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Anonymous explodes MegaUpload clone 'scam'

AnonyUpload is nothing to do with us, sir

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A supposedly "Anonymous-built" alternative to MegaUpload has been discredited by members of the hacktivist collective.

AnonyUpload sprung up days after a takedown operation against MegaUpload website, the arrest in New Zealand of its founders on copyright infringement charges, and a hacktivist backlash against government and entertainment industry websites linked to the takedown.

Rather than asking participants to download an attack tool, the assault used JavaScript code to blast traffic from any surfers who clicked on a link, whether unwittingly or not.

Meanwhile regular users of MegaUpload found themselves unable to access files they had uploaded to the cloud-based service.

In the midst of all this confusion, AnonyUpload appeared this week with claims to offer a "100% free" and "100% anonymous" file hosting and file-sharing services. The front page of the new site solicited for donation, supposedly needed to lease servers and hosting facilities in Russia. Strangely the blurb on the site warned of various reasons why trusting AnonyUpload with files might be a bad idea.

Anonyupload.com is a centralized service, when you upload files, they are stored in our hard drives, at a single location. And this is not good! It is the opposite of what the Internet is: decentralised.

There are many reasons why this is not good, the first is that some of you store personal information and files on machines which are not belonging to you, and that you do not have any control on. The second is that you are always going through the same wires, it means that someone could spy on it, monitors your activities, or decides to cut it off as it happened with megaupload.com. This can be avoided by using decentralized technologies, the first thing to do if you are interested in doing it, is to host your own content, on your own machines.

The reasons given on why anyone might want to use AnonyUpload despite these privacy and availability considerations - "because it is fun and technically interesting" - are pretty weak.

It's unclear whether AnonyUpload is a prank designed to make a wider point or a scam. One thing that became clear on Tuesday was that it was nothing to do with the mainstream of Anonymous. Several established accounts linked to the hacktivist collective have disowned AnonyUpload.

An update from AnonymouSabu is typical of these disavowals: "ATTN: Anonyuploads is not affiliated to us. Its someone trying to capitalize on media frenzy from Anonymous doing #opMegaupload."

Other Twitter accounts used by Anonymous in the past (such as @YourAnonNews) have gone even further, labelling AnonyUpload as a scam.

Security experts said that whether or not AnonyUpload is created by a faction of Anonymous, it ought to be avoided.

"My advice would be to avoid the AnonyUpload site, and certainly not donate any money," writes Graham Cluley of net security firm Sophos. "You don't know whose pockets you might be lining, and as AnonyUpload's own blurb makes clear there are 'many reasons' why their service is 'not good'." ®

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