On October 4, 2010, KISS frontman Gene Simmons gave speech at a TV and entertainment conference in Cannes, France, in which he slammed his peers in the music industry for not aggressively pursuing people who illegally download music. He advised the audience to "be litigious, sue everybody, take their homes, their cars--don't let anybody cross that line." Ten days later, cybervandals allegedly affiliated with the group Anonymous sent Simmons a digital "eff you," flooding his and KISS' websites with traffic until the servers crashed. Now, nearly six months later, the FBI has tracked down one of the people they believe is responsible for the attack.
FBI Special Agent Scott Love of the agency's Los Angeles bureau wrote that the bureau was able to take the logs of the attack compiled by Simmons' attorney and cull from them specific computer addresses that were used in the attack. The computer in the home in Gig Harbor was found to have attacked Simmons' website more than 48,000 times in just over 47 minutes the day of the second attack.
"I believe that someone with access to the computer at the subject residence took part in the DDoS [Distributed Denial-of-Service] attacks," Love wrote.
No arrests have been made, so the identity of the alleged hacker in Gig Harbor remains a mystery for now. Appropriately enough, Simmons and the FBI believe the Web attacks were the work of Anonymous.
A loose-knit coalition of hackers and computer geeks, Anonymous has been in the news several times over the past year after other high-profile site crashes were traced back to them. Most recently, the group was blamed for a security breach of the Sony Playstation Network. Last year, the group claimed responsibility for crashing the servers of Mastercard, Visa, and other credit-card companies that stopped allowing online donations to WikiLeaks.
In the case of Simmons and WikiLeaks, Anonymous crashed sites under the banner of "Hacktivism"--a term defined by Wikipedia as "the nonviolent use of illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools in pursuit of political ends."
During his speech in Cannes--given at the annual MIPCOM TV and entertainment conference--Simmons basically stuck his giant tongue out to online file sharers. "The music industry was asleep at the wheel," he said. "It didn't have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded material. So now we're left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs." Here are the highlights of Simmons' speech:
After his and his band's sites were brought down for a total of 36 hours, Simmons proclaimed, "Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case, and we have found a few, shall we say 'adventurous' young people, who feel they are above the law. And, as stated in my MIPCOM speech, we will sue their pants off."
According to the search warrant, the FBI traced the IP addresses of the cybervandals back to the house in Gig Harbor, where a computer attacked one of Simmons' sites 48,000 times in about 47 minutes. According to the feds, Anonymous dubbed their attack "Operation Payback."