Following the US government ordered shutdown of media-sharing site Megaupload.com, Anonymous has renewed its campaign against US authorities.
The US Justice Department reported on Wednesday that it had filed an indictment ordering the site's shutdown and founders arrest on 5 January, 2012. The document accused the founders for racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and plotting to commit copyright infringement.
The FBI later released its own press release alleging Megaupload was running an international organised crime enterprise that "cheated" copyright holders of as much as $500 million in revenue - a figure many analysts have already begun to question.
"WASHINGTON-Seven individuals and two corporations have been charged in the United States with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works through Megaupload.com and other related sites, generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced today," read the FBI's statement.
Later adding: "This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime."
Following the US authorities' international arrest warrants, seven people associated with the company were indited over the charges. This included, Kim Dotcom and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, who were arrested in New Zealand on Thursday evening. Other senior members of Megaupload's staff were also detained in nine countries including the US, Germany and Hong Kong.
In the aftermath of the staff and founders arrest the Anonymous collective mounted a fresh campaign protesting the US "censorship" of the internet. Following its previous pattern, the collective published a statement on the Pastebin website clarifying its intent to mount a new ongoing "OpMegaupload" campaign against US authorities and music industry sites.
"Popular file-sharing website megaupload.com gets shutdown by U.S Justice - FBI and charged its founder with violating piracy laws. Four Megaupload members were also arrested," read Anonymous' statement.
"We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz. The FBI didn't think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us."
Despite numerous analysts linking the two, the US government and authorities have since denied any link between the Megaupload arrests and the controversial Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property (PIPA) Acts.
The attack is the latest development in a long line of clashes between Anonymous and US law enforcement. Earlier in January Anonymous had mounted a separate cyber attack on the FBI's network, releasing an internal document allegedly taken during the hack. The hack was later revealed as a revenge attack protesting US law enforcement's treatment of Occupy protesters.
Adding insult to injury the collective later reported leaving the notorious "butthurt" form previously seen in July during an earlier assault on the FBI. "The CC'd zine we sent to them also includes a Butthurt form in case they need it... #Anonymous #AntiSec #LulzXmas #FillTheFormB[**]ch," boasted AnonymousIRC.
Earlier still, the collective had also directly targeted the FBI for its involvement in the arrest of several alleged anons in 2011. A full look at Anonymous activity in 2011, read the International Business Times UK's sum up piece "2011 The Year of the Hacktivist: When Anonymous Finally Grew-Up."