A clutch of torrent sites went offline Monday after Swedish police raided PRQ, the former web host of The Pirate Bay — prompting threats of retaliation from hacktivist group Anonymous.
The hosting company, famous for its 'no questions asked, no takedown' policy and previous home of Wikileaks, was raided late yesterday as part of an investigation into copyright infringement. The CEO of Stockholm-based PRQ, Mikael Nyborg, told Swedish news bureau TT that the police wanted to examine four of its servers.
Dozens of torrent sites were affected by the seizure of PRQ's servers, including Torrenthound.com, Linkomanija.net and several sports streaming sites, according to Torrent Freak.
The Swedish file-sharing site Tankafetast.se is thought to be the primary target of the PRQ raids, TT reported. The site appears to have taken itself offline, and its .com homepage now just links through to the Facebook page of Sweden's Pirate Party.
"We are party-independent, but on a grey day like today, it feels like the Pirate Party might be the only freedom fighter we have left in Sweden," TankaFetast.com said on its Facebook page.
PRQ, now back online after the raids, was established by two co-founders of The Pirate Bay, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm. Svartholm is being held in custody on suspicion of hacking Swedish IT service provider Logica, after being extradited from Cambodia last month and arrested upon arrival in Sweden.
Like PRQ, The Pirate Bay has been down since Monday. However, according to a post on its Facebook page, the outage was caused by "power problems". "We have not been raided. We are not shutting down," it said.
Anonymous, which initially believed The Pirate Bay outage was caused by the PRQ raids, responded by posting a message on YouTube warning the Swedish government to "expect us".
In the message posted on Monday, Anonymous took credit for a number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on "Swedish government or affiliated sites" that occurred a month ago, and made threats to repeat the attacks in retaliation for the PRQ raid.
Yesterday, several high-profile Swedish sites were simultaneously hit by a DDoS, which police suspect was launched in retaliation for Swedish prosecutors' efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The websites affected belonged to three major banks in Sweden, the Swedish armed forces, news bureau TT, and Sweden's protection and preparedness agency MSB. It is not known if the attacks were launched by Anonymous.