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'Biggest attack yet' as Anonymous hackers bring down CBS news

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 23, 2012 | 3 min read

Anonymous, the international group of hackers, yesterday morning knocked out cbs.com, one of America's top news sites, and later Universalmusic.com.

CBS news site shut down

The website Gizmodo described it as part of a "revenge spree" for shutting down megaupload.com. Some of the sites were down for hours.

The CBS attack wasn't a regular denial-of-service attack, said Gizmodo. At CBS.com "there was nothing except an index page with a single file. That's it. Basically, Anonymous gained access to CBS.com and deleted EVERYTHING." Later CBS.com managed to put itself back up .

Earlier after the closure of megaupload.com there was a retaliatory strike against the US Department of Justice, DoJ.gov which left the site "completely dead," as Gizmodo put it. It too was soon back up.

The attacks were "easily the widest in scope and ferocity we've seen in some time. If you had any doubts Anonymous is still a hacker wrecking ball, doubt no more," said the website. Hundreds upon hundreds of Anon operatives were said to be in a plotting frenzy, chatting about which site will go down next.

"Pretty much every company that makes movies, TV, or music, along with the entirety of the federal government, is in Anonymous' crosshairs," said Gizmodo. The sites were "bouncing in and out of life, and are at the very least super slow to load," said Gizmodo.

Anon was also going after websites in Brazil. Websites of Brazil's federal district, the city of Tangara da Serra and popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes were brought down .

An Anonymous' message on the affected websites read, "If Megaupload is down, you are down too."

Vivendi, a French media company which used to own Universal was brought down too.

The Russian news service RT said it was the largest coordinated assault in the history of Anonymous with over 5,600 attackers blasting at once.

The site of the FBI, which originally shut down Megaupload, was said at one point to have "fallen and can't get up."

An Anonymous statement said, "We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. The FBI didn't think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us."

Anonymous attack tools are pieces of software that volunteer hacktivists download to their PCs. The computer then starts blasting the target website with traffic. The group was said to have distributed Web links that made joining the attacks "easy as clicking a mouse."

The links led to Web pages with special JavaScript instructions that automatically redirected the visiting computer to a Web site being targeted for attack. The computer continues attempting to access the target site until the Web page is closed.

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