One of internet music fans' least favourite organisations got their comeuppance today - their website was the victim of a surprisingly well-executed, amusing and ironic hack attack this afternoon.
For those of you not aware, the Recording Industry Association of America are the people who, not content with shutting down Napster and Audiogalaxy, threatening lawsuits left right and centre and introducing silly copy protection measures to stop you playing or copying new music CDs on your computer, are now campaigning for the legal right to hack into users' computers in search of illegal mp3s.
Well - having been declared war on by the RIAA, it seems that pissed off geeks and music fans are starting to fight back. For several hours, the website at http://www.riaa.com/ was defaced - not with the usual immature 'w3 0wn3zz0r3d j00!! 5uxx0r5!!' hacker boasts, but with a subtle alteration of many existing pages of the site, including a headline news article entitled 'RIAA willing to try alternative approach to music-sharing services', a collection of pirated mp3s to download from the RIAA server itself, and a mysterious link pointing to information about giant monkeys! an excerpt:
RIAA against music sharing? Not anymore!
RIAA to sue music sharers? Not Anymore!
With the legal file sharing service Kazaa still online, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today announced that it intends to offer the latest albums for download from riaa.org.
We have recently become aware that this approach is yielding only limited results and in some cases may in fact be harming sales and the artists' revenue stream. The RIAA wishes to apologise for the heavy-handed manner in which the popular chinese site Listen4Ever was closed down, and would like to present the following items for free download as a token of its goodwill.
Needless to say, the server has now been taken down as admins assess the damage, and their own stupidity in leaving the IIS/4.0 box insecure. For those of you who want to see a piece of the action, and have a snicker at the expense of a bunch of self-righteous major label sock puppets who'd rather blame internet users for their recent sales decline than the blatant lameness of the American billboard charts, mirrors are currently available of the hacked site here, the front page here and here, or a screenshot here or here. ;-)