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RIAA Website Hacked 247

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the maybe-someone-just-typed-rm--rf dept.
gattaca writes "A lack of security controls allowed hackers to "wipe" the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) website on Sunday. The existence of an SQL injection attack on the RIAA's site came to light via social network news site Reddit. Soon after hackers were making merry, turning the site into a blank slate, among other things. The RIAA has restored RIAA.org, although whether it's any more secure than before remains open to question, TorrentFreak reports."
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RIAA Website Hacked

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  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chas (5144) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:45AM (#22126250) Homepage Journal
    Normally I don't advocate cracking someone's site. It's childish and petty. Kinda like the RIAA itself.

    But, for some reason, I'm having a really hard time working up any real sense of moral outrage over it.

    This probably makes me a bad, biased person.

    C'est la vie!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Same here. *Rubs hands and indulges in a meglomaniacal chuckle*
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:04AM (#22126496) Homepage Journal

      But, for some reason, I'm having a really hard time working up any real sense of moral outrage over it.
      Four words: They had it coming.

      You can't really going around acting like an ass and then expect to be treated with respect by anyone, especially if your site is riddled with basic security problems like SQL injection. Next time, hire a Web developer who isn't a stupid fscktard before gallivanting around, suing everyone, their 80-year-old grandmothers and their 6-year old children into oblivion.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:26AM (#22126712)
        "Four words: They had it coming."

        Well if we're going to use that excuse then why stop at web site defacement? Why not put out a contract on the heads of the music companies? After all "they had it coming". What's that? Society says it's not OK? So's copyright infringement and that's not stopping anyone. Why should this be any different?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Well if we're going to use that excuse then why stop at web site defacement? Why not put out a contract on the heads of the music companies? After all "they had it coming"
          That's why we call it 'the scales of justice'. The difference is is that would be unequal justice.

          If someone punches you in the face, do you beat them to death with a crowbar? No, you punch them back. If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?

          • by sponglish (759074) on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:30PM (#22127404) Homepage

            If someone punches you in the face, do you beat them to death with a crowbar? No, you punch them back. If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?

            Yeah, well... You're not from Chicago.

            They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way... Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I'm offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?

            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              Well, the punishment always has to be worse than what someone did, otherwise they may just keep on doing it. If someone steals $500, you can't just fine them $500. Because then they would just run around stealing $500 from everybody, and keeping the profit from those which they weren't caught from. No, you make the punishment $10,000 fine, or a month in jail (where they can't work so they lose money) so that it's too much risk for most people to do it
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by ozbird (127571)
              They pull a knife, you pull a gun.

              That's not a knife; this [vagabondish.com] is a knife.
          • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:34PM (#22127460) Journal
            > If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?

            Ummm... yes.

            If someone escalates to lethal force with me, I will respond with lethal force and it will be very important to *win*. Therefore, yes, I will respond to a knife with a grenade launcher.

            Hell, I say nuke them from orbit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by soarkalm (845400)

            If someone punches you in the face, do you beat them to death with a crowbar? No, you punch them back. If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?
            Once the knife comes out, you basically have to assume life and death. In this case, you make your opponent take up the unwise position of bringing a knife to a gunfight.
          • If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?

            Sounds like the annual Cheney family reunion to me.
            • by Firethorn (177587)
              Cheney's a classic case of the wrong load for the job, or why birdshot in a self defense case is stupid.

              Somebody pulls a knife on me, I'm pulling a gun, and not because I generally don't carry a knife.

              Note to all Muggers, Burglars, Robbers out there: Birdshot is a GREAT round for your needs! Pick the highest gauge possible - #20 is much better than #12.
          • by Mercano (826132) <mercano@@@gmail...com> on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:59PM (#22127810)

            If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?

            No, that's just not a good idea. I mean, if someone is coming at you with a knife, he's probably at very close range, so if you tried using a grenade launcher, you'd probably taking yourself out with him. (The range for splash damage is probably understated in most video games.) A shotgun or a submachinegun would be a far better choice.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by budgenator (254554)
              the kill radius is 5M for a 50% probability of kill with 40mm grenades, but that doesn't mean that getting hit by shrapnel when your 50M away is impossible or wouldn't hurt like hell if it didn't kill you outright.
          • by CompMD (522020)
            "If someone punches you in the face, do you beat them to death with a crowbar? No, you punch them back. If someone pulls a knife on you, do you pull out your grenade launcher?"

            You've obviously never seen the cinematic masterpiece that is "Deathwish 3."
        • "Four words: They had it coming."

          Well if we're going to use that excuse then why stop at web site defacement? Why not put out a contract on the heads of the music companies?
          Because... ruining people's lives with lawsuits isn't equivalent to murder?

          • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:57PM (#22127780)
            Given that socio-economic status has a strong correlation to both absolute and "healthy" life expectancy, each successful "life-ruining" lawsuit which results in a corresponding drop in socio-economic status could be interpreted as being some fraction of a murder.

            I'm sure they have accumulated enough fractions by now to cover the members of the board, and maybe a few tiers of upper management too. Since they are the most compensated, they must be the most responsible, right?

            NB. Tongue is firmly in cheek.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hobo sapiens (893427)
          Even if the RIAA weren't about what they are about, they'd still deserve it. Let's say the RIAA was all about giving out fluffy bunnies to children with Leukemia. If they chose to put a site on the hostile environment that are "teh intarwebs" which contained SQL injection vulnerabilities, they had it coming. Seriously. An SQL injection has to be the most well documented and easiest to use vulnerability of all time. It is also one of the easiest to fix, and if a site is vulnerable that raises *serious*
      • by luna69 (529007) *
        > Next time, hire a Web developer who isn't a stupid fscktard before gallivanting around, suing everyone,

        That assumes they could actually FIND one to work for them...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)
      Just blanking a site doesn't say much - it can be anything from the last M$ update to a hardware failure.

      And if you are going to hack a site, why not keep the site but insert and modify the pages just slightly so that the meaning of some statements will be slightly off the target. Harder to do, harder to spot but a lot mor fun for the world to figure out.

      Even better if no backups exists for the site... Or if it isn't spotted until the backups are recycled!

  • by Loibisch (964797) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:51AM (#22126334)
    It would have been so much better to make it a temporary mirror for thepiratebay.org :D

    Wonder if they would have started a lawsuit against themselves...
    • Re:Why wipe it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 (1148909) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:54AM (#22126388)
      Nah, how about a bunch of press releases saying that "the RIAA was wrong to sue music fans for sharing songs therefore we are dropping all the charges" and then seeing if the judge would say that if it was a cracked site or the RIAA itself. Or how about a plea to stop DRM by saying "it is not working" or at least informing people about the evils of DRM. The possibilities are endless, just blanking a page.... how unprofessional, it did no good to the world the way then the way it could have been done.
      • Re:Why wipe it? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Speare (84249) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:17AM (#22126610) Homepage Journal
        If one of your neighbors is disappointed in your lawn care or your dog's poops, there are positive ways of stating the disagreement, and there are negative ways. Certainly, if they spraypainted their message in 2ft high letters on the exterior of your house, you'd be understandably less interested in the actual message than in cleaning the graffiti and contacting the constabulary. Likewise, defacing the website with a thoughtful "open letter" isn't likely to actually communicate anything.
        • Re:Why wipe it? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by techpawn (969834) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:34AM (#22126788) Journal
          But, could that open letter be used as evidence? It came from their website then if they try to use "well, anyone can make things on the internet look that way! Just because the IP address and website are ours it doesn't mean it's our data!" couldn't we counter argue that with their IP sniffing and screen shots or whatever?

          I know it would never work. The judge would ph34r t3h ev1l h4xx0rz! But, if fun to dream isn't it?
        • by CaptDeuce (84529)

          Certainly, if they spraypainted their message in 2ft high letters on the exterior of your house, you'd be understandably less interested in the actual message than in cleaning the graffiti and contacting the constabulary.

          Y'all ain't ever lived in a trailer park, have ya?

        • by PitaBred (632671)
          Yeah, well, if my neighbor's dog shits on my lawn, I just toss it back on his lawn. I don't think that's an inappropriate response, do you?

          Seems about like what's been happening here, once you think about it...
      • Re:Why wipe it? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Machtyn (759119) on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:18PM (#22127228) Homepage Journal
        My question is how often does the average consumer really visit a website like mpaa.org, riaa.org, or any other corporate entity presence? For me, it is less than 0.005 (or less than a 1/2%). I think the last time I visited riaa.org was a couple years ago when /. mentioned the site had been hacked. I've never visited a General Motors website, the company that makes my favorite breakfast cereal or laundry detergent. I've just never had the desire.

        I suspect that the average person visits their favorite news site, gaming portal (like games.yahoo.com or legitgames.com or whatever), fark/digg/slashdot, and blogs of the different varieties. My wife will occasionally do searches for recipes, information on baby stuff, etc. We'll hit newegg.com, amazon.com, or other storefronts.

        Am I wrong in my thinking that the average person would visit a site like mpaa.org, riaa.org, or other industry specific org sites? We all use tires to drive on, have you ever visited the site for Michelen or Dunlap tires? Do they have a trade org site that issues news, warnings, and user information regarding recalls/defects of certain tires? If so, I've never even considered searching it out.

        My point is that very few people would see it to make it worth putting information touting your propaganda. However, if it was outrageous enough, perhaps it would make news and people might visit (by which time it would be too late, as the site would be fixed).
      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday January 21, 2008 @04:01PM (#22129976)

        Nah, how about a bunch of press releases saying that "the RIAA was wrong to sue music fans for sharing songs therefore we are dropping all the charges" and then seeing if the judge would say that if it was a cracked site or the RIAA itself.

        The linchpin of the RIAA's lawsuit factory rests on the supposition that an IP address is exactly identical to a person. What the IP address does is legally identical to a person doing it. That's their argument.

        So, if their website were to be hacked, wouldn't that exact same rule apply to whatever content was there? Their IP address is legally the same as the person/corporation/entity who owns it, right? That IS their argument, after all.

        So why not use that against them in a legal sense?

        It would be brilliant. The RIAA lawyers when they were brought into court for whatever happened to be uploaded there would have to make the argument that an IP address DOES NOT equate to the owner of the IP address in order to defend themselves.

        They'd have to make our argument for us, and in front of a judge.

        You couldn't ask for a better precedent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by greginnj (891863)
      They did, actually. I was tracking some of the fun while it was live; the extent of the vulnerability was allowing access to the news archive -- so setting up a full mirror wasn't (yet) possible. After the real archive was deleted, though, somebody figured out enough field names to submit a link titled "get free warez here" or somesuch, and it linked to TPB.
  • by blake1 (1148613) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:53AM (#22126366)
    instead I would have used my cunning to download the latest Britney album to their server in DRM-free MP3 format. And then promptly reported them to themselves.
  • by SirLurksAlot (1169039) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:53AM (#22126368)

    if they made innocuous little changes here and there, such as changing the words "do not support file-sharing" to "fully support file-sharing." It probably would've the RIAA much longer to realize they've been had, and I'm sure they would've gotten some interesting calls and e-mails :-D

  • ZOMG!!!!11111oneone!!1! The RIAA got hax0rzed. Well I guess they had it coming to them. While I understand their cause, I do not understand their tactics, their methods, or how they say they fight for the artists. I must say good job to the people who found the SQL injection flaw. May their programmers be whipped and stoned... well... I guess they would just throw lawsuits and blank CD's at their programmers and accuse them of stealing MP3's. Oh well. still great news.
  • RIAA will use this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadHaggis (1179673) on Monday January 21, 2008 @10:57AM (#22126402)
    to justify further restrictions on P2P software. I'm sure they will be able to twist this attack into some type of political message to show that the P2P community is just a bunch of cracking criminals which need to be stopped.

    While I hold little sympathy for RIAA in this matter, I would rather people found different and legal ways to thwart the RIAA's mission.

    • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:07AM (#22126526)
      We have found legal ways. Its called not buying albums or buying into DRM. However, the RIAA thinks that it is always P2P networks that are to blame for every loss that they suffer. So if the RIAA loses sales, its not because more people are buying indie band CDs or downloading non-RIAA songs, its because of those pirates never ever because most of the music is more noise then music. The RIAA has no logic, they are used to being a monopoly. Even when we win we lose.
      • by chortick (979856) on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:03PM (#22127078)
        From a recent Economist article http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10498664 [economist.com]:

        "IN 2006 EMI, the world's fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. "That was the moment we realised the game was completely up," says a person who was there."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by east coast (590680)
        So if the RIAA loses sales, its not because more people are buying indie band CDs or downloading non-RIAA songs, its because of those pirates never ever because most of the music is more noise then music.

        Ok, so you go find a truely indy band and compare the number of hits you get for them versus the number of hits you get for, say, Pink Floyd on eMule. You'll find that at least a good portion of the RIAAs suspicions are well founded. If it were really a matter of so many people turning to P2P to get non-
  • they were using copyprotection on their site.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pingmaster (1049548)
      And we ALL know how effective their copy protection schemes are...
      • Ironically, their material is copyrighted and stored in a public folder. Their intent to share and distribute is clear. Removing the material is the only way to prevent theft...
  • Or is it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mach1980 (1114097) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:01AM (#22126452)
    Do not rule out the RIAA to hire someone to do the hacking to win moral high ground.

    RIAA may now turn their media machine to connect evil hackers with the pirate bay and try to put them in the same corner as child molesters and nazis.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Do not rule out the RIAA to hire someone to do the hacking to win moral high ground.

      OK, I won't rule that out. Also, you should not rule out that all of the people who are ripping off movies are possibly - on purpose - doing it in a very easy-to-track way so that they'll get caught appearing to be too cheap to use netflix even though all they're really trying to do is get a day in court to show that information, especially the kind that stars their favorite actors, wants to be free, to them personally, l
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:06AM (#22126512)
    If you are going to break into a website, then you need some sort of plan for when/if you succeed.

    How about a statement like this:

    "The protections applied to this website were more robust than the Digital Rights Management that is applied to CDs DVDs and other forms of digital media. Yet even that didn't stop a determined individual. If this website were a CD, it would be leaked all over the internet, and once cracked, DRM simply becomes an impediment to the legitimate users."

    At least they could have tried to make it relevant. However, it is quite possible that they didn't have all that much time or total access to the site. (though if you can erase something, I'm pretty sure that is as close to total access as you need) I'm not too familiar with databases and websites so I don't know how far they could go with it.
    • by PitaBred (632671)
      I dunno... I've seen moronically configured FTP sites that will allow erase, but not write or create. Could be the case here... I wouldn't put much past them.
  • by maynard (3337) <j@maynard@gelinas.gmail@com> on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:06AM (#22126514) Journal
    I like the site a bunch, so I say this with a twinge of reluctance. And I certainly don't like the RIAA. But that kind of behavior is plain criminal. Doesn't matter who owns the computer, it is private property and deserves respect as such.
    • Reddit only reported it, much as how Slashdot would have reported it. No where in the story does it say that Reddit hacked it, no more so then if FOX or CNN reports a murder did they murder that person.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      C'mon man - it's not like they hacked in to COPY the site, god dammit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wroshyyr (688688)
      I've seen a few of these "please don't hack the riaa site" posts. If a similar flaw would be found with the pirate bay's website I'm sure these same "hackers" would also go out and exploit it. Boys will be boys.
    • by Rahga (13479) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:38AM (#22126828) Homepage Journal
      Can you co-opt the police and feds to conduct raids of private property on your behalf? No? The RIAA can and regularly does, confiscating anything that could conceivably be used to produce and distribute music, including vehicles and computers. It doesn't even matter if an organization, such as authorized mixtape producers, are acting within the law... their property is confiscated first and questions are asked later, usually past the point where a business can survive.

      The RIAA are among the least of those who deserve to have their property rights defended.
  • by briggsb (217215) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:18AM (#22126626)
    Maybe it was people protesting the RIAA's plan to put RFID chips on CDs [bbspot.com] to combat piracy that caused the attack.
  • Anybody got a screen capture?
  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:26AM (#22126704)
    So you're the most hated site on the internet essentially, especially by people who proudly go by the name "pirates". And you don't protect your site??? Who exactly is running this operation?
  • by ndtechnologies (814381) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:26AM (#22126714)
    "HA HA!"
  • by megazork (953335) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:30AM (#22126754)
    The OP should have posted a link to RIAA.org so that it could have been slashdotted. =)
    • by mmalove (919245)
      ...

      Wait, can't we just do that anyways?

      If everyone on slashdot accessed RIAA.org at the same time every morning, we could just permajam their website. DOS, but kinda legal, since you can't sue an individual for loading your website once a day.

      Sigh - then again, the formula "if everyone did X" results in a lot of miracles that will never actually happen.

      • by shark72 (702619)

        "If everyone on slashdot accessed RIAA.org at the same time every morning, we could just permajam their website. DOS, but kinda legal, since you can't sue an individual for loading your website once a day."

        Some people had that idea about six or eight years ago, IIRC. I think the first few DDOSes worked, but then the RIAA put the necessary stuff in place to help prevent it. If the RIAA site could be DDOSed, the script kiddies would be doing it 24/7.

        I won't argue with you whether DDOSing the RIAA is a g

    • No, the OP should NOT have posted a link to RIAA.org [riaa.org], that could cause it to be Slashdotted. :]
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:44AM (#22126886)
    First... I agree that shutting someone else up is not a great way to have a conversation...

    But if you are going to do something like this, then have a little panache.

    For example, you could upload a few Mp3's with links to download them from the site.

    Or upload some key quotes "Copyright should be good for forever less one day".

    Or upload Jefferson's statements on copyright.

    ah well...
  • This is not good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2008 @12:03PM (#22127062)
    Attacking their website will only aid them in public opinion. This gives credit to their argument that people who oppose them are criminals.
  • Oops... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Hanners1979 (959741)
    Looks like someone was using the RIAA web server's CD-ROM drive to listen to their Sony album collection again...
  • Others have noted that a splendid opportunity to do something really insidious to the RIAA site was wasted. It's worse than that. Even a brain-damaged idiot has enough sense to hire somebody to make the site 'way more difficult to hack next time.

    So when somebody finds the next vulnerability, allow me to suggest that before they act, they view "The Yes Men vs The WTA". It's funny, it's subversive in the best sense of the word, and it shows what you can accomplish with a little imagination.

    When you've

  • The RIAA can sue its own ass off. I only support any company which isn't on their client list.

    The only way to get them to listen is by NOT listening.

    Mullah Omar was right but for all the wrong reasons.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Monday January 21, 2008 @02:09PM (#22128676)
    A lot of the posts on this news seem to focus on what could have been done instead of just blanking the site, but do we have any evidence that the wipe was the only thing that occurred? If the person/people who did this really wanted to hurt the RIAA then this would be a good way to get some trojans onto RIAA computers. To be really sneaky they might have even done some research on which IP blocks are most likely assigned to RIAA and member networks and only infect computers coming from those blocks, thus sparing most innocent visitors. Then you've got a direct line into RIAA operations and much more valuable data than whatever is on their web servers. Not that I'm advocating this, merely postulating that there could be more at work than a simple website wipe.
  • Archive.org (Score:5, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday January 21, 2008 @03:07PM (#22129390) Homepage Journal
    Fortunately for the RIAA, the old content of the site has been archived by the Internet Archive.

    Although that poses a rather uncomfortable dilemma for the RIAA: should they thank archive.org for saving their content...or sue them for copyright infringement?

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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