Megaupload Limited, better known for its closed websites including the top-15 file hosting service megaupload.com, is an online Hong Kong–based company established in 2005 that ran a number of online services related to file storage and viewing. The domain names were seized and the sites shut down by the U.S. Justice Department on 19 January 2012, following their indictment and arrests of the owners for allegedly operating as an organization dedicated to copyright infringement.
The shutdown led to what activist group Anonymous called “the single largest Internet attack in its history” in retaliation. The case has not yet been heard at trial.
The company web services included:
- Megaupload.com, a one-click hosting service;
- Megapix.com, an image hosting;
- Megavideo.com and Megalive.com, video hosting services;
- Megabox.com, a music hosting service; and Cum.com, hosting for pornographic content (formerly Megaporn, Megarotic and Sexuploader). Other services included Megaclick, Megafund, Megakey and Megapay, all of which were advertisement and financial services.
- Two additional services,Megabackup and Megamovie, were in development before their closure.
MegaVideo was an associated, ad-supported video hosting service. For non-members, it was time-limited; it blocked itself after 72 minutes, and then allowed users to resume watching after a 30 minute period.
Launched in late 2010, MegaPix allowed for the uploading of images, competing with other image-hosting services such as Photobucket, ImageShack, TinyPic and others.
Megalive was a live video-streaming service; it competed with Ustream, Justin.tv and Livestream.
Megabox was a music/audio-hosting service for the uploading of whole music libraries and playlists.
Megaporn was a file-sharing service aimed specifically towards pornographic movies and images.
The seized domain name redirects to this joint FBI, DoJ, and NIPRCC notice of federal crime charges.
On 19 January 2012 the United States Department of Justice seized and shut down the file-hosting site Megaupload.com and commenced criminal cases against its owners and others. On 20 January Hong Kong Customs froze more than 300 million Hong Kong dollars (US$39 million) in assets belonging to the company.
Arrests in New Zealand
Acting upon a US Federal prosecutor’s request, the New Zealand Police arrested Schmitz and three other Megaupload executives in a leased $30 million luxury mansion at Coatesville near Auckland on Friday, 20 January (NZDT, UTC+13). This was pursuant to a request from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that the four be extradited. The raid was timed for the birthday celebration of Schmitz. Assets worth $17 million including art works and luxury cars were seized. The four men arrested were Kim Schmitz (founder; 38 years old, from Germany), Finn Batato (CMO; 38, from Germany), Mathias Ortmann (CTO and co-founder; 40, from Germany) and Bram van der Kolk (29, from the Netherlands).
On January 23, Schmitz appeared in Auckland’s North Shore District Court for a bail hearing. The crown argued against bail on the basis that he is a flight risk with a helicopter on his front lawn. Defence argued the helicopter could not fly far enough to reach another country. They also said Schmitz denies any criminal wrongdoing. Judge David McNaughton expressed concern at the discovery of two shotguns at Schmitz’s mansion during the police raid. The judge deferred a decision on whether to grant bail, saying that he needed more time to review the submissions.
The action against Megaupload took place just hours after the mass online Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) protest. Shortly afterward, the United States Department of Justice’s website and a number of other organizations’ websites were taken offline following concerted denial of service attacks from activist groupAnonymous.
According to RT,
Anonymous described the attacks as “the single largest Internet attack in its history”. Barrett Brown, who has worked with Anonymous, added that the federal government “could not have chosen a worse time to take down Megaupload”. He noted that from commencement until the point the government’s web servers were offline was a mere 70 minutes:
Due to this Anonymous had stopped FBI website it has been seen in the screen shot below:
“Even without SOPA having been passed yet, the federal government always had tremendous power to do some of the things that they want to do. So if this is what can occur without SOPA being passed, imagine what can occur after SOPA is passed,” Barrett Brown told RT.
Gizmodo concurred that it was “almost certainly the result of a quickly-assembled DDoS [Distributed Denial of Service] attack—and easily the widest in scope and ferocity we’ve seen in some time”, commenting that “if you had any doubts Anonymous is still a hacker wrecking ball, doubt no more”.
On 19 January 2012, Anonymous released a statement on Pastebin.com accepting responsibility of the mass attacks on websites including those of RIAA, MPAA, BMI, FBI, and others.
Some contents taken from Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia
This All Led to Shutdown of website www.megaupload.com