Megaupload Is Back in High Tech Whack-a-Mole

Megaupload uses off shore servers in attempts to stay alive.

January 20, 2012, 1:39 PM

Jan. 20, 2012 -- It's like a high tech game of whack-a-mole.

In less than 24 hours the file sharing site is attempting to stay alive on the Internet despite indictments from the Justice Department and court orders to seize the site and computer servers hosting the service and assets.

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment Thursday charging Megaupload's founder Kim Dotcom, a.k.a. Kim Schmitz, and six of his associates with participating in a conspiracy that involved racketeering, money laundering and copyright infringement.

There have been several websites claiming to be connected to Megaupload making use of the company's logos and graphics, but no content was posted. According to the website, the purported new Megaupload server is based in the Netherlands, but the website could not be verified.

Overnight supporters for the site hosted the remnants of Megaupload at indicating that content was being hosted in Belize.

Megaupload Reappears on Servers in Netherlands

The Justice Department, FBI and law enforcement agencies in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands sought court orders and seized servers which hosted's content.

Justice Department and FBI officials declined to comment when asked about the site still having a prescence on the Internet.

When asked Thursday about the site possibly popping back up on the internet a Justice Department official involved in the case said, "Maintaining and running and assembling a site like this is very expensive. And obviously the seizure of financial assets is critical in this type of investigation and prosecution in preventing it from going forward."

The federal indictment alleges that Megaupload and a shell company associated with the company caused an estimated half-billion dollars in copyright losses and made an estimated $175 million in proceeds.

The Justice Department is seeking to seize bank accounts associated with Megaupload and its associated enterprises in New Zealand, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, The Philippines and Germany and Citibank accounts in the United States.

Photos on the website show authorities inn New Zealand seizing luxury cars at Dotcom's residence in New Zealand.

The indictment listed a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and numerous electronic items, artwork and televisions that the Justice Department was seeking in forfeiture.

"Megaupload believes the claims are without merit and will vigorously defend itself," said Ira Rothken a defense attorney representing Megaupload.

Hours after the indictment was announced by the Justice Department and FBI, computer "hacktivists" with the group Anonymous orchestrated distributed denial of service attacks against the Justice Department and FBI's websites.

The group also targeted the websites Recording Industry Association of America, Universal Music and the Motion Picture Association of America in what they called OpMegaUpload. The group claimed it was their largest operation ever.

The case against came a day after Internet companies and websites such as Google, WordPress and Wikipedia protested about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

Justice Department officials said the case and arrest of Dotcom and other employees was not timed to the debate over the SOPA and PIPA legislation. Friday morning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., decided to pull the PIPA legislation from the Senate's Calendar but pledged to work on a more refined bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also said he was scrapping the proposed SOPA legislation.

"The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution," Smith said.

Some members linked with Anonymous were planning today to target democratic members of Congress websites that were supporting the two bills in what they were calling OpDonkeyPunch.

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