Tango Down: Brazil Govt. Sites, Visa, MasterCard Go Down

Brazilian Anonymous members have taken down more than 100 Brazil government website including law enforcement and government department websites; though most have returned online now. The two hackers publicizing the hackers used the Twitter pseudonyms of Havittaja and The evilc0de; tweeting the infamous line of “tango down” for each attack, a line also used by LulzSec.

The attacks also affected Visa Brazil and MasterCard Brazil, with Visa still suffering downtime. A near complete list of government website attacks have been posted on Pastebin by the hackers with 107 websites taken down by attacking df.gov.br, as the Brazilian government set up websites with sub-domains on the government portal website. However, Havittaja is still tweeting as they bring down websites.

AnonymousIRC tweeted “Brazilians on a killing spree now!” These hacks follow a spate of Anonymous attacks on US entertainment industry and government websites over MegaUpload.com which has been taken down due to alleged piracy charges. One of the hackers involved in the attack, Havittaja, linked to a profile detailing 48 website exploits and “defacement”; with their Twitter tagline saying “yes I’m a defacer”.

New Zealand Police Website Taken Down by Anonymous

The official website of the New Zealand Police force has been hit by Anonymous denial of service attacks. It appears that New Zealand police are unable to bring the website up with downtime for more than 9 hours due to their involvement in the “Mega Conspiracy”.

Anonymous IRC tweeted “cause u suck b**ches”, in a vitriolic tweet aimed at the New Zealand police. The New  Zealand law enforcement helped the MegaUpload case by raiding homes and businesses. The Zealand police have seized guns and luxury cars as well as freezing assets including millions of dollars according to officials.

Extradition against Kim Dotcom, MegaUpload founder, and three other employees from New Zealand is underway. Police said that several locks were automatically put in place, as police progressed through the mansion and that Dotcom fled to a safe room. The four appeared in North Shore District Court yesterday.

Anonymous have also attacked U.S government websites such as the Department of Justice and the FBI. Several entertainment companies and trade groups were also attacked including Universal Music, BMI.com, the RIAA and the MPAA.

Anonymous say that this is the largest scale attack ever undertaken in retaliation for taking down MegaUpload.

MegaUpload Shutdown and Hit With Piracy Indictment

The FBI have taken down MegaUpload.com and charged seven individuals and two corporations, Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited, with piracy related charges. The FBI, allege that MegaUpload was “running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works”.

The FBI said “the estimated harm caused by the conspiracy’s criminal conduct to copyright holders is well in excess of $500 million. The conspirators allegedly earned more than $175 million in illegal profits through advertising revenue and selling premium memberships”. The indictment alleged that MegaUpload failed to removed content that was pirated by leaving “access through any one of the many duplicate links available for that file” when content was removed. MegaUpload also allegedly encouraged users to upload “infringing content” by paying users.

The FBI say they worked with assistance from law enforcement in New Zealand, Hong Kong, London, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany and with authorities from Australia, Canada and the UK. The seven individuals were from across the world with citizens of Germany, Slovakia, Denmark and Estonia. Law enforcement are believed to have seized around $50 million worth of assets, with 20 search warrants executed. 18 domain names have been seized stemming from a U.S. District Court order.

Anonymous, hacking group, have started a hacking spree branded OpMegaupload. Anonymous have so far taken down BMI, MPAA, RIAA, Universal Music and Justice.gov. AnonymousIRC said in a tweet that around 1500 people were involved in an IRC conversation.

MegaUpload has previously been endorsed by artists including Will.i.am, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg in a video that was controversially taken down by Universal. In the Megaupload song, creators boasted that the website had 50 million a day and accounted for “4% of the internet” and previously in October 2011, MegaUpload was labelled as a  “rogue” site by MPAA.

The full indictment has been made available on Scribd.

NinjaVideo.net Co-Founder Ordered to Pay Over $150,000 

The Department of Justice have announced the sentence of Matthew David Howard Smith, the co-founder of NinjaVideo.net. Smith will spend 14 months in jail and was ordered to pay $172,387 and forfeit five bank accounts and computer equipment after pleading guilty September 23 2011 to conspiracy and copyright infringement.

NinjaVideo.net was run from February 2008 to June 2010. The Department of Justice said that the website made $500,000 and that the website allowed “millions” of users to download high-quality movies and television shows.

The indictment of Smith and four other NinjaVideo.net administrators started September 9 2011.

WordPress.com Blacks Out Homepage and Allows Users to Protest SOPA

WordPress.com have blacked out their Freshly Pressed front-page to protest SOPA and PIPA. WordPress.com are also allowing users to change settings on their WordPress.com blog to protest SOPA with the following settings taken from the temporary page:

  • Full Blackout and Ribbon: Display a protest ribbon on every page of my site until January 24, 2012 and black out every page on my site in protest of SOPA/PIPA on January 18, 2012 between 8AM and 8PM EST. Preview the Blackout
  • Ribbon: Display a protest ribbon on every page of my site until January 24, 2012. Preview the Ribbon
  • None: Do not protest SOPA/PIPA on my site.

In an official blog post, Jane Wells said “sorry to take away your daily fix of yummy web content, but this bill threatens to do that on a much wider scale”. Wells also said “I hope that a significant number of you on WordPress.com will join in this protest. Publishing freedom is a right we must protect”.

In reply to a user comment criticizing the late blog post, Wells said that the decision to black out the frontpage was a last minute decision and:

If we had finalized our decision earlier, we would have! Normally we stay out of politics completely, so as not to alienate any of our users — we may disagree with people/sites on a personal level, but as a business we try to be neutral. We decided this was important enough to break our neutrality, and we worked our butts off today to build the option for all WordPress.com users to participate. Better late than never! (And it’s not really too late, since the protest is tomorrow, not yesterday.)

Black-out protests will go from 8AM to 8PM and will also affect Cheezburger Network websites, Wikipedia, Boing Boing and Reddit. Google plans to protest SOPA on its United States homepage, reaching a wide national audience.

Bulk Download YouTube Videos with BYTubeD

BYTubeD is a bulk YouTube downloader created by M S Ram for Firefox as an extension. Bulk YouTube downloaders have a variety of purposes such as downloading an entire users’ video collection, playlists and backing up your videos.

BYTubeD can automatically convert from FLV to MP4, since FLV is the default format  and often requires other media players such as VLC Player. The addon can also be integrated with other Firefox downloaders such as DownThemAll. If you’re using the default Firefox downloader then BYTubeD will automatically start all selected downloads.

Once installed right-click to open the addon and select videos you wish to download and quality level.

Upgrade Your Tumblr With Statistics, Commenting and Themes

Here are some third-party solutions to potential shortcomings in the Tumblr platform, we’ll walk through adding powerful statistics, commenting and themes.

Problem One: No Statistics

If you’re moving to Tumblr from a blogging system such as Blogger or WordPress, you may be surprised at the lack of statistics. However, since Tumblr offers unlimited access to your site’s code (via the customize page), you’re able to use any third-party statistics service you want.

Google Analytics is an excellent statistics tool from Google and is able to provide in-depth statistics about your users such as location, time spent on site and even their flow through the blog’s pages.

Some Tumblr themes may already support a Google Analytics ID, in these specific themes you simply paste in your ID. If not, grab the Google Analytics code and paste it into your theme’s code, which can be accessed in the “customize blog” page. Tumblr has more information on doing this.

Once you’re done adding the code, it’s as simple as visiting the Google Analytics website to visit your stats. Check out the real-time section to see if any users are currently visiting.

Problem Two: Users can’t comment

Since Tumblr has no commenting system, use a third-party tool such as Disqus. Some of the features of Disqus include the ability to have threaded comments and log-in using Facebook to comment. Disqus is probably the most popular option on Tumblr blogs, in fact Disqus has even set-up a page for Tumblr users.

To use Disqus paste the JavaScript code found on the set-up page and you’ll be ready to go. Again, some themes may already support Disqus, in these cases just paste in your user ID.

Problem Three: Limited themes

If you’re using the default list of themes available on Tumblr, you’re missing out on a lot of the creative themes available on Tumblr. Tumblr actually has a Theme Garden which contains more than a thousand (1227 as of publication) themes.

These approved themes are often more creative and up-to-date than the ones Tumblr has in the customize page. Tumblr has also made the process quick, just find a good theme then install it, which automatically copies the code to your blog.

Murdoch: We Screwed Up MySpace

Rupert Murdoch, the founder of News Corporation, gave a simple answer addressing the $580 million failure of MySpace which was sold June last year for $35 million to Specific Media, saying:

The new Murdoch Twitter account has drawn over 130,000 followers since starting in 1 January. Commentators say that account gives unprecedented access to Murdoch’s thoughts, with little PR spin seen. Murdoch saying in one tweet “Re complaints about my spelling! Problem is my pathetic typing. Sorry, if anyone really cares”.

Murdoch is currently tweeting from CES and said, in a tweet, that “CES [is] coming to a close. Seems like more innovation than ever, some great, all disruptive”, and that “top” News Corporation executives would review digital efforts after CES”.

A recent social media report by ComScore places Myspace fourth behind Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in terms of social media website ranking.

New Android Design Guide for Ice Cream Sandwich Released

Google developers have released a new Android design guide for the latest Android 4.0, titled Ice Cream Sandwich. The design guide, like the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, will help designers maintain design consistency in their apps; some developers have previously criticized the Android for the lack of consistency in apps.

Christian Robertson, leader of the Android visual design group, said in a blog post that Android 4.0 has “enhanced the UI framework with new interactions and styles that will let you create Android apps that are simpler and more beautiful than ever before”.

The guide includes advice to using the Android style elements such as color, typography and display sizes. Google have also included Android “building blocks” and patterns such as using different views, navigation within apps and compatibility with Android 3.0. The design guide will not be enforced and is optional for developers.

Robertson said that the content will be updated  “more in-depth content” and that the Google Android team would also include blog posts on design to help developers.

Cut the Rope Available to Play Online with HTML5 

ZeptoLab, the creators of the popular Cut the Rope game, have created a new HTML5 version that runs in any modern browser working with Pixel Lab and Microsoft Internet Explorer, who are promoting the use of HTML5 in Windows 8.

Details about game development have been posted online and developers said that 15,000 lines of code was ported from Objective-C used in iPhone development into JavaScript. Developers also had to convert graphics from OpenGL to HTML5 canvas, CSS3 styling and fonts. Although the game cannot be used with touch based devices, developers said “this is something we’re considering for future versions”.

Cut the Rope will be available in Windows 8 with the Microsoft team saying “investment in immersive experiences online now can pay off in real profits later with the Windows Store”. Previously in a Windows store preview, Cut the Rope was seen as a trial version. Antoine Leblond, Vice President of Windows Web Service, said in a blog post that by “using [an] in-app purchase [in the Windows 8 store], Cut the Rope players can upgrade to new levels right in context, as they play the game”.