The denizens of 4chan launched a series of distributed denial of service attacks against entertainment industry websites over the weekend, protesting legal actions against torrent tracker website the Pirate Bay.
Packet floods knocked websites maintained by the MPAA and RIAA intermittently offline over the weekend. Later attacks against the BPI were not as successful, possibly because site admins were forewarned that an attack was on the way.
"Operation: Payback Is A Bitch" began as an attack against Aiplex - a controversial Indian firm that works for Bollywood film studios and carries out DDoS attacks on websites hosting BitTorrent trackers that fail to respond to takedown notices - before progressing onto other entertainment industry websites. The attacks were initially coordinated via a IRC channel, which has since been taken offline.
Participants in the attacks are invited to download one of two attack tools. It's unclear whether or not participants in the attack are using zombie networks of compromised PCs.
Unsurprisingly the attacks have become a much-discussed subject on Twitter, with commentaries using the tagline #savetpb.
A blog post by Sean-Paul Correll of Panda Security explaining the background to their attacks, and charting the uptime of targeted websites, can be found here. Additional commentary by Chester Wisniewski of Sophos can be found here.
4chan is the source of the many internet memes, such as rickrolling, as well as the birthplace of the Anonymous protests against the Church of Scientology. ®