Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another.

The RIAA and the MPAA feign to aid the artists and their cause; yet they do no such thing. In their eyes is not hope, only dollar signs. Anonymous will not stand this any longer.

Two things come from this – unfettered internet access might not be the best thing – innocent people have had their names linked to illegally downloading porn – and 4chan are not to be messed with or ignored…

Posted: 29th, September 2010 | In: Key Posts, Technology Comments (12) | TrackBack | Permalink